A fire broke out at the historic Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, a Greek Orthodox church in Sydney, Australia on the evening of Thursday, September 30.
The fire caused significant damage to the interior of the historic and heritage-listed building of the Australian church, in particular to parts of the roof over the holy altar and the chapel of St John the Theologian.
The initial assessment indicated that the damage to the church, which serves the Australian diaspora, was due to a short circuit, though investigations are still underway by authorities.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia released a message following the fire. It referred to the damage to the church’s sacred utensils and articles kept in the sanctuary which “were damaged by the large amount f water that was used during the fire-fighting operation”.
Damages sustained by the fire
The electronic and audiovisual system of the church was also completely destroyed, however the true extent of the damage is still unknown and “there will be a further update once this is completed”.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios Archbishop of Australia, and his colleagues, who were at the church at the time, were never in any danger from the fire and did not sustain any injuries.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia statement fervently thanks the firefighters who rushed to the scene and police for their “immediate mobilization and assistance in the ordeal of our local Church.”
A few months ago, an announcement had been made for $27 million upgrades to the Archdiocese of Australia.
In its first stage, the upgrade saw the careful restoration and refurbishment of the historic Cathedral of the Annunciation of our Lady, the church designed by famous Colonial architect, Edmund Blackett, at a cost of around $2 million.
A heritage-listed church in Australia
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady is a heritage-listed former Anglican church and now Greek Orthodox cathedral. It is located at 242 Cleveland Street, Redfern, City of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The church was designed by Edmund Blacket and the rectory was designed by John Burcham Clamp and built from 1848. The property is owned by Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
Positioned on a visually prominent site, the cathedral was built in the Colonial Decorated Gothic style. The church also consists of a square tower surmounted by an octagonal turret, with a nave, two wide aisles, chancel, two vestries and two porches.
The architectural form, elevation and dimensions of the cathedral were taken from a lithograph of St Barnabas’ at Homerton. It was designed by Arthur Ashpitel, using English architectural patterns for inspiration, which was a common practice for colonial architects in Australia.
The cathedral is supplemented by a number of later buildings on the site. The former rectory (1912) was enlarged after the site’s conversion to Orthodoxy to include a second floor. It is is now used as office and meeting space for the Archdiocese of Australia.