A Chicago bankruptcy court judge approved the sale of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church for $US2.5 million on Tuesday. Following the approval of its sale to the Universal Life Church, the parish of Holy Trinity will now have 75 days to relocate items from within the church, however the move coincides with renewed interest in the church following Father Nick Jonas’ facebook post about ‘oil’ he noted rushing down the face of the Virgin Mary icon at the church.
These ‘tears’ have drawn media attention from around the area. They also coincide with huge debt being faced by the second-oldest Greek Orthodox in the country and the oldest in the Northwest. It reached this point after a bank rejected a loan request after the church was unable to secure the $1.6 million in pledges that were required to save it. It had averted foreclosure late last year following a generous anonymous donation however that was not enough to prevent a sale following the more financial problems in 2019.
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The church released a statement following the legal proceedings: “Earlier today, the United States Bankruptcy Court approved the Parish’s motions to approve the sale of the Chicago property and the Deerfield property. The decision comes after a faith-based community stepped forward to acquire the Chicago property, and a developer stepped forward to acquire the Deerfield property, allowing Holy Trinity to reach an understanding with its lender to avoid an auction of the properties. An earlier effort by the Parish to sell the Chicago property to a foundation under a contract dated 11 December, 2018 failed because the foreclosing lender did not approve the 75 per cent financing condition of the offer. While the Parish’s ongoing foreclosure and bankruptcy has been difficult for parishioners and the Metropolis as a whole, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is not closing. The Parish is selling real estate assets to settle debts with a lender.”
The ‘weeping’ icon
Prior to the hearing, parishioners noted a miraculous phenomenon that is sometimes seen within the Greek Orthodox faith. Worshippers saw ‘tears’ pouring from the eyes of the Virgin Mary depicted in an icon within the church.
The oil-like substance streaming from the icon is typically believed to have healing properties.
Since its appearance there have been hundreds visiting the church, travelling from far and wide.
“There’s something she’s trying to tell us,” said Father Nick Jonas, adding that he hoped something good would come of this.
He first posted about the ‘weeping’ icon on Sunday, 8 September, by taking to Facebook. “As I was sitting in my office today Athena ran in to tell me to come out. Our Icon of the Panagia is weeping! We cannot leave this Sacred Space!!!!” he wrote.