Friday’s fire at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ in Port Adelaide caused widespread damage to the interior of the sanctuary but the altar and a number of its ancient relics survived intact.
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Fire Service said one third of the building had been destroyed, with the damage estimated to be at least $750,000.
The authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire but they believe it may have simply occurred as a result of candles being burned in the area.
Greek-Australian Member of Parliament Tom Koutsantonis said in a tweet that the church’s beautiful Byzantine icons had unfortunately been destroyed.
Beautiful Byzantine Iconography destroyed by a cruel fire at the Orthodox Church of the Nativity in Port Adelaide today.
Before & after shots show the true extent of the damage.
But miraculously, the Altar holding the sacred relics is not burnt or damaged. pic.twitter.com/rrCumGuTZq
— Tom Koutsantonis MP (@TKoutsantonisMP) December 6, 2019
Despite the intensity of the fire, the altar area of the church appears to have suffered no damage whatsoever.
Built 60 years ago by early Greek migrants to Port Adelaide, the Greek Orthodox Church of The Nativity of Christ is one of the most beloved and popular Greek churches in South Australia.