A mass before an icon of the Virgin "crying" tears of oil
About sixty people attended Sunday Mass in a makeshift flag of the northern suburbs of Paris, before an Orthodox icon of the Virgin Mary, whose owners swear that "crying" tears of oil.
Massed in the living room of a house in Garges-les-Gonesse (Val-d'Oise), devotees pray by listening to the sermon and songs of a religious representative of the Church of Antioch.
After the ceremony, at which an AFP correspondent witnessed, believers are lining up to touch and kiss the icon of the Virgin hanging in the hallway of the flag.
Others photographed the icon with their phones, then sign. "This is the second time I see it. The first, I was shocked," said Alain Salas, 69, came from the nearby town of Villiers-le-Bel.
Since mid-February, the curious or the devout come to the dropper at the door of the pavilion. On Sunday, a family even made the trip by car from Cologne, Germany, hoping to witness a miracle. But nothing happened: the small wooden icon of the Virgin, hung near a window, does not ooze. On the surface, there are however, traces of oil.
It is yet unclear whether this is a miracle or a hoax.
The owner, Esat Altindagoglu, is categorical: "It started the Friday before Lent, February 12. And until yesterday (Saturday), the Virgin would not stop crying," ensures there.
A sales agent of 46 years, Turkish and Lebanese origin, said a Lebanese priest had offered the icon to his wife for her birthday in 2006.
Wife, very religious, swear it was the first to open the oil flowing. "It was one morning. I prayed before and I noticed she was crying. I thought that something was not right," says Sevim Altindagoglu, eyes wet with emotion.
"It's a small miracle, for sure and certain. It is a message sent by the Virgin and her son, her husband provides.
Sitting on the sofa, visibly tired, he explains Altindagoglu have hesitated before announcing his entourage. "We waited three days. As many people do not, we would not be taken for fools", is justified there.
Since then, visitors flocked to her salon filled with Orthodox icons.
He said hosting a daily fifty people from the provinces, or even Germany or Belgium. "Yesterday, a woman of Toulouse called me to tell me she would go through the day," said Altindagoglu.
Visitors often bring pieces of cotton they soak the oil spread on the icon, hoping to effect thaumaturgical.
"A woman came in mid-February by explaining that she could not have children. It took a little oil on a handkerchief she put on her belly. Two days ago She reminded me to tell me that according to her doctor, she can now have a child, "says Ms. Altindagoglu.