May 15, 2023

National and Global Mourning (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The recent accident with the collision of the two trains in Tempe (2/28/23) plunged our country into a "national mourning" that manifested itself in various ways. It wasn't just the half-mast flags, but the deep pain that one could see in the people one met and talked to.

The incidents that were reported to the public, the conversations between those responsible for safety in transportation, the photos and videos, the reports and the testimonies of the rescued and their relatives stimulated this national mourning even more from the deep trauma.

At the same time, harsh questions were raised about the irresponsibility of those responsible for the safety of transportation, about the non-existence of security systems, etc.

Apart from the national mourning of all of us, the mourning of the relatives who lost their loved ones is also hard. It is not simply about a loss, but about the violence of the event and the tragedy of the incidents.

It is surprising and very painful to be asked to give one's DNA in order to identify a body part of one's relative. It is even more painful for someone to learn that this person was not identified because they apparently turned to dust from the high temperatures that developed in some places, as if they had passed through an incinerator!

And the process or maturation of mourning in such tragic events will be slower, as taught by the special field of psychology, which is called the "psychology of death". The process of mourning is difficult, when one of our people has suddenly and violently left this life, when no one can take their body, take care of it, when they are not seen or lost on the battlefields and in violent and tragic accidents.

However, one cannot forget the global mourning from the so-called "psychogenic death", when there is no hope, or "spiritual death", that is, the apostasy and alienation of man from God.

This mourning was experienced by Adam and Eve, when they lost their communion with God and were exiled from Paradise. This mourning is experienced by the ascetics, like Saint Silouan who saw the removal or decrease of divine Grace. This mourning is experienced by the saints, when they see spiritual death in human societies, as we see it strongly in the Prophets of the Old Testament.

The accident of Tempe happened on the Tuesday of Clean Week of Great Lent. Already on the previous day, Clean Monday, those who have spiritual sensitivity mourned, with a universal mourning and lamentation, for the fall and exile of Adam, for their own sense of exile, for the general and universal apostasy of mankind from God, which is expressed through sensuality and hedonism.

May this national, personal and global mourning turn into joy.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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