Images and Icons Archive

Australia (1994)
Dear Editors,

In the tiny Antiochian Orthodox Church of St Mary, in the far western suburb of Mt Pritchard, Sydney, Australia, a miracle happens every day. Since the end of August, a life-sized icon of the Christ is exuding pure olive oil. It forms in beads all over the painted surface of the icon, and is captured in receptacles and on wads of cotton wool laid at the base. So far since it began, more than three litres of the oil has been collected. The priests anoint all who come to the church, and there are hundreds flocking there every day. The oil has been tested at a laboratory in Sydney, and without a doubt it is pure olive oil! The icon was painted in the usual way, on hardwood, and was shipped out to Australia about seven years ago. Nothing unusual happened until a decision was made to demolish the church and build a larger one in another location. Two days later the icon started to ooze oil, to the utter amazement of the clergy.

Several members of the Sydney and Canberra meditation groups have witnessed the phenomenon, and have also noted that the oil has an aroma of roses. Several healings have been said to have taken place, and Archbishop Gibran has asked that if a healing is claimed to have occurred a prior medical record should be produced.

In another Orthodox Church, about two kilometres from St Mary's, an icon of the Madonna is gradually renewing itself. Unlike the icon of the Christ, which was painted in one of the Greek Islands only seven years ago, the icon of the Madonna is about one hundred years old, and was painted in Russia. During the Russian Revolution it was caught in a fire, and totally blackened. Subsequently, it was smuggled out of Russia and taken to China, where there were many refugees from the Revolution. Years later, still in its blackened state, it was brought to Australia, and placed in the Intercession of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church, Cabramatta, where it remains. Father Peter, when he came to the church in 1981, remembers that the icon was still in its blackened state, showing no colour at all. Since then, the icon has been gradually renewing itself. The original colour is coming back, revealing the beauty and form of the Madonna and the Child Jesus.

Kathy Zawadski, Sydney, Australia
( Source: A letter to Share International, December 1994 )

Bethlehem (1996)
Hundreds of eyewitnesses report tears coming from a painting of Jesus, at Christ's traditional birthplace in Bethlehem, Israel. Hundreds of Christian pilgrims, of all denominations, as well as many Jews and Muslims, say they have seen the tears, with some also reporting that the painting of Jesus had winked at them. See lead story at the top of this section.
( Source: Reuters and CNN )

Canada (1996)
Hundreds of people have visited a small Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto,Canada, to see a painting of the Madonna shedding tears. A replica of a 750 AD icon of the Madonna began weeping profusely after a Sunday mass ended, leaving a large puddle below the painting, according to the Reverend Ieronimos Katseas. Visitors soon began pouring into the Mother Portaitissa, Sts. Raphael, Nikolaos and Irene Church as word of the miracle spread. The Reverend Katseas said the church will remain open to anyone wishing to witness what he and others have called "a modern-day miracle."

Katseas said he believes the phenomenon is a holy prophecy. "It means something good or bad will happen soon ... but it (the weeping icon) has powers to heal the sick, too."

He said the tears are being collected and preserved in a bottle. Visitors are allowed to smell the fragrance before they pray. One worshipper said: "This is a message coming down from heaven. It's a message from God."
(Source: Toronto Sun, Canada)

"Visit to the weeping Madonna icon in Toronto" by Connie Hargrave

Cyprus (1997)
In just one month five weeping icons have been reported in churches on the island of Cyprus. The first icon to weep tears was at Kykkos monastery where thousands of people have flocked to witness the miracle. Since then weeping icons have been reported at Mammari and Ayios Georgios churches in Nicosia, and on 24 February 1997 icons in Ayii Trimithias and Peyia churches also started shedding tears.
(Source: Cyprus Mail, Associated Press )

India (1998)
Thousands of visitors have flocked to see a "bleeding Christ" statue in Calcutta, according to Indian police. A lawyer who lives in the compound of a church in the city said she saw blood coming from wounds of the Christ figure on an 18-inch cross at her home. "I went to clean it and noticed it was bleeding from where Christ was nailed and where the crown of thorns was," said Ajanta Rovena Chatterjee. More than 10,000 people have prayed at the icon.
(Source: BBC, UK)

Lebanon (1997
Many citizens flocked to the Notre Dame church in the village of Jibrael (northern Lebanon), when news spread about a weeping icon of the Madonna. It all began on 13 April 1997 when Samer Younes and Nina Mekari, both 13, were praying before an icon of the Madonna. "At a certain moment," said Samer, "I took a glance at the icon and saw water flowing out of its eyes. We got nearer, to wipe the liquid before it could damage the icon, and that's when we found out that the liquid wasn't water but oil." Samer rushed out of the church, shouting "the Virgin is dripping oil on the table".

Next day, the parish priest, Antoine Jammal, took the icon (fixed in a wooden frame) and returned in the afternoon with the icon framed in aluminium and glazed.

"Last Sunday," Father Antoine told the newspaper Al-Anwar, "while we were celebrating the mass (taking place as usual between 6 and 6.30pm), one of the girls singing out prayers to the Holy Virgin suddenly ceased her chant and approached the icon, and saw oil flowing out of the eyes. The believers left their seats and gathered around the icon to be blessed by it. We continued the mass and around 10.30pm the oil was really covering the entire surface of the icon. We slept that night in the church," said Father Antoine. "The 'oil-flowing' phenomenon has now stopped," he added. (Source: Al-Anwar, Lebanon)

Nigeria (1988)

Saint Mary's Catholic primary school, Aking in Akamkpa Local Government area of Cross River State (Nigeria) became a centre of attraction when the image of a man suspected to be Jesus Christ appeared on the wall of the school.

The picture of the man, clad in white garment with a lamb on the right hand side and a staff in his left hand appeared on the wall with light shining around the area, attracting various people to the scene.

Reports said the picture disappeared after 10 minutes but stayed for several hours on the wall on a second appearance. It was also gathered that after the second appearance the head of the man with a long beard appeared for a longer period.

According to the deputy headmaster of the school, Mr Bassey Itaya, the fingerprint of the man is still visible on the wall of elementary 3A classroom. Mr Itaya said that people from all walks of life thronged the school premises to have a glimpse of the mysterious picture on the wall which remained like a television screen throughout the scene.

The councillor representing the ward in Akamkpa Local Government, Mr Lawrence Effa, who was also present, described the incident as the first in the history of the area, saying that he was confused. He wondered what was the significance of the picture on the wall.
Source: The Nigerian Chronicle, Cross River State, Nigeria, 3 October 1988 )

Russia (1994)

A religious icon in a church in Russia's far north has undergone a "miraculous" transformation, with its dark, faded paint becoming bright and fresh again. The icon depicts St Nikolai the Miracle Worker, who protects sailors, fishermen, travellers and miners, according to Russian Orthodox tradition.

Parishioners at Mother of God church in the mining town of Kirovsk said the transformation took place over several days, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

"Its darkened and faded colours began to brighten up. In a few days, it was hard to recognize the old icon,'' the head of the local religious affairs department, Vladimir Kisenko, was quoted as saying.

"It looked quite new, as if it had been freshly painted.'' Kirovsk is about 50 miles above the Arctic Circle near the port of Murmansk.
The report did not say how old the icon is.
(Source: Associated Press)

USA California (1995)

Icons in the possession of the Reverend Moueen Hana, a priest of the Eastern Orthodox church, have been seeping olive oil for the past eight years. Hana, who lives in Northern California, has had as many as 30 icons over the years, and currently has eight. Twice, his hands have dripped olive oil during prayers, he says. The oil has been responsible for at least three healings.

Hana traces the miraculous events to a woman named Myrna Nazoor from Syria. In 1982, Nazoor began exhibiting healing powers and having visions of the Virgin Mary. Each time Nazoor prays, her hands fill with olive oil, according to Reverend Hana. The oil is used for healing purposes. In 1988, one of Nazoor's icons seeped 57 gallons of olive oil. A sample was sent to a German laboratory, who reported the liquid to be 100 per cent olive oil, no impurities. "That means it's a miracle," says Hana. "Only a miracle could make olive oil so pure."

That same year, Nazoor visited Hana. She brought along a photo of her icons, and Hana made 8,000 copies, both by photocopying and by photographing it. "Many of these have exuded oil," Hana says. He believes this phenomenon is a continuation of the Syrian miracle, which representatives of at least three Orthodox churches have confirmed.

Hana says his icons are "a sign from God. He's saying, 'Hey, I really exist.'"
( Source: San Jose Mercury News, USA )

Chicago (1984 -94)
In the Chicago Sun Times, writer on religious matters Tom Sheridan says many miraculous events have occurred in the Chicago area in recent years, although few have received "official" status as miracles.

The Eastern Orthodox Church, which has less stringent "requirements" for the miraculous than the Roman Catholic Church, has officially deemed two occurrences as miracles in the Chicago area: the weeping icon of Mary at St George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero, Illinois, and a small paper copy of that same icon, also said to be weeping this year. The copy was said by the Bishop Demetri Khoury to be an "extension" of the first miracle.

The article listed other phenomena in the Chicago area that have been deemed miracles by those who have seen them:

"A wooden statue of Mary at St John of God Church on the Southwest Side appeared to shed tears in 1984. More than a year later, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said: "We are not able to eliminate the possibility that natural causes might explain the occurrence."

"A painting of Mary began to "weep" at St Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church on 6 December 1986. A church official called it "miraculous", but stopped short of declaring it a miracle.

"A painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus was reported to be weeping in April 1987, at the apartment of a retired tailor on the Northwest Side.

"A crucifix at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, bled in July 1991, according to a retired railroad worker.

"In 1994, visitors to a St Charles religious gift store maintained that statues of the Virgin Mary moved." (Source: Chicago Sun-Times; reported in Share International, September 1997)

Chicago (1994)
In a church near Chicago, Illinois, thousands of people are flocking to witness tears flow from the eyes of a painting of the Virgin Mary. The painting, on an icon screen in the St George Antiochian Orthodox Church in the town of Cicero, depicts Mary with the baby Jesus. Since the spring of this year when the liquid first flowed from Mary's eyes, about 120,000 people have visited the icon. There have been numerous reports of miracles, including healing from the liquid, and a Chicago gang member who reportedly turned his back on gang life after seeing the icon.

The Most Rev. Metropolitan Philip Saliba, head of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, visited the icon, declared it a miracle and gave the painting its name: "Miraculous Lady". Saliba said: "We dare not explain this phenomenon. This is a supernatural invasion of the natural order."
( Source: A Milwaukee newspaper, Wisconsin USA )

Chicago (1997)

Daily, hundreds of believers are flocking to the home of Salim Najjar in North Hirschberg, where an image of the Madonna has appeared in a window and a small picture of an icon is also giving off tears. An Orthodox Christian bishop has officially proclaimed these events to be "an extension of the miracle of Our Lady of Cicero" - an icon at the St George Church in Cicero which three years ago began weeping ( see Chicago story above ).

Salim Najjar said that when the image of the Madonna appeared on his front window, the amazed family, who attend the St George Church, taped a small reproduction of the weeping icon to the window. To their astonishment the small picture began giving off oily tears.

Louisiana, USA (1997)
Crowds are gathering at a church in Kenner, Louisiana, USA, to see a weeping portrait of the Virgin Mary that hangs beside the altar. The painting in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church reportedly began shedding tears last September. Up to 125 people per hour are now permitted by church officials to view the manifestation. Many visitors reportedly have come away from the site convinced they had seen a miracle. Catholic Church officials are taking a cautious approach, saying they may conduct an investigation, but only after media attention has waned. (Source: New Orleans Picayune, USA)

Michigan, USA (1998)

The blessing came, they say, unbidden. Just before Thanksgiving, eighth-grader Simon Lahdu was watching the Pistons* lose on TV when he got up to go to the kitchen. He was stopped when something wet dripped on his face. He looked up.
"Mom! The icon!" he said, pointing to the picture of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child above the kitchen door. "It's leaking oil!" S

So begins a Detroit News article on the weeping icon in the home of Alice Lahdu and her five children. The Lahdus, Iraqi Christians who belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Church, have since that time opened their doors five hours a day, Monday through Friday, to anyone wanting to venerate the "blessed Virgin".

On slow days, two dozen people come to view the icon. On crowded days several times that number gather to witness what some Roman Catholics, in particular, are calling "Our Mother of Perpetual Help".
The Lahdus charge no admission fee nor ask for money. Sarah Ladhu, 23, calls the icon "our cross", but it is a cross they have embraced, believing it vindicates their mother Alice who fled Iraq over 20 years ago when her outspoken Christianity got her into trouble.

How long can she keep her house open? "I don't know. I don't know," she says, adding in English coloured by her native Aramaic (Christ's language, she's quick to note): "Until my next vacation. Or as long as the Blessed Virgin wants."

Weeping icons are common in religious history, says Joe Nickell, editor of the Skeptical Inquirer. But the Lahdu painting, bought 10 years ago at a Cyprus monastery, is unusual, he says, since the oil doesnLt flow from the eyes but from all over the painting's surface. In some cases he has studied, he believes the icon's guardians who daubed at "tears" with cotton were actually adding more oil. But the quantities in this case, reportedly quarts, if not gallons, are beyond anything he has heard of.

The family gives out foil-wrapped cotton balls dipped in the icon's yellowish oil that smells to believers like roses, to cynics more like canola oil. Those anointed with the oil report wondrous healings. Mary Bidawid, a teacher's aide, tells of a friend too shy to let her name be used who was barren for six years, but who conceived after Bidawid rubbed the oil on the woman's bare belly.
The pilgrims come from as far away as Virginia and California and besiege Alice, whom they believe to have been touched by the angels, to pray on their behalf. Alice does her best. She keeps a small stack of handwritten appeals, complete with names and diseases, so that she doesn't forget anyone.

*Detroit's basketball team (Source: The Detroit News, USA)

New York (1994)
The curious and faithful have gathered in the Bensonhurst neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York, to see a holy picture of the Virgin Mary that was weeping oil. The icon was in the house of a member of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox sect. Said one visitor: "If you smell it, it doesn't smell at all. You feel it when you go up to it. You feel like a chill going through your body" The oil continued to drip for days and stopped when the picture was transferred to an Egyptian church nearby. (Source: New York Newsday, USA)

Ohio (1992)
In a tiny church located in the industrial section of a small Ohio town, a painting of the Virgin Mary is seen to weep. At St Jude Orthodox Church in Barberton, Ohio, tears are reported to flow from the Virgin's eyes on the two-by-three-foot painting. St Jude's pastor, Father Roman, like many of the visitors to the church, believes the event in Barberton is a miracle: "a sign of compassion from God." He says of the painting: "If it gives some blessing, we'd like people to come and see it. We want to try to bring people back to church and God." (Source: Knight Ridder Newspapers)


Ohio (1997)
An icon in St Nicholas Orthodox Church in Columbus, Ohio, is weeping tears of oil, which have been the cause of miraculous healings. The icon depicting Jesus, angels and saints on Judgement Day originated in the Soviet Union and was given by Russian Orthodox nuns to Archbishop Michael of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America Archdiocese. When sunlight streamed onto the icon through two basement windows, an image similar to the face on the Turin Shroud appeared on the glass. Then the icon began to shed oily "tears" and a mysterious floral scent began to overpower the chapel. The Church had the icon subjected to scientific examination by a respected research institute that found there was no hoax or manipulation of any kind.

According to medical records at nearby Mount Carmel Hospital, a woman found that the hole in her heart vanished after praying and being anointed with the icon's tears. The Associated Press and the Columbus Dispatch reported that this is only one of many accounts of such healings. Traditionally, in the Orthodox Church, holy icons are considered to be "windows into heaven." The church invites people of all faiths to come and witness this "wonderful and miraculous" icon.
(Source: World Wide Web site of Metropolitan Archbishop Michael of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America Archdiocese)

Texas (1991)
Several parishioners of a Catholic church in Austin, Texas, say they witnessed a framed picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus bleed real blood. As word of the phenomenon spread, crowds of mainly low- and middle-income Hispanic worshippers began waiting in line to see the photo with its thumb-sized, blood-colored stain. The parishioners who originally saw the blood said they received messages from Jesus, with one reporting a similarity to those received by the children in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, from the Virgin Mary. Others reported visions of a war scenario similar to what subsequently took place in the Persian Gulf.

The pastor of the church, Father Fred Underwood, said that at one point he moved the tablecloth-covered table on which the photo rested. Underwood's staff later noticed he had blood on his right hand. But he had no cuts. Underwood said, "I didn't even touch the picture. And there's nothing on the tablecloth." Underwood and most of his parishioners are convinced the bleeding photo is a miracle. Some consider it a sign that people have turned away from Jesus, and a call to stop leading sinful lives.

But if the faithful were convinced of the miracle's authenticity, the Catholic Church was not. Austin Bishop John McCarthy, upon visiting the church, ordered the photo to be removed from public display until Catholic Church authorities had an opportunity to investigate it further. (Source: Austin American-Statesman)

Full Report

"We feel so privileged to have the picture of the Sacred Heart here and Our Lord working so actively in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. You see so many external phenomena happening right before your eyes - visions and conversions and instantaneous healings. It is like watching Jesus heal people and work and walk the earth 2,000 years ago." ( Father Underwood )


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