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Holy Monastery of Panagia Ipseni/Facebook
World News

Monastery saved in ‘miracle’ as nuns brave Rhodes fires

by Heather Preston

A group of nuns have been hailed heroes for “miraculously” fighting off wildfires in Rhodes, Greece to save their monastery from being burnt to the ground.

The Mother Superior and seven sisters refused to leave the church as flames descended onto their land. They used buckets of water to drench surrounding grass land in a bid to save the Holy Monastery of Panagia Ipseni, according to reports from The Times.

The nuns retreated inside one of the monastery’s churches when the flames got too hot while the abbess Sister Mariam led prayers, before the group later emerged unharmed hours later in what Mariam has called a “miracle”.

A single fire engine arrived in time to help tackle the flames as volunteers used garden hoses to spray water from a 1,000 tank.

Sisiter Mariam believes the Virgin Mary and the church’s founding saint St Meletios protected the site from harm, explaining that she had no intention of leaving the monastery as the fires raged. “I would rather die than see it burn,” she told The Times.

Another nun likened the event to Noah’s ark, saying it was a miracle in which God saved them.

Mariam had encouraged the other sisters to evacuate the area after smoke began to rise from a nearby village over the weekend, but the seven nuns refused to leave. The monastery’s front wall was scorched by the flames and the roof of the nun’s sleeping quarters collapsed but the walls and floors of the building were described as being left “pristine” while the surrounding forest was destroyed.

Thousands of Britons have been evacuated from the Greek Island as wildfires continue to take hold across southern Europe. Nine countries across the continent are now battling flames in the face of soaring temperatures and strong winds.

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