MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. Saturday’s attack on a Russian Orthodox church in the Chechen capital Grozny was an attempt to violate inter-religious peace, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia said, offering condolences to Archbishop of Makhachkala and Grozny Varlaam.
"I was very saddened to hear the news about Saturday’s assault on the Archangel Michael’s Church in the Chechen Republic’s capital. People were killed and injured during the attack of gunmen during the evening church service. This inhuman and cynical attack of terrorists, who have nothing to do with faith in God, was aimed at shattering valuable inter-religious peace and accord in the region, driving a wedge and sowing fear among its citizens," the Patriarch said.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church praised heroism and courage of police officers, who "risked their lives to protect people and offered resistance to the attackers." "I ask to convey my deepest condolences and the words of sincere sympathy to those who have been affected by this tragedy," he said.
On Saturday afternoon, a group of four people attempted to break into the Archangel Michael’s Church in Grozny, located on a busy street in the heart of the Chechen capital. This is the only Orthodox church in Grozny, founded in the late 19th century. It is a popular tourist site surrounded by shopping malls and cafes. A service was under way in the church at the moment of the assault.
The attackers, who carried smoothbore guns, knives, axes and plastic bottles with inflammable liquid, were unable to get inside the building. However, as a result of the attack, two police officers and one civilian were killed, two more officers were wounded. Four attackers were killed.