Judge approves $2.5M sale of Holy Trinity church amid ‘weeping’ Virgin Mary claims

CHICAGO — A federal bankruptcy judge approved a $2.5 million sale of the historic Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Tuesday morning.

The judge's decision came as some worshippers said they witnessed an icon of the Virgin Mary "weeping" at the church. It was a custodian who first brought attention to what the faithful say is the Virgin Mary holding an infant Jesus with tears flowing down her cheek.

Parishioners held out hope that the Belmont Central church would be saved from foreclosure after what they say is a miracle.

Tuesday's bankruptcy hearing was heartbreaking for parishioners, and the Rev. Nicholas Jonas was visibly upset.

Universal Life Church will become the new owner, and take over the school lease. Under the terms of the sale, Holy Trinity will have 75 days to move out.

An attorney for Universal Life Church had no comment on the sale.

The Greek Metropolis of Chicago said it will take possession of the icon. They released a statement that said in part:

"...After a period of prayer and examination, the Metropolis of Chicago will return the icon to the Holy Trinity parish and will issue an official statement on the nature of what was observed.

The Metropolis of Chicago asks the faithful to remain vigilant and also reminds them that while it is indeed possible to experience the divine through temporal objects, our faith rests not on “signs,” but on Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1: 20-25)."

A special mass was held Tuesday. As parishioners and visitors left, they were offered cotton swabs that came from wiping of the painting and then soaked in oil to take home.

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