A BENDIGO church will soon begin major repairs after its interior was ravaged by fire last month.
St Paul's Coptic Church was gutted by a blaze on September 21.
The century old building has been home to one of the only Coptic Christian congregations in regional Victoria for about a decade.
Parish Priest Father Moses Curley said he was grateful the church could be restored, rather than demolished and rebuilt.
Father Curley said repairs would hopefully be finished by June or July 2021.
He thanked the community for their care, saying the reaction had been one of concern and solidarity.
#FRV crews from Bendigo Fire Station had a busy weekend battling a #blaze at a church on Sunday. FRV #firefighters were supported at the scene by @CFA_Updates crews as they worked to contain the #fire. 🚒— Fire Rescue Victoria (@FireRescueVic) September 21, 2020
Read more: https://t.co/IFLC87Emmdpic.twitter.com/U3CHtL9uU2
"Thank you to the citizens of our great city, thank you for your care, for your expressions of solidarity and your concern," Father Curley said.
"We are very grateful for that. We hope that you'll see a restored, refurbished church sometime next year."
Father Curley said repairs would be an extensive job, with the interior needing rebuilding from the ground up.
The fire severely damaged the church's raw brick interior walls, which will need to be scrubbed out.
The building's roof will need replacement, and exterior walls some stabilisation.
The state of the floor and stumps remains unknown, with the possibility of water damage.
Father Curley said church services were already limited to 20 people by COVID-19 restrictions, but the congregation would be able to use the on-site hall.
The St Paul's building was formerly the site of St Johns Anglican Church. A group of now-parishioners bought the building in 2010.
Emergency services believe the fire was accidental.
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