(Chicago, IL, United States) – Thousands of people seeking miracles are visiting a Chicago-area Greek Orthodox Church to get samples of an oil they believe has healing properties because it’s said to be seeping from an icon of St. John the Baptist.
Neither the priest nor the congregants at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Homer Glen are able to explain how the icon of St. John the Baptist is exuding drops of fragrant oil. Equally as inexplicable is the fact that many of the parishioners claim to have been healed of ailments as a result of their contact with the liquid.
Parish priest the Rev. Sotirios Dimitriou, who told local news station WGN-TV that he’s given out 5,000 samples of the oil to parishoners and visitors, has called the phenomenon an act of God.
“The first thing out of my mouth was ‘What do I do?'” he said, according to a report this week from the Detroit Free Press. “It’s so powerful to see such an act of God before your eyes.”
The fragrant oil, which first began to seep from the icon last July, is emitted from the hands, wings, halo and beard of the religious symbol, according to Dimitriou. The priest collects the oil weekly after it settles into a cotton reservoir situated at the foot of the icon. Dimitriou then siphons-off the oil into a pitcher. From there, he saturates cotton balls which he places into plastic bags to give to parishioners.
Greek Orthodox church officials haven’t made any declarations about this reported phenomena or its alleged healing properties, leaving the decision making up to the hearts of believers.
“We don’t necessarily make official pronouncements on these things,” said Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. “We let the faithful believe it if they wish. If it brings you closer to God, that’s wonderful. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
News of the happenings at the church doesn’t seem to need any promotion as stories of those who have experienced healing have been spreading by word of mouth. One individual claimed to be cancer-free after coming in contact with the oil, while another said that his blocked artery suddenly cleared. Even Dimitriou himself said he’s experienced healing. The priest, who used to experience fainting spells as a result of nerve damage, said he hasn’t been hospitalized once since the icon first began to emit oil.
Surprisingly enough, oil exuding from religious icons isn’t limited to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. In 2012, another Greek Orthodox assembly, this one in Pennsylvania, reported a similar phenomena.
St. George’s Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Taylor possessed two icons of the Blessed Mother of the Theotokos which they believed seeped myrrh, reported The Scranton Times-Tribune. St. George’s icons reportedly came in contact with the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God from Hawaii, which traveled to local Orthodox churches in the fall, and was also said exuded myrrh.
There is nothing unusual about the unexplained myrrh, said Father Sergius, the abbot at the Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk in South Canaan Township, Pennsylvania. “Miraculous icons are a normal part of orthodoxy.”