In a telegram sent in his name on Saturday Septemer 4 to Archbishop Antonio Mennini, representative of the Holy See in the Russian Federation, Pope John Paul II expressed his “spiritual closeness” to the families of the victims - many of whom were children - of the terrorist attack on a school in Beslan, Russia, and his hope for an end to “the spiral of hatred and violence.”
"Upon receiving the news of the bloody epilogue after the ferocious hostage situation in North Ossetia, with vile and merciless aggression against defenseless children and families, the Supreme Pontiff asks Your Excellency to convey his affection to the Russian people in this hour of dismay and sorrow,” read the telegram.
“While expressing his spiritual closeness especially to the families of the dead and wounded the Holy Father entrusts the innocent victims of this tragedy to the mercy of the Almighty, and prays for their eternal repose.”
“Once again His Holiness condemns every form of terrorism and hopes the spiral of hatred and violence does not prevail and at the same time he implores Our Lady, so venerated by Christians in Russia, to inspire in the hearts of everyone thoughts of wisdom and resolutions for peace and reconciliation. He invokes on all those who have been tried by this savage attack, the comforting blessing of God almighty.”