The Archbishop of Armagh, the Archbishop of Dublin and the Bishop-elect of Clogher have sent a letter of sympathy to the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway following the tragic events on Friday July 22.
The letter to Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien from The Most Rev Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh; The Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin; and The Rev John McDowell, Bishop-elect of Clogher states:
“We are writing on behalf of the bishops, clergy, and people of the Church of Ireland to offer both our deepest sympathy, and the fellowship of our prayers, to the Norwegian people in the aftermath of the indescribable tragedy which has overtaken you.
“Our hearts go out to the relatives and friends of the dead, the injured and the missing, and our thoughts are with the bishops and clergy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway as you search to find words and actions to minister to the entire nation.
“The scale and depth of innocent suffering which any act of terrorism inflicts is impossible to take in, but the horrendous images from Norway which have appeared on our television screens over the last few days have left us shocked and horrified.
“We feel this all the more keenly because of the fellowship which we have enjoyed with you through the Porvoo Communion and the many fruitful contacts we have had over the last fifteen or so years.
“In addition there is something blindly unjust about such an attack in a country which is a byword for toleration, and whose people have so frequently held out the hand of friendship to others in distress. Indeed, Norway is recognised internationally as a place where the very principles of mutually respectful diversity and generous tolerance have been assiduously worked out and applied.”
The letter concludes: “We are all too well aware of the delicate and searching pastoral and political tasks which you will face in the time ahead. We pray that ‘the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are themselves afflicted’ may be felt to be very near you in darkness and in light.”