Parishioners from the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago's Northwest Side have reported witnessing one of icons there depicting the Virgin Mary “crying”.
The church’s pastor, Nicholas Jonas, has shared a photo of the Virgin Mary painting with traces of a liquid running down from her eyes on Facebook, saying “Our Icon of the Panagia is weeping!”
According to an unnamed church worker, cited by NBC 5, the crying began on Sunday, with the faithful subsequently flocking there. What some described as a miracle came ahead of a looming shutdown of the church over its debts. The house of worship, which is some $8 million in debt, has a bankruptcy hearing this week. Over the past year it has been fighting to keep the church building. But while a generous donation saved it from being sold in 2018, this year, the church is struggling to raise the necessary $250,000 on a GoFundMe page that was launched last December, CBS Chicago reports.
According to the broadcaster, some believe that the “weeping” is a sign from God potentially promising that the financial troubles will be resolved.
However, the Greek Orthodox Church is more cautious, saying that a special protocol for such cases was not followed, as the pastor hastily posted an announcement on Facebook.
“In such cases, Orthodox clergy know to immediately inform their bishop so that he may take appropriate steps to discern the nature of the phenomenon. When similar events were discovered in the Metropolis in the past, such news was not shared until months later in order to discern that what was observed was truly a sign from God”, the church said in a statement.
The church has asked for the painting to be taken in for examination. Following this, an official statement will be issued.