A fire damaged the Holy Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady in East Melbourne on Monday, a day after the Greek Orthodox Church faithful celebrated Easter.
According to The Age, an MFB spokesman said firefighters were called to the church around 1:40pm on Monday, after patrolling police saw smoke emerging from the church windows and roof.
Police asked about 200 people to evacuate nearby buildings and closed part of Victoria until firefighters extinguished the blaze.
Father Kosmas Damianides told The Age he was “very distraught” because he believed icons inside the church would have suffered smoke damage.
“That’s going to cost a lot of money. That’s a great loss for us. The church is 115 years old, so there were a lot of icons that were very old in there,” he said.
The damages to the church’s exterior had been minimal, thanks to the MFB’s speed, he said. Only some windows had to be smashed to facilitate the firefighting effort.
The cause of the fire has not been determined yet, and damage costs are not estimated yet.
The Holy Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady is Victoria’s oldest Greek Orthodox Church, built in 1901. It is the second oldest Greek Orthodox Church in Australia after Sydney’s Holy Trinity Church.
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