São Paulo, Brazil, July 12, 2022
“Only the altar is left,” says Fr. Paisios Dias of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in São Paulo after a fire that broke out in a neighboring building spread to the church.
“Beyond the material value, what’s lost is the historical value,” he told g1.globo.com.
The church of Syrian-Lebanese origin is the oldest Orthodox church in Brazil. It was consecrated more than a century ago, in 1904. According to Fr. Paisios, more than 80% of the building was destroyed in the flames on Sunday.
Before the fire. Photo: g1.globo.com
They did manage to remove and save some icons, however, while the vestments were completely consumed by the flames.
The fire began on Sunday in a neighboring 10-story commercial building. Besides the church, it also spread to and partially destroyed a 6-story retail building that also belongs to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and at least one other ground-floor store. Two firefighters were also burned and had to be rescued.
The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.
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