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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Prayer following the Istanbul Airport attack

Mosaic from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has sent a message to His All Holiness Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, following the deadly bombings at Istanbul's Ataturk airport which killed 41 people in injured hundreds more. On Tuesday night, as soon as news reached us of this latest terrorist attack, Archdeacon Colin Williams and I sent messages of solidarity and condolence to the clergy and people in our Istanbul parishes. 

The General Secretary of CEC, Fr Heikki Huttunen speaking on behalf of European Christians said “The attack on Istanbul hurts all of us because it targets one of the cradles of European civilisation. Istanbul is a city at the crossroads of east and west, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It is the biggest city in Europe and it is one of the centres of global Christianity, although the Christians there live as a minority among a Muslim majority in a secular state. To target this bustling centre of historic and contemporary importance is an attack against the development of Turkey as a democratic and open European nation.”

The CEC has asked our member Churches (which includes the Church of England) to pray for Istanbul and Turkey.

The text of the CEC message to His All Holiness is as follows:

Your All Holiness,
The news of yesterday’s violent attacks at Ataturk international airport has reached the people and churches of Europe with deepest sorrow. On behalf of the Conference of European Churches, we extend to you our sincere condolences to you and all the people of Turkey.
Acts motivated by the desire to promote fear and terror place strain our communities and our societies. They create suspicion of neighbour and erode solidarity. In the aftermath of this deadly attack, we must be courageous in our resistance to these forces, and draw strength from the Holy One.
We commend the mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and personally of Your All Holiness for the continued Christian presence in Istanbul and Turkey, and your work for a spirituality of justice and peace.
We pray that God may keep the souls of those who died, heal those that have survived, and sustain the families and communities touched by this immeasurable loss. The prayers of European Christians are with your witnessing church and all the people of your blessed and historical city.
With deepest condolences,
Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD
The Very Rev. Protopresbyter Heikki Theodoros Huttunen
General Secretary

O God, we commend to your care all who have died in terrorist attacks. May they be held in your everlasting love and rest in peace in your eternal home. Comfort and heal all who have been injured or bereaved, and surround them with your love and give them strength for the days ahead. Help us to continue our pursuit of justice and peace, to confront hatred and violence, and to build up our common life. 

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