The monastery of Hosios (Venerable) Loukas in central Greece, one of the most important Byzantine monuments included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, was engulfed in flames on Wednesday 23rd of August 2023.
The site is home to one of the best-preserved collections of mosaics from the Macedonian Renaissance of Byzantium.
The wildfires completely burned the courtyard of the historic monastery yesterday. The flames even reached the interior of the Monastery and burned one of the oldest buildings.
Firefighters tried to prevent the wildfire from reaching the interior of the monastery as then the destruction would be irreparable.
Along with the firefighters, Metropolitan Georgios of Thebes, Levadia and Avlida, participated in the effort to extinguish the wildfire.
Fortunately, pilgrims and monks were evacuated on time.
Afterwards, the Greek Minister of Culture, Mrs. Lina Mendoni, visited the Monastery and met with the Metropolitan.
“I would like to thank all those who helped and contributed the Minister of Culture, the firefighters and all those responsible, the regional governor, the deputy regional governors and all those who helped,” the Metropolitan said moved from the efforts they all put in to extinguish the fires.
“The building that was burnt was an old building that was under renovation. Sadly, it is now burnt and I think it will fall apart. What happened is a great disaster, many olive trees have been burnt too,” he added.
“I am very moved because I had planted over 1,200 (trees) and almost all of them were burnt, both the old ones, and the trees that the fathers had planted 100 years ago. The monastery will not be as it was before,” he stressed.
Finally, Metropolitan Georgios said: “Thank God the monks are fine, we are all fine. I am glad that this sacred place has been saved because I care about it, since I lived here for many years.”