Kizljar (Agenzia Fides) - A gunman killed five women yesterday, Sunday February 18 as they left St. George's Cathedral in Kizljar, in the Republic of Dagestan. According to the Patriarch of Moscow the attack represents a "monstrous crime", perpetrated at the beginning of Lent as a provocation aimed at "provoking a confrontation between Orthodox Christians and Muslims, who have lived in peace in the Caucasus for centuries". This was reported by the official spokespersons from the Patriarchate, adding that the massacre has caused profound sorrow throughout the Russian Orthodox Church.
The "Islamic State" group has claimed responsibility for the attack and presented the terrorist as "Khalil Daghestani, soldier of Islam". According to the testimony given by those present - including that of Father Pavel, parish priest of the church of St. George -, the terrorist ran towards the church shouting 'Allahu Akbar'.
In the past, as reported by Fides (see Fides 11/5/2016), Patriarch Kirill declared that "the war against terrorism is today's holy war", to underline the need for a common mobilization of the international community against a phenomenon he presented as a global evil. More recently (see Fides 8/1/2018), in a television interview, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said that Russia's military intervention in the Syrian conflict prevented the "genocide" of Christians in that Country. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 19/2/2018)