Please Pray for the St John the Forerunner Monastery for Protection from Wildfires

I have received email that wildfires are near the St John the Forerunner Monastery in Goldendale, Washington and that the nuns may have been evacuated.  I am not sure of the accuracy of the info at this time.  But thought I should let my readers know so they can offer prayers for all those who live in the area, and for the firefighters.  If any readers have more info please contact me so I can update the post.

Goldendale Sentinel Article with picture of the nuns.

Update Thurs am Feast of St Adrian and Natalia, St Adrian of Ondrusov:  From what I have heard and hope it is accurate:  There has been significant forest damage and the fire has swept thru much of the area, including the Monastery.  I have been told the Monastery buildings were saved.  (the nuns were evacuated see comments for more info) From what I have heard only 1 home has been lost thanks to the courage and endurance of the firefighters and locals working together.  Please see the comments section for first hand info courtesy of  Officer Dave.

Update Thursday evening:  Here are some articles of interest.  Thank you again to Officer Dave for updates please see comments.  From what I have gathered none of the Orthodox Community lost homes, but 9 homes have been lost in the area.  Glory to God it was not worse.  Hopefully I will have more info tomorrow.

Tricities Herald article,  another Tricities Herald article focusing on the nuns, KGW News article with pictures 

ABC News article on Nuns on Twitter  here is a video from KOMO News with a brief interview with Sister Parthenia

Friday update:  According to Mr Lewis the Nuns are back at home.  Fema is involved, and the fires are still being fought.  Please see his comments in the comments section.  FRI Night Update:  Fires around the Monastery are mostly out and things are looking better in that area.  No structural damage to the Monastery or Fr Michaels or Fr Josephs homes.  Please see the latest comments from Mr Stafford who was there the last two days helping to fight the fires.  And a large thank you to Mr Stafford for your efforts fighting the fire and keeping us informed.

Sat Night update Latest video from the Monastery Builders Website.  The video was shot over three days and ends with the nuns praying the Paraklesis to the Holy Theotokos and a shot of where the fire stopped by the Monastery cemetary crosses.  Please see the updates in comments section from people in the area.  Do not plan to go to help without calling the Monastery First.    ( A Large and Sincere Thanks to all those who have commented and have been kind enough to share with all of us in the NW what is going on)    

CNN Video with brief interviews of nuns.


The Monastery has a yearly Benefit Dinner and auction.  It will take place Oct 9th in the Dalles this year.  I will be posting the flyer later this month.  But for all those who are interested attatched is a PDF of the flyer so you can start planning.  More info can be found on the Monastery Builders website.  Monastery Benefit Full SheetFlyer

About editorOrthodoxNorthwest

An Orthodox Christian, whose interests also include, GO, Square Dancing, hiking, exploring, swimming, kayaking, cooking, history, board games. I am the Editor of OrthodoxNorthwest which I hope benefits readers in the NW. I do post Romanian, Greek and Slavic info but I cannot read any of them - hey, I am an American. Would appreciate hearing from readers of the blog. Χριστός Ανέστη! (Anthony)
This entry was posted in Events and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Please Pray for the St John the Forerunner Monastery for Protection from Wildfires

  1. Liz Fallin says:

    It is true. A neighbor reports that the fire has reached the cemetary, and is threatening the buildings (as of 2:15 pm). The Goldendale Sentinel has an article, including a picture of some of the sisters: . Please pray for the sisters and the firefighters!

  2. David Officer says:
    I drove up there this night to check on my parents property, the monastery, and some friends’ places. I finally made it to the monastery in the slow traffic led by a pace car. It was now dark. And the monastery had bonfires on three sides of it (fourth side was the driveway leading to the highway). The buildings seemed well protected, however, by the many fire trucks and hose lines. Accross the highway and 200 yards past the monastery was the fire command center with many more emergency vehicles, trailers, food/water being unloaded, etc. Another mile past this was my parents road to their property. On our way to this road 8 more emergency vehicles passed us in the night at quite a clip, emergency lights on, coming from Yakima. We found a couple dozen “little campfires” dotting the woodline next to a power line green belt (think huge robot towers that march through the countryside hoisting thick powerlines to the surrounding towns). I got to put out one of these little bonfires that was threatening a nice thick old tree (2 feet away). The sun went down bloated and pure red. The moon came up very orange. What a foreign land we were in.

    • David Officer says:

      The nuns are staying at a parishoner’s house. I followed them out there earlier today and gave them some paper plates, extra chairs and card table for outside, and some soy milk from the dollar store (its organic, awesome). They are in good spirits. I heard the animals for the monastery and many families in the Box Canyon Rd area that evacuated have been relocated to various places around Goldendale. Fr. Michael Dunaway and his family is staying at his son’s place, I was told, in The Dalles, OR, about 45 min away.

      Pray for the Orthodox, fire fighters, pilots doing water drops, and non orthodox neighbors! May it be blessed.

      • David thank you for the updates I am sure people are interested in learning more. I wonder if their buildings were damaged. If you learn more please share it. May Our God who loves mankind show mercy on all those living in the area and on those fighting the fires.

        • davidofficer says:

          A captain in the fire department (and my coworker) came in this morning after sleeping 2 hours. He got home at 5am. His feet are full of blisters (imagine wearing your thin cotton socks in oversized rubber boots…for 18 hours straight while being on your feet the whole time), he’s sunburned. He came in only for an important meeting and will go home to get some sleep before possibly heading back out to the fire. Another fire fighter who is also an Orthodox parishoner of the Monastery confirmed what my coworker told me: They are focusing on protecting homes, and due to limited man power, the fire gets to roam the forest unabated. The sunrise this morning was amazing. The sun came up behind a large fresh dark plume of smoke from the forest fire Northwest of Goldendale/I-97. That whole edge of the world was red-orange.

  3. Kevin Stafford says:

    Best article as of 1AM Goldendale time.
    No reports of property loss yet.

    • Kevin Thank you so much for the update. I was working all night so I couldn’t update. I am glad for my readers updates. Keep them coming.

      • davidofficer says:

        Later I talked with the former mayor of Goldendale, and an Orthodox Christian who attends church at the Monastery, said that the Monastery and all homes belonging to Orthodox parishoners had close calls but none of them had any structural damage. Praise the Lord! The fire is still marching south, the weather is still dry–HOT–smokey. Pray on.

  4. davidofficer says:
    This is our local newspaper. They just updated the evacuation zones and posted it with updated info at the above link. The southern end of the evacuation zone is now as far south as my family’s street, Golden Pine, off of Ponderosa Drive, fortunately West of I-97 (you can see it on the map at the above link…just click on the image file on that page). As long as the wind doesn’t pick up we shouldn’t see it come accross I-97 towards us. However, if the fire keeps going South and the wind picks up from West to East like it normally blows it will then head towards the family that is hosting the nuns. That, fortunately, is many miles away and not many trees are out there in that grassland…lots of dirt roads to segregate a possible burning field from a non burning one.

  5. davidofficer says:

    WA DNR fire twitter feed. Monastery fire updates all day.

  6. Jonathan Lewis says:

    WA DNR incident site about Monastery Fire

  7. Jonathan Lewis says:

    Nuns are back home. Keeping track of spot fires. Tons of smoldering piles of logs and trees just waiting for the wind to wip it up again. DNR is still classifying this fire as 0% containment. The cemetery is all burned right up the the wooden grave marker crosses – but the crosses are all perserved!

    • Mr Lewis, Thank you so much for the update. It is good to know the nuns are back home. Anyone who knows the nuns knows they will get on their feet quickly they have an indomitable will and great faith. I bet they are making food for the local fire personnel as well. When you learn how we can help let us know. I am sure they are not letting people in yet. Thank you again for the update please keep them coming.

  8. Kevin Stafford says:

    I just returned from the monastery, with some others from Tri-Cities.
    We spent last night and today putting out brush fires / tree root fires.
    There were some tense moments today, as fire was between Father Michael’s home and the monastery – with two helicopters working to control that piece of it. (But it’s all clear now).

    Seems like things are entering a more decidedly safe situation.

    At the monastery – superficial damage (burned grass, burned trees)
    Zero structural damage to any of the monastery buildings, or Father Michael’s / Father Joseph’s homes.
    (as of 6PM this evening when we left).

    Things had definitely settled down by the time we left – everyone felt it was not critical to be checking for brush fires/tree fires so frequently and diligently (because they were becoming fewer and far between); whereas last night, on a six hour shift (10PM to 4AM) we didn’t even have a ten minute rest, because we were constantly finding/combating new fires.

    Kevin Stafford

    • Mr Stafford, Thank you so much for the informative update and for fighting the fires. Are you a firefighter or a volunteer? If your a volunteer did you just show up and they let you work in the area? I thought the Highway was closed while the fire was in the area?

      • Kevin Stafford says:

        I am a volunteer – with past firefighting experience.
        I was in communication with Father Michael BEFORE I went up to the monastery.
        If you want to help – call the monastery FIRST to get permission.
        The road was closed, but the sheriff let us through when we had the “helping” evidence (shovels, buckets, gatorade). The road is open (Friday afternoon)
        If you plan to go up to help – bring Gatorade!!!

  9. elizabeth says:

    There are so many hardworking volunteer firefighters involved. 60 or so camped at the Reese cabin last night after working to save the place yesterday. Thomas is planning to try to get up there and keep an eye on things. I will let you know if he has any more updates.

  10. Jonathan Lewis says:

    New video by an Orthodox person of the Monastery fire at
    The benefit dinner flier is not up to date yet for this year but it should be an emotional time for all of us. Fliers should be up to date by this afternoon.
    No wind again this morning which is a complete miracle.
    Fire fighters are working very hard to contain the perimeter of the fire so that it cannot grow. There is still a great deal of fuel on the ground within their containment area that will make things harder to control – especially if we get wind.
    Thank you all for your prayers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s