French Police Investigate Russian Orthodox Church Fire

The Paris firefighting department said French police launched an investigation into the cause of the fire that ravaged the Saint-Seraphin-de-Sarov, a small Russian Orthodox church in central Paris this weekend. 

The rector of the Paris church has denied earlier claims that the fire on Sunday could have been caused by candles that had been left “unattended” by worshippers.

“The Saint-Seraphin-de-Sarov is not open outside of services, and only members of the parish in charge of maintenance have access to it,” Archpriest Nicolas Crnokrak said.

Meanwhile, a Paris firefighting spokesperson said around 60 firefighters put out Sunday’s fire. 

“The damage is very significant,” the church said on its social media accounts.

“The antimins (altar cloth) and epitaphion (image of Christ icon) are intact. Almost everything else burned down,” the posts read.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several French establishments associated with Russia have been vandalized.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin expressed “solidarity” with the Paris church. 

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