Some moments ago, I came across a video on the BBC website which showed a church located less than a kilometre away from the Beirut’s explosion but whose altar survived the deadly explosion which claimed scores of lives.
The church, St. Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church is located in Achrafieh and is less than a kilometre away from where the Beirut explosion took place. This church has now turned to a beacon of hope to the devastated country as it’s altar and everything in the sacred place were unscathed in the deadly explosion.
Father Youil Nassif is the priest of the church and in an interview he granted to BBC, he claimed he had left the church along with his children, twelve minutes before the deadly explosion whose impact was felt several kilometres away.
In his words: “I left the church with my children twelve minutes before the explosion, we were heading home when it happened. So I reached home, I left my children there and went back to the church to check what happened.”
According to Father Youil, on getting to the church, he saw that the church had been destroyed by the explosion, so he went to the altar and he met the altar untouched. He also found the holy chalice still intact.
In his own words: “So when I entered the altar, I was surprised, the altar was untouched, you can see the pictures and you can see the videos. The holy chalice was intact, you can see the Holy Bible, you can see the oil lamp that didn’t move.”
He said finding the sacred altar place unaffected, as well as an oil lamp that had remained lit throughout even though the nave had been completely destroyed gave him hope that God is actually reaching out to his people in their dark times.
If there is anything to learn from this story which sounds almost untrue, it is that even when the times are dark and all hope is lost and everything seems gloomy with no ray of hope in sight, God still rules in the affairs of men and can use the ‘little’ things of this world to show us that he is still God..
St Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church in Achrafieh is less than a kilometre away from where the Beirut explosion took place.
Father Youil Nassif rushed to the church to check for damage, finding the nave completely ruined. But the sacred altar space, protected by the “iconostasis” (wall of icons), was almost unscathed – including an oil lamp that had remained lit throughout the blast.
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