Nea Makri, Greece, September 6, 2019
Security services urgently evacuated the nuns and caretakers of the Monastery of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos in Nea Makri, in east Attica, Greece, yesterday morning as fires spread in the direction of the holy habitation.
The monastery is commonly known as the Monastery of St. Ephraim the New because the beloved saint lived and suffered a martyr’s death there, and his relics currently reside there.
The 101-year-old Abbess Theodosia and the sisters and workers were evacuated to safety after fires broke out on Mt. Amomon at about 2:00 in the morning and menacingly moved towards the monastery and the city, part of which is on the slope of the mountain, reports globalnews.bg.
The authorities sounded the alarm by ringing all the church bells and most people were able to move to safety. The fire spread to a distance of nearly a mile.
100 firefighters with 35 firetrucks and 3 helicopters were bravely fighting the fire.
The monastery was also evacuated due to fire in 2009. The local municipality has taken over the area as the vegetation is low and the area needs trees.
The Monastery of Panagia Makrymallis on the Greek island of Evia also had to be evacuated due to fires earlier in August.
The Annunciation Monastery is one of the oldest in Athens, dating to the 10th century. In the years of the Turkish yoke, it was the sight of many martyrdoms, including that of St. Ephraim the New, whose relics were miraculously revealed in 1950. Since then, the monastery has been one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Attica.