The holy icon of the Virgin Mary at the Monastery of Panagia Varnakova in Fokida may have been saved from the flames in 2017, but the same did not happen with the fire that broke out last night. According to the Mayor of Dorida, George Kapetzonis, who spoke to ANA-MPA, “the holy icon was completely destroyed. There are only a few small remnants that the Archaeological Service will assess and submit its conclusion.”
As the mayor reported, “along with the icon, a copy of the Holy Gospel and other relics were destroyed while some of the faithful’s votive offerings have been saved.”
“Both the Metropolis and the monastery were hit hard,” said Metropolitan Theoktistos of Fokida, who was at the affected area from the outset. He expressed concern about the fact that the monastery “caught fire twice in three years without knowing where it came from” and added that “we thank the fire brigade who arrived immediately and prevented the worst.”
The fire broke out shortly before 23:00 last night. It started from the roof of the temple and rapidly spread. Firefighters who arrived there immediately evacuated the nuns from the monastery, but the flames had already engulfed the temple. As the mayor of Dorida, Giorgos Kapetsonis, underlined, “shortly after midnight, the firefighters brought the flames under control and prevented the possibility of the fire spreading to the adjoining forest, which was under threat due to the intensity of the winds.”
It is recalled that in January 2017, the monastery was again set on fire and then, in addition to facilities, its significant library was destroyed. Affected by the earthquake in 1995, the main church of the monastery has suffered significant damage and since then it has been closed.
The temple used since then was a chapel and is located on the third floor of the building, as below the temple there are underground cells and facilities of the monastery. The temple was now completely destroyed as firefighters made strenuous efforts to prevent the flames from spreading to other parts of the monastery.