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Fire has destroyed four Orthodox churches around the world in on Easter Sunday, in New York, Sydney,Russia and early on Monday in Melbourne. One Serb, one Macedonian, one Greek and one Russian, this cannot be a pure coincidence, but more like an attack on Christian Orthodox Churches.

Orthodox Easter was celebrated across the world Sunday with a fire ceremony, roasted lamb, cakes and street processions through the streets of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Protestants and Roman Catholics celebrated Easter in March, according to the Gregorian calendar, to commemorate the day followers believe Jesus was resurrected more than 2,000 years ago. But Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate this week, following the olderJulian calendar.

In Jerusalem, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — built where Jesus was crucified and resurrected — priests entered a small chamber marking his tomb and emerged with “holy fire.” In a ceremony that dates back at least 1,200 years, they shared the flames with the faithful who used candles to pass it from person to person until the light filled the streets outside. read more

This year the Fire Ceremony was taken literally around the world, with simultaneous fires destroying two Orthodox churches, one Cathedral and one Monastery, all on the same day.

MELBOURNE

A fire at Victoria’s oldest Greek Orthodox church in East Melbourne, which forced the evacuation of about 200 people from nearby buildings, has caused an estimated $500,000 damage.

Crews were called to the building on the corner of Victoria Parade and Lansdowne Street just after 1:30pm.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) said the fire was reported by a passerby, and crews — located a block away — were at the scene within minutes.

Authorities said the fire was under control within an hour and was mostly contained in the church’s roof. Read more

NEW YORK

Firefighters were still dousing flames Monday morning after a massive fire gutted a historic church in Manhattan on Sunday, the day its Serbian Orthodox parishioners had joyously celebrated Easter.

The fire started Sunday evening and quickly engulfed the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Flatiron neighbourhood, the FDNY said. Read more

SYDNEY

A large fire has destroyed a Macedonian Orthodox Church, in Rockdale Sydney on Orthodox Easter Sunday.

The fire forced the evacuation of scores of residents from a nearby nursing home in Sydney’s south overnight, firefighters say.

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The Macedonian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection was destroyed in the fire. Photo: Screen grab: ABC News 24

Fire investigators were to examine the ruins of the Macedonian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in Rockdale early on Monday morning to determine the cause of the blaze, which broke out about 9.45pm on Sunday.

Superintendent Adam Dewberry, from Fire and Rescue NSW, said about 60 firefighters battled the blaze at the church on Frederick Street for several hours, before bringing it under control. read more

RUSSIA

People were evacuated and an emergency helicopter was deployed after a hotel in a 19th century building on the premises of historic Valaam monastery in northern Russia caught fire.

The huge blaze covering some 800 square meters (8,600 sq feet) started on Sunday morning, as the Orthodox Christian community was celebrating Easter day.

It erupted in the ‘Winter Hotel,’ located in the historic building. The structure constructed in the 1850s is considered a national heritage site. Belonging to Valaam monastery, the building is right next to the monastery’s main cathedral.

There were no casualties in the incident, emergency services reported. Some 70 people have been evacuated from the site.

Valaam monastery, on an island in Lake Ladoga in Karelia, northern Russia, is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists. Known for its natural beauty as well as revered religious sites dating back to the 14th century, the island is visited by more than a hundred thousand people every year. read more