Fire Destroys Orthodox Church in Palm Harbor, Florida

Fire Destroys Orthodox Church in Palm Harbor, Florida


On behalf of my parish, Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene the Neo Martyrs of Lesbos Hellenic Orthodox Church of Palm Harbor, Florida, in the Metropolis of Atlanta, I ask for everyone to extend a prayer for the stewards of our church as the community confronts the results of a devastating recent fire.

Fire-damaged plaque showing the parish's name

I am humbled, to tell you of the many miracles which I have seen, first hand, over the last several days, which stand as an affirmation of our Holy Orthodox faith. Above all, we are grateful that no one was injured and the holy and sacred relics of our patron saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene remained in tact and untouched by the fire and aftermath of smoke and water.

Silver icon of Archangel Michael undamaged by fire that burned the wall around it

A silver icon of Archangel Michael Panormitis, at the epicenter of the fire, remains unscathed, while icons which were displayed above and beneath were burnt to ashes (see above photograph) the fire literally went around the icon, I personally removed the icon from the wall which had become fused with the wall behind him, and it is scented of myrrh and not charred smoke.

And not finally, the large “Portaitissa” Icon, a reproduction of the miraculous Iveron icon, is being touted and praised as the Protectress of our community’s precious relics, containing the fire’s wrath at the Gate of the church from which she was not spared. But she will take the place of honor once again!

Priest offering communion to the faithful attending service in a tentWe have set up a website with the recent media coverage, photographs and a place for pilgrims to offer a contribution to our recovery efforts we will rebuild from the ashes: We will post some of the many, many miraculous instances.

[Photos: Elias Damianakis]


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About author

Elias Damianakis

Hagiographos Elias Damianakis is Archon Maestor of the Great Church of Christ, Constantinople. He is President of the Parish Council of Saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Hellenic Orthodox Church in Palm Harbor, Florida. All photographs in this post were taken by him.