It was reported in the news that three Orthodox churches—one in New York, one in Sydney, one in Melbourne—went up in flames, two of which occurred on Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the year for Christians. Two of the churches were gutted: the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava and the Macedonian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection.
The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, formerly known as Trinity Chapel, was 160 years old; the Macedonian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection was about 126 years old; and the Holy Church of Annunciation of Our Lady is 115 years old.
One would likely ask this question: Why did God allow two of these beautiful historic churches to be destroyed? The answer can be found in the following passages:
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world …. (John 18:36)
It does not correspond to My will that ostentatious and splendid buildings get erected for Me at a time when it is particularly important for people to look within themselves and not towards things which still belong to the world and which do not encourage striving for My kingdom with its magnificence and glory. Everything that captivates your eyes or appeals to your senses prevents you from introspection, from the contemplation of your inner self, which is so essential for you because the end is not far. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
Time and again I have to remind you that “My kingdom is not of this world”. Why do you think that you must honour Me with magnificent buildings? Why do you always externalise everything instead of working on improving your souls more eagerly? You people still do not understand why I cannot be found where you want to place Me. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
You all have the means to let Me be present in you. You have the place in you where I want to be. I Am as close to each one of you as you would like Me to be, and each one of you has the power to draw Me to himself by simply fulfilling My only request of shaping his heart into love. For “whoever remains in love remains in Me and I in him”. Only love guarantees you My presence, but I can never be where you look for Me if your heart is not burning with love. And therefore it is foolish of you to want to build houses for Me, which serve no other purpose than to periodically assemble people who live according to wrong concepts. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
So don’t feel sad when your beloved church goes up in flames. Just remember this: that God is not present in magnificent churches, but in people’s hearts which burn with love for Him and for their neighbour.