Religious leaders in Australia and around the world have responded with sadness to the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II after a reign of more than 70 years.
A Uniting Church letter is a call to solidarity and peace:
‘On this significant day for the Commonwealth, we join in solidarity with the people of Britain as we mourn the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. As we have heard from innumerable radio, television and social media commentaries, many of us have only vague, or in many cases no memories of a time when we have not had a Queen as Head of State. No doubt there will be changes ahead, and we share with people of all faiths in praying for peace in our time.’
Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli sees her as a model for all. ‘It is with sadness and deep respect that we mourn the death and honour the life of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty drew deeply on her faith at all times, and often referred to the reconciliation, service and love which flows from Christian commitment. A model of grace and dignity for us all.
‘In these early hours of this news, may our prayers be with her family, for all the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms, and in fact our shared global family who have now lost a reassuring constant in our lives. As a good and faithful servant, may Her Majesty now rest in gentle peace and be received by her King and Lord.’
Pope Francis, in a telegram offering his heartfelt condolences to King Charles III for the death of his mother, and commending her ‘noble soul’ to the mercy of God the Father, also expressed his sadness, ‘I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late Queen’s eternal rest, and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the Nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises.’