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As reported last week, communities of the Orthodox Church in America in California’s Napa and Sonoma Counties remained in a precarious position as fire fighters continued to battle flames that claimed some 37,000 acres, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes and businesses.

Prayers had been requested specifically for Santa Rosa’s Saint Seraphim Cathedral community, as well as Our Lady of Kazan Skete, also in Santa Rosa, and Holy Assumption Monastery, Calistoga, CA.  As a precaution, the nuns from both monastic communities had been evacuated several days ago.

As of Wednesday evening, October 18, 2017, Cal Fire had reported that, while new fires had broken out in the northern part of the state, the fire between Calistoga and Santa Rosa had been 91% contained.

“The cathedral in Santa Rosa, the Kazan Skete and the Assumption Monastery in Calistoga all have been spared,” reports His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West.  “The nuns have returned to their corresponding monasteries.  I was particularly concerned about Calistoga’s Holy Assumption Monastery, as it is the oldest women’s monastery in the Western Hemisphere and its buildings—including its chapel, a replica of the chapel at Fort Ross, CA—are made of wood.  But all is well.

“A couple of families suffered the loss of their homes and, of course, there are thousands of their neighbors who suffered the same fate,” Archbishop Benjamin adds.  “I expect it will take a long time for the city to recover and for the parish to be a point of contact where people seek help.”

Ongoing prayers are requested for those personally affected by the wild fires.