(Homer Glen, Illinois, United States) – People are flocking to the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Homer Glen, Illinois to catch a glimpse of the icon of Saint John the Baptist, which, witnesses say, is emitting a fragrant oil. Referred to by some as a “miracle” and others as simply a religious phenomenon, pilgrims have decided to see the icon for themselves. Many people believe that the fact that this icon is dripping oil means that it is a sign that God is present among us. Although news outlets throughout the world have recently started reporting about this phenomenon, it has actually been going on for quite some time. Father Sotiros Dimitriou has said that the icon first started dripping with oil in mid July of 2015, but that the oil has recently become more abundant. The church has been in possession of the icon for about the past few years. Tt is currently placed on top of the iconostasis, which is the name for the icon screen that separates the altar, or where the priest performs his duties, and from the nave, or the area where the people sit.
There have been other weeping icons that have been reported in the Chicago area but according to Father Sotirios, the phenomenon at their church differs from these instances. The fact that the icon depicts Saint John sets it apart and so does the fact that the oil is seeping out from several places throughout the icon including the halo, wings, hands, and beard. The only part where there is no oil coming out of it is in the eyes. Father Sotirios believes this to be a sign of joy. If the eyes were leaking oil, it could be looked at as expressing sadness. Other people believe that the oil is a blessing from God.
Every week, Father Sotirios collects the oil and then distributes it amongst the parishioners and any pilgrims that flock to the church to observe it. Since the icon started to week oil, around 5000 people have visited the church to take a look. It is believed that the oil that is coming out of the icon is myrrh, and some claim that the oil has the ability to heal. Someone reported that the oil contributed to his artery becoming unblocked, while another individual reported becoming cancer free. The painter of the icon, Peter Mihalopoulos, also experienced a quick reovery from a hip replacement, an act that he believes came from God. Despite all of these stories, however, the mystery has yet to be authenticated by the Orthodox Church.