Metropolitan Cyril of Rhodes has instructed all parishes on the island to provide shelter for those fleeing the forest fires that have been raging on the island for more than a week.
His Eminence is in constant communication with the priests, having ordered that air-conditioned rooms be provided for those affected by the fires. Greece undertook the most extensive evacuation actions against the background of the ongoing tragedy. The Greek fire service said 19,000 people, mainly tourists, had been moved to temporary shelters on or off the island.
Metropolitan Kirill has already visited several monasteries and churches, and had the opportunity to speak with the monks who stayed behind when the fires spread to the areas around their monasteries to help the firefighters and volunteers as much as they could.
Despite the best efforts of Abbess Mariam and the sisters, at least one monastery – Panagia Ipseni in Lardos – suffered serious damage. The nuns and a team of firefighters were forced to take refuge in an underground shelter in the monastery.
Messages of prayerful support poured in from across the Orthodox world, including Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Archbishop Makarios of Australia and the Association of Greek Priests.
“Our hearts are broken as we watch the pictures of devastation from the ongoing fires in our beloved homeland and especially on the suffering island of Rhodes,” Australia’s archbishop said.
“Our pain is softened by the fact that no human lives were taken, despite the ongoing tragedy,” added the cleric.
Photo by Ivan Dražić: https://www.pexels.com/photo/medieval-clock-tower-in-rhodes-greece-14445916/