On behalf of His Eminence, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Vitaly, Archbishop of Eastern America and New York, the Primate of our Church, of His Grace, the Right Reverend Laurus, Archbishop of Syracuse, the Deputy Primate, and of the entire Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, I would like to express to you, and through you to all the people of our great city, our sincere condolences over the loss of so many lives, among them scores of police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, who laid down their lives for their neighbors, in the dedicated performance of their duties.

The Synod of Bishops would like you to know that we condemn without qualification the cowardly terrorist suicide attacks to which we have been subjected, and call upon Almighty God to reveal His displeasure upon those who commit and advocate such barbarous acts.

During these trying times, as the true magnitude of our loss becomes clearer, our prayers are with you and those whose duty it is to investigate this outrage and tragedy, that the Most High may impart wisdom, skill and knowledge to you all, that peace may be restored to our city and country, and tranquility of heart to those who have been traumatized so brutally by our faceless foes.

With fervent supplications that God will grant you the strength you need to see you through these troubled hours, I have the honor to be

Your Honor's sincere well-wisher,

Gabriel, Bishop of Manhattan

11 September, 2001

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