Glenelg North, Adelaide, Australia, April 6, 2018
A fire tore through St. Panteleimon’s Greek Orthodox Church in the seaside town of Glenelg North in Southern Australia on Tuesday, leaving the parish community without a home for their Holy Week and Paschal services, reports ABC News.
The Metropolitan Fire Service was able to contain the blaze just 15 minutes after arriving, reports sbs.com, but significant damage had already been caused throughout the entire building. No one was injured in the fire.
In what parishioners are calling a miracle, only the gold-plated reliquary containing a piece of the holy relics of the church patron St. Panteleimon, kept in the church altar, survived the flames unscathed.
“In the altar where we keep them, everything else was pretty much burnt and the only thing that was left was the little box of the relics—not damaged, not even ashes on it, it was just sitting there,” said parish council president Nick Kapolos.
“Not a mark, no dust, no nothing—Father Michael just picked it up. As far as we see it, it is a miracle, because how can everything else burn but this is the only thing that survived?” Kapolos added.
Unfortunately, the church did lose a valuable Bible and cross in the fire, which altogether left $100,000 worth of damage.
Despite the damages and loss, the community is keeping its faith. “We were basically saying ‘Glory to God’ … it was so good to see something saved,” Kapolos said.
“The Christian faith is built on hope, and I've shed my tears earlier, but I'm now resilient and that's what our faith does.”
The cause of the fire is as yet unknown. A local Catholic church has offered the use of its facilities for the Greek community’s Paschal services.