Victoria’s first Orthodox Church, Evangelismos, was severely damaged in a fire, which also destroyed priceless icons dating back to the 1800s.
The heritage-listed church in East Melbourne became engulfed in flames at approximately 1pm, Monday 2 May, shortly after a morning liturgy was held to celebrate the holy day of Saint George, and just a day after Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations.
“Luckily no one was inside the church at the time of the fire and the MFB was able to gain control of the blaze within half hour,” said Greek Community President Bill Papastergiadis.
“This is an iconic church not only for Greek-Australians but all Orthodox people. Planning for the church’s restoration will begin as soon as the police and the MFB finish their investigation and a full account has been taken of the damage,”Mr Papastergiadis said. "The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. It is estimated to have caused more than $500,000 in damage, although it will take some time to ascertain a more accurate figure."
Built by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria, Evangelismos was constructed in 1900-2 to serve Greeks, Syrians and other nationalities of the Orthodox faith. A J J Lucas, our founding president was also one of three Church Committee members who played an integral role in the creation of Victoria's first Greek Orthodox Church.
Annual Eptanesian event moves to Axion Estin in Northcote
Due to the recent fire at the Evangelismos Greek Orthodox church, the annual Eptanesian event, celebrating the unification of the Ionion Islands with Greece in 1864, will now take place in the presence of Mrs Christina Simantiraki, the Consul General of the Hellenic Republic in Victoria, at the “Axion Estin” monastery complex , situated at 7 Hartington Street, Northcote, on Sunday 22nd May 2016 at 10am.
Light refreshments will be served after the church service, on site in the monastery hall.
There is ample car parking on site.