A Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church caretaker first spotted what appeared to be tears pouring out of the eyes of the Mother of Christ on early Sunday morning. The devoted across the Windy City have since been flocking into the chapel to take a peek at the weeping Madonna. The place of worship was just days away from foreclosing after falling on financially hard times.
The custodian spotted the religious icon as she was preparing for what could have been one of the final services at the church.
The next day the residue remained streaming from the Virgin Mary’s eyes.
Father Nick Jonas told abc13: “There’s something she’s trying to tell us, so we’re just going to seal our lips and listen to what she has to say.
“I can’t explain why she is tearing, but I do know as human beings we are usually crying for two reasons: either joy or sorrow.”
Since the discovery the doors have remained open following the influx of faithful followers.
Many believe the oil like substance streaming from Mary’s eyes may have healing properties.
Steady streams of visitors have been viewing the icon with about 300 people on Sunday and even more on Monday, according to the Church’s secretary.
A nun from California even made a pilgrimage to see the tearful Mary in person.
Parish Council president Stanley Andreakis said: “Some people have come up to me and said, ‘We’ll mortgage our homes’.”
Another buyer offered £2million to purchase the church, but it would still mean the community must find a new place to worship.
The church need around £800,000 to buy the church from the bank but fundraisers have fallen short.
Fr. Jonas said: “We are hoping that we will relocate perhaps not immediately, but we are hopeful that something good will come out of this.”
Holy Trinity is the second oldest Greek Orthodox Church in the Unites States.
In a statement the Greek Orthodox Church said there is a strict protocol to follow if a church icon appears to be crying, which was not followed in this case.
It said: “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.
“Unfortunately, appropriate discernment was not used in this particular instance, and an announcement was hastily posted on Facebook, which subsequently led to negative public attention.”
The Church has now asked the parish for temporary possession of the icon.
After a period of prayer and examination, the icon will be returned and the church will issue an official statement about what had been observed.