CHICAGO - Already faced with the loss of their building, parishioners at a Northwest Side church may soon have to face another loss.
Hundreds of faithful have been flocking to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church this week to witness what many are calling "a miracle."
But now, there are new fears that the congregation may lose the so-called "weeping icon" of the Virgin Mary.
On Tuesday, a judge approved the sale of the church, which means the congregation will have to find somewhere else to worship by late November. But on Wednesday, there was word that the so-called weeping icon of the Virgin Mary may be removed well before then.
Since images surfaced early this week of the icon of the Virgin Mary appearing to weep at the church, thousands of believers have made the pilgrimage to see it for themselves.
“It’s a miracle. I felt sadness. I felt a lot of sadness because I feel like this is happening for a reason,” parishioner Michalarias said.
Some believe the reason for her tears is the loss of the building she has occupied since the early 1960's. After a judge has approved the sale of the bankrupt church, parishioners now have just 75 days to find somewhere else to worship.
“Very somber mood. There’s always hope that something’s going to come through. It ain’t over until everyone’s out of here,” said parishioner Tom Tasatas.
Adding to that somber mood, the Metropolis of Chicago, which governs individual parishes, announced it will be taking guardianship of the icon, although it hasn't specified when.
“I think the board has made a decision. They have been talking to them. I personally think it’s Holy Trinity’s property and they should hold on to it,” Tasatas said. “But I guess that’s above my pay grade…but I really think it should stay here with the church.”
In a statement, the Metropolis told FOX 32 it "will be taking temporary guardianship of the icon, will return it to the parish after a period of prayer and discernment and, if a miracle is revealed, the Metropolis will announce it."
A spokesperson for the Metropolis added that it is trying to be respectful of what parishioners are going through and that they are in no hurry to assume guardianship of the icon.