Elderly nun perishes in fire at Mt. of Olives monastery

No foul play is suspected at this point.

Jerusalem, December 24, 2018

Photo: noamchen.com Photo: noamchen.com

The body of an elderly nun was found in her residence at the St. Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox Monastery on the Mt. of Olives, just east of Jerusalem’s Old City, after the building burst into flames early Sunday morning.

The fire broke out near the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, reports the Jerusalem Post.

“We arrived at the scene quickly, and we saw a structure on the grounds of the church was fiercely burning,” Maj. Gen. Mohi Alian, the commander of the rescue and fire brigade at the scene said. “The flames were a few meters high and surrounded the building.”

The elderly nun was found in the single-story building with no pulse. She had suffered from 3rd degree burns.

The nun has been identified as 91-years-old Mother Xenia (Silva Maria Selaso in the world), originally from Estonia, reports the Times of Israel. She had lived at the monastery for the 30 years.

Five firefighting units were called to the scene at 4:15 AM and found the building wholly engulfed in flames. The firefighters managed to pull Mother Xenia’s body out of the building just before the roof caved in. Paramedics from the Magen David Adom rescue service declared Mother Xenia dead at the scene, with burns on over 30% of her body.

Mother Xenia’s residence was on church grounds but flames did not reach the church itself.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire, but arson is not suspected at this point.

May her memory be eternal!

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