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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reverend Clergy
Beloved Faithful
Holy Metropolis of Chicago

Beloved in the Lord,

At the opening of Great and Holy Lent, it is with a heavy heart that we write to inform you of the tragic fire that has severely damaged our beloved Saint Basil Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago, Illinois. The fire, of undetermined cause, broke out around noon, on Clean Monday, March 18, on the north side of the solea and spread to the balcony. While we give our Lord thanks that no one was injured, there is extensive smoke and water damage throughout the building.

The Chicago Fire Department quickly responded, extinguished the fire, and the building was not lost. Nevertheless, the damage from smoke and water is considerable, and will require major restoration work. The altar vessels were kept from harm, but a number of wall icons, the pulpit and two stained-glass windows were destroyed.

Obviously the parish of St. Basil has much work ahead of it, and it is incumbent on the whole of our Metropolis to support our sisters and brothers as they rebuild and restore their historic church. It will be some time before the extent of the damage is known, the time-frame will be for the parish to reoccupy the building and, of course, the total cost to the parish. As additional information becomes available, we will keep you informed.

For the moment, we encourage all of our parishes to pray for the speedy restoration of the venerable Church of Saint Basil. The parish has also put up a donation page on their website (www.stbasilchicago.org) where donations can be made to support their restoration (we ask you to share this with your congregation).

With our prayers that this season of Great Lent will be a time of healing and restoration for us all, we remain,

With Paternal Blessings,

Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago