Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago, where some faithful say “tears” are streaming down the face of an icon of the Virgin Mary, has been sold for $2.5 million, it was announced on Tuesday.
The congregation of Holy Trinity, one of the oldest Greek Orthodox churches in the nation, will now have only 75 days to vacate the building, whose sale to the Universal Life Church has been approved by a US Bankruptcy Court judge.
Holy Trinity parishioners have fought valiantly to save their church for the last few years since learning it was saddled with $8 million of debt.
Church officials said a bank rejected a loan request after the church was unable to secure $1.6 million in needed financial pledges.
Holy Trinity avoided foreclosure late last year after an anonymous donation. But an issue with the money arose, forcing the church to be put on the market again.
Officials say Holy Trinity is the second-oldest Greek Orthodox Church in the United States.
Weeping Virgin Mary icon
Some of the faithful had gathered at the church, vowing to protect a Virgin Mary icon which is alleged to have wept in the days before Holy Trinity was sold.
The faithful at Holy Trinity said their weeping Virgin Mary is a sign from God.
“I was inside the church and saw the icon cry,” Demetrius Harisis, who has been a member of Holy Trinity since 1967, told ABC News.
Some said the miracle is a clear sign from the heavens, and it served as a source of hope as parishioners struggled to save their church.
“I grew up here, and it’s very sad what’s happening. It’s a shame,” Holy Trinity parishioner Mina Koronakos told the American television network.
Church officials said a custodian first noticed the weeping icon, with tears streaming down her face, on Sunday.