An icon of St. John the Baptist, part of the iconostasis of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Homer Glen, Illinois, is said to be miraculously producing healing, fragrant oil.
Sotirious “Sam” Dimitriou, the pastor of the church, told CBS Chicago that he understands the phenomenon as “a blessing from God. There’s a sweet fragrance that’s coming from this oil.”
The oil was first noticed almost a year ago, in July of 2015, by two parishioners and an altar boy. The small congregation (which amounts to barely 200 families in the area) decided it would be better to keep it quiet. Ever since a local news report decided to spread the news, however, the church has been flooded with visitors and pilgrims, some of them coming from Greece, as explained by Manya Brachear Pashman, for the Chicago Tribune.
The authorities of the church now catch the oil with cotton balls placed at the bottom of the icon, which then are handed out to pilgrims. They estimate they’ve given away around 5,000 of them so far.
“Whether it’s an act of God or a chemical reaction, no one really knows”, writes Brachear, but the fact is that “few in the Greek Orthodox community care”: “We don’t necessarily make official pronouncements on these things,” said Bishop Demetrios, the auxiliary bishop of Mokissos, of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. “We let the faithful believe it if they wish… If it brings you closer to God that’s wonderful. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”