The repair cost from the fire that ravaged the Greek Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ in the area of Port Adelaide last Friday is expected to exceed the $1 million mark, but parishioners have found strength amongst the ashes.
The altar and all valuable artefacts were somehow spared from the glaze in what parish priest Father Ioannis Horaitis described as a miracle.
Despite the intensity of the fire, the sanctuary of the temple appears to have suffered no damage whatsoever.
“Somehow the altar remained undamaged. For us, this is a miracle, a divine intervention. The cross is clear which means that God is still with us,” says Father Ioannis who saw the flames spreading through his church destroying six decades of history.
“Everything that was on the holy table was untouched. I actually had to take a photo of it because I couldn’t believe it,” added President of the Greek Community of Port Adelaide, Mr John Douvartzidis.
Treasured artefacts were recovered but the building is now unsuitable for Christmas.
All church services will take place in the hall next to the church that belongs to the Port Adelaide Greek Community.
“We are fortunate to have a fairly large hall next door that our members and parishioners use and that will accommodate everybody, so it is business as usual,” confirmed Mr Douvartzidis.
When the fire broke out at 2pm on Friday, parishioners rushed to the scene as firefighters battled with the flames for over an hour.
The firemen were forced to break the door to enter the church and save the building from complete destruction.
Built 60 years ago, by early Greek migrants, the Greek Orthodox Church of The Nativity of Christ, is one of the most loved and popular Greek churches in SA.
Parishioners thanked the community for the overwhelming support vowing to bounce back.
“We built this church 60 years ago, and we can definitely build it again. This is our history, part of our migration story, that we now have to pass to our children,” said Alexandra Vakitsidou who has been a member of the parish for decades.
This is the second Greek Orthodox Church in Adelaide, following St Panteleimon Church in Glenelg, to go up in flames and suffer severe damage from fire.
Although, the church has insurance to cover what is expected to be a $1million repair bill, it is likely to take many months to restore Port Adelaide’s jewel to its former glory.
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“For now, we are taking one day at a time, we already had one memorial service yesterday in our little hall to honor one of our long standing members who is no longer with us and we are hopeful that with everyone’s support we will slowly get back on our feet,” concluded Douvartzidis.