Wildfires force evacuation of monastery on Greek island of Evia

Evia, Greece, August 4, 2021

Photo: vimaorthodoxias.gr Photo: vimaorthodoxias.gr     

As the wildfire that broke out yesterday continues to rage across the Greek island of Evia, the monks of the famous St. David of Evia Monastery have been ordered to take shelter elsewhere.

The monastery was home to the famous 20th-century elder St. Iakovos of Evia who was canonized in late 2017.

“We’re drowning in smoke,” Abbot Gabriel says. About 20,000 acres and dozens of houses have been reduced to ashes so far.

Police ordered the evacuation of the monastery this morning, according to the Greek Reporter. 12 monks live there, including one with mobility issues. Protothema.gr reported this morning that the monks were unwilling to leave but were instead calling for reinforcements for the firefighters.

The same outlet later reported that all but three monks had left, while the monastery is surrounded by flames less than 440 yards away.

“We have drowned in smoke,” Abbot Gabriel said. “We can’t see either. We see smoke coming at us… May the Panagia and the holy elder [St. Iakovos of Evia—OC] put their hand out that it not reach this far. It’s destroying everything.”

A total of 81 fires broke out in Greece yesterday.

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