Saturday, August 27, 2005
Miraculous Crying Madonna of Aleppo.
Elyse Semerdjian, an American professor of Middle East History now visiting Syria, just sent me this note about the miraculous crying Madonna of Chaldean church in Aleppo.
I was dropped off in Aleppo by the taxi driver a few blocks away from Aunt Elyse, but I know this neighborhood, I stop in to say hi to a semi-crippled store owner named Artance....she got polio when she was small and walks with crutches, but owns a nice toy shop and works very hard. While I was in his shop, she told me about a miracle that occurred yesterday.
A woman was in the Chaldean church praying at 2 am. There is a statue to the virgin Mary there outside the church, she prayed in front of it, and as the original story goes, the statue began to move its lips speaking a language no one understood. Then it began to cry. Immediately the police came to secure the place (whatever that means...they certainly did not help crowd control inside the gates of the church). I was very interested in seeing this, so I went to my aunt's house and took her to the church. You would not believe the crowd, hundreds of people....all there to see the miracle. People were recording it on their cell phones and sending it around the city so many seen it without even going to the church! High tech miracles! So, we went, but between the crowd and the hefty women it was rough, like a game of rugby to get through that crowd. I got close, but didn't get close enough to see. We got fed up and left, I was upset that the police were only posing outside the church, but did nothing for crowd control. I swear that a Who Concert in 1979 was probably safer that this crowd of buxom women who were pushing, shoving, pinching to get to the statue yesterday.
There were women along the side, singing songs, and making the zaghlouta...that trilling sound we often make at weddings and festivals . It was pretty exciting. Then I was listening to stories in the crowd....the stories were that the statue was speaking a strange language which was Aramaic, so, it was added that it was Aramaic "the language of Jesus", but my original story did not have that detail. It was interesting to see it evolve.
I am going to try to go tonight, hoping the crowd will die down to see it for myself.