Church Collapses in Croatia
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Croatian church organist found dead after church collapses following deadly 6.4 earthquake

By Brandon Showalter, Christian Post Reporter | Saturday, January 02, 2021

An organist was found dead, buried in the rubble of a Croatian church following a structural collapse after an earthquake registering 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the eastern European nation. 
The 15-meter-high tower which topped Parish St. Nikola — a Catholic church in the town of Žažina, located approximately 30 miles southeast of the capital city of Zagreb — collapsed while Stanko Zec was inside with a few others after the quake shook the region Tuesday.

According to Vecernji, a Croatian daily newspaper, Stanko went inside the church with a few others to retrieve valuable items on the altars like embroidered blankets and to take down the manger. Božidar Škofac recounted that when Zec went to cover the organ with nylon to protect it from dust the ceiling fell in on them.

"It was a horrible blow, I saw a chandelier hanging from the vault falling, it was collapsing right in that central part. I knew the collapse would spread to the edges so I quickly hid under the coffee table. I crawled under it and there was a terrible noise and dust. The table was covered with bricks and dust, as well as benches. The entire ceiling fell, only the walls remained. I was captured, three colleagues escaped to the sacristy and started calling us," Škofac said.

He added that after the collapse a man ran up and began moving the bricks and freed him from the rubble. 

"I led the church choir, and he played. He has three sons and a wife. He was very engaged in the church as a believer, he always helped. He was a good man," he said of the deceased organist.

Škofac and a few others managed to escape the church collapse with only minor injuries. A funeral was held for Zec on Thursday.

The earthquake was reportedly felt across the nation of just over 4 million people and the Balkan regions. Reports say the tremors were felt as far away as Vienna, Austria.
The epicenter of the quake was located 3 miles from the Croatian town of Petrinja, approximately 8 miles from Žažina.

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