I was enormously saddened to learn about the terrorist attack in the city of Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani Province of Punjab, which took place on the day when the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Easter. I wish to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.
Every atrocity of these terrorists, which occur next door to us and that often take the lives of our countrymen, fills our hearts with suffering, pain, and anger. But we do not always sense that in the Middle East, and in parts of Asia and Africa, terror has become a terrible daily occurrence, that in those places a day hardly passes without the murder of religious, political, or other public figures and ordinary citizens, and that the acts of mass terror in those places often greatly exceed in scale those crimes which have touched us and our loved ones. In those horrible acts of violence, Christians, Muslims, and members of other religions perish indiscriminately.
Not long ago, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with Pope Francis of Rome, a meeting that had as one of its goals to draw the attention of the world to the suffering of people whose lives often go unnoticed by the larger public. We must harken to the voice of the Patriarch and the Pope, and we ourselves must make every effort to unite all believers and sensible people in a spiritual and determined struggle against international terrorism.
We must clearly recognize that there can be no such thing as “lesser suffering.” The peoples of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa who live under the threat of these kinds of terrorist acts—whether they be Christians, Muslims, Jews, or Buddhists—must know that their suffering and pain are regarded in Russia, Europe, America, and Australia as no less significant than our own, and that we empathize deeply with them, and that we pray that the Lord will protect their countries and their peoples from harm and violence.
It is not only hatred and cruelty toward those of other races and creeds that violate God’s Truth, it is likewise the indifference we show to those who suffer that offends God.
Human feeling, compassion for each other, mutual respect, love, patience, and unity in the struggle against common threats—these are the foundations of Civilization and the main weapon for defeating the Evil that blasphemously hides behind perverted religious slogans.
H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia
March 14/27, 2016