NEW YORK – The mass school shooting at Santa Fe High School, in the small town of Santa Fe, Texas, last Friday May 18, 2018, has once again brought shock, sorrow and anger to the whole country and the world.

We, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, mourn the tragic loss of life of the 10 victims of this abominable murderous act, eight high-school students and two teachers and we share the deep pain and grief of their families and friends. Our fervent prayers and thoughts are with all of them, the victims, their families and their friends.

This time, the burden is heavier and the pain is sharper because the alleged seventeen-year old perpetrator of this crime has been identified as a Greek-Orthodox, and his family as members of one of our parishes. We pray for him and his family as well.

This unacceptable and totally unthinkable school massacre is yet another one in a series, it is an epidemic of violent crimes that has overtaken our society and country. It is the result of an explosive mix of the proliferation of the culture of violence, violent video games, bullying and victimization of our youth, desensitization to crime, devaluing of human life and easy access to readily available guns. The question arises and we have posed it last time and we now have to ask again, whether we have done all we can to stop this epidemic disease.

How many more victims, how many more school children, how many more teenagers and teachers should die before we act?

We turn to prayer of course, for Almighty God to intervene and avert any repetition of such heinous acts and events, but as we find ourselves, once again, in need of offering words of comfort and solace, words of solidarity and hope to those who were directly affected by the events in Santa Fe, Texas, we wholeheartedly plead with our elected officials for immediate and effective action.

May we all heal with the assistance of the God of mercy and wisdom and may we work to achieve positive results to restore hope to our society and the world.

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