Greek monasteries evacuated due to spreading wildfire

Schinos, Greece, May 21, 2021

The Monastery of St. John the Forerunner. Photo: The Monastery of St. John the Forerunner. Photo:     

Greek authorities have ordered the evacuation of a number of villages in the Corinth region as a forest fire that began on Wednesday night continues to spread.

The fire has mainly torn through woodland and thick vegetation, though some houses have also been devoured by the flames. Thankfully, no deaths as a result of the fire have been reported.

Besides the villages, two monasteries, of St. John the Forerunner and of St. Paraskeva, in the pine-covered Gernaeia Mountains were also evacuated, reports

Commenting for, Metropolitan Dionysios of Corinth expressed regret at the destruction of the beautiful forest but gratitude to God that no lives have been lost. “May the grace of God end all this quickly,” he said.

Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople sent letters of sympathy and support to Metropolitans Dionysios of Corinth and Constantinos of Megara, and to Archimandrite Chrysostomos of St. Paraskeva Monastery, which was damaged by the flames and saved thanks to the tireless effort of the firefighters.


According to tradition, the Monastery of St. John dates to the first millennium. During the iconoclastic period, two monks from Constantinople were seeking a suitable place to build a monastery, and with some relics of St. John and a wonderworking icon of the Forerunner in tow, they arrived at the site of the present-day monastery.

As they were building, they realized they were in danger from pirates, so they hid the holy relics and the icon on the hill southeast of the monastery and fled. Years later, a local shepherd noticed that one of his sheep would constantly leave the herd and run to a spot on the top of the hill. At night, the shepherd saw a wondrous light on the same spot. This was repeated several times until at last the shepherd traveled to the spot and found the holy relics and the icon. This miracle became the occasion for the founding of the monastery.

The monastery was instrumental in keeping the Orthodox faith alive in the people during the long Ottoman occupation. Today, it is home to many relics, including blood that poured forth from the head of St. John the Forerunner.

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