WAEGWAN, South Korea, APRIL 19, 2007 (Zenit.org).- An accidental fire caused extensive damage to the largest Benedictine Monastery in Asia. There were no injuries, but all the cells were completely destroyed, forcing 70 monks to move elsewhere.

The FIDES news agency reported that on April 5, the fire was discovered at 1:15 a.m. by the vice prior.

The fire, which officials say was likely caused by a short circuit, took firefighters five hours to put out.

Arch Abbot Jeremias Schröder, president of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien, Germany, who is in charge of the Benedictine missionaries and of the monastery at Waegwan, flew to South Korea to assess the situation and to encourage the brothers.

Abbot Schröder said, "We are deeply upset but grateful that no one was hurt."

Code: ZE07041921

Date: 2007-04-19