Dozens of mourners gathered at Brosteni Church in Bucharest on Wednesday to remember the 64 victims of the deadly fire that broke out at Colectiv nightclub four years ago.
The memorial service was officiated by an assembly of priests in front of a white monument with an angel putting hands together in prayer built by the Orthodox Archdiocese of Bucharest at the initiative of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.
‘For their faces that won’t be forgotten / For those whose souls are grieved / For those who until yesterday were mother and father / But today they gaze at a cross and date,’ reads the inscription on the monument.
The Colectiv nightclub fire was a deadly fire in Bucharest, Romania, on 30 October 2015, which killed 64 people (26 on site, 38 in hospitals) and injured 147.
The fire, the worst incident in Romania since the Balotești plane crash, occurred during a free concert performed by the metalcore band ‘Goodbye to Gravity’ to celebrate the release of their new album ‘Mantras of War’.
The band’s pyrotechnics, consisting of sparkler firework candles, ignited the club’s flammable polyurethane acoustic foam, and the fire spread rapidly. Most of the victims were poisoned by toxins released from the burning foam.
Among the first to arrive at the place of the tragedy on that dreadful night of October 30 was Father Vasile Birleanu who serves at the Orthodox Chapel at the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations on Dealul Spirii in Bucharest.
This Orthodox priest was the first clergyman to arrive immediately after the fire broke out and to comfort the victims. He offered the first prayers for the souls of the departed and for the recovery of the wounded.
Shortly after the tragedy, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel offered condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families over the Colectiv club fire and issued an urgent call to the public to donate blood. Patriarch Daniel was the first public figure to offer condolences after the fire.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene