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Our Lady of Cicero

Cicero is home to many active parishes which have had a firm hand in creating the very structure of the neighborhoods. I think the first to get a write up has to be the one with the bona fide miracle bringing faithful on pilgrimages from all corners of the globe to the relatively small town.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church at 1220 S. 60th Court in Cicero is home to “The Miraculous Lady of Cicero, Illinois”. St. George Antiochian purchased the property from a Korean Presbyterian Church in 1985, so this parish is newer by comparison to some of the Roman Catholic and other parishes which still reside in the area from the turn of the century. Some residents who called Cicero home prior to the 80’s may not remember the church, or might still think of it as the Korean Church near Roosevelt. But most will remember the massive news that a painting of Mary started visibly weeping in 1994.

On April 22, 1994, parishioners noticed streaks coming from the eyes of the Icon of the Theotokos. The painting depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Jesus. By the end of that evening in 1994, parishioners witnessed four separate streaks coming from the icons eyes. The weeping of the painting continues to this day.

Whether or not you believe in miracles or weeping icons is not up for debate in this article. What’s clear is that the faithful have gained solace from the image. As many as 1 million pilgrims have come from around the world to visit the painting, which is still on display at St. George to this day. The congregation at St. George is mostly Arab American Christian, though visitors from other faiths often visit to see the miracle. Roman Catholics who populate the area find the icon very attractive, as they share the same devotion to Mary.

Over the years that people have flocked to visit the icon, many have claimed miracles such as the healing of sick relatives. The pastor, Father Dahdal, has stated that he believes it to be a message for Christians to protect the Holy Land. Whatever your belief on the meaning or reason, it’s interesting that it bridges so many different ethnicities with a common faith.

In March of 2015, the Town of Cicero gave the street on which St. George resides an honorary make-over. They placed a sign, designating 60th Court as the Honorary Our Lady of Cicero Court.

 

Images are from the website: http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com

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