Horror in Paris

Statement by Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier.

November 16 2015On behalf of Australia’s Anglicans, I express our deepest sympathy for and solidarity with the people of Paris in their fear, pain and mourning. It may be some time before the death toll from multiple coordinated terrorist attacks is finally known.

I greatly fear that in the 21st century events like this are going to become much more common, but they will never lose their capacity to shock.

We pray for comfort for the victims, those who love them and tend them, and for those who are appalled and devastated by these vicious attacks. We pray also that calm and wise leadership will prevail, especially in the face of a possible backlash against the innocent.

There were prayers for Paris at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne every half hour on Saturday, and prayers will also be offered at all services on Sunday and at other churches. By 5pm on Saturday more than 1000 people had engaged with the prayer on the Cathedral’s Facebook page.

In Australia we have never faced attacks like this, but the danger of coordinated or lone wolf attacks is increasing, as I warned in September. We have to be prepared for this reality.

I commend the swift response of the authorities in Paris, which surely saved many lives, and also the endeavours of the authorities in Australia to keep us safe.

Media representatives are welcome to attend services, at 8am, 9am, 10.30am and 6pm. For more information, contact the Precentor, the Rev. Heather Patacca, on

The prayer said at St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday November 14:
Almighty God our Heavenly Father, look with mercy on the people of France this day. Comfort and uphold those who have lost loved ones, reassure and help those suffering trauma and fear, strengthen and enable emergency and security personnel as they go about their important work, grant skill and wisdom to medical workers. Open our hearts to the needs of those affected by these attacks. Guide our prayers and prompt our leaders to generously provide practical assistance. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, the Prince of Peace. Amen.