Late in the evening of Thursday, October 10, 2019, the Saddleridge Fire ignited in southern California. Since that time, it has erupted into a large and dangerous fire which has consumed over 7,500 acres and destroyed 25 homes. At 13% containment, the fire is being fueled by the notorious Santa Ana winds, which are gusting up to 50 miles per hour. Over 1,000 firefighters are responding to this emergency, and are working diligently to protect the homes and livelihoods of the people in this area. Presently, over 100,000 people have been evacuated as the unwieldy fire continues to threaten the San Fernando Valley.

The Saddleridge Fire is also affecting parishioners from Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Northridge, CA. According to proistamenos Rev. Father Michael Prevas, the church is safe from danger, however several parishioners have been evacuated in the neighboring cities. Classes at the K-8 Saint Nicholas School were also cancelled today due to severe road restrictions and poor air quality.

“We are living in a very fragile world, and these fires remind us how quickly our safety and stability can change,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “Our prayers are with all those affected by these fires, for the protection of their homes and properties, and that the Lord may give strength to those fighting these fires, keeping them under His watchful care.”

We ask that all our faithful offer this prayer, as well as for our parishes to include it prior to the Apolysis on Sunday, October 13, 2019 at the Divine Liturgy:

Let us pray to the Lord.  Lord, have mercy.

Lord, Jesus Christ, who calms the heart and brings peace that surpasses all understanding, we pray that You stretch forth Your mighty hand during this hour of need. Send down Your Holy Spirit to comfort those who are suffering in mind, body and soul. Grant strength to those who are fighting these fires and calm the winds so that the damage and destruction may cease. Lord, we also ask that You extend your mercy and love to those whose homes and livelihoods have been lost, granting them peace and strength to face the days ahead. For You are a merciful and loving God, and to You we give the glory, to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As additional information becomes available, the Metropolis of San Francisco will provide further updates.