Gavalou, Aetolia-Acarnania, Greece, April 2, 2021
The Panagia Katerinous Icon. Photo: impanagiaskaterinous.blogspot.com A fire broke out in the main church of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Katerinous in the village of Gavalou, Aetolia-Acarnania, Greece, yesterday.
Thankfully, none of the nuns were injured, and the monastery’s most precious sacred treasures were removed before they could be damaged, reports Romfea.
The monastery is located in a densely populated area about 3.5 miles south of the center of Gavalou. The fire broke out in the monastery’s catholicon at about 2:00 PM yesterday. Fortunately, it did not spread to the cells or surrounding areas.
The interior of the church was damaged, although the wonderworking Icon of the Panagia of Katerinous as well as the reliquary were removed from the church in time by the sisters of the monastery. The icon dates to 1865 and is known to guide the monastery with its many miracles that work upon the souls of those who resort to the Mother of God in faith.
Numerous miracles have been recorded, including the healing of the sick, the exorcism of demons, and hundreds of miraculous interventions helping couples bear children.
The fire was reportedly caused by a short circuit. Some of the frescoes in the monastery have suffered smoke damage, while others located near the point of the fire were totally damaged.
Remarkably, a Renaissance icon of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, which was in a shrine right next to the fire, remained unharmed and was removed only after the fire was extinguished.
The nuns helped as they could during the firefighting, especially praying to the Panagia for protection.
Gerontissa Mariam attributes the fact that the fire did not spread and that the icon of the Nativity of the Theotokos was harmed to the miraculous intervention of the Theotokos herself: “It’s another trial, but at the same time, through this trial, we saw again today the presence of our Panagia, Kateriniotissa, and Her Divine protection.”