OBSERVER - January 26th 2004
In the past two weeks, two of the frescos from the "Saint Nicholas" Church in Sulina covered themselves with an oily substance that seems to be chrism.
by ALEXANDRU NASTASE
MIRACLE. The Aura of Saint John, painted on the walls of the Church "Saint Nicholas" in Sulina, covered itself with an oily substance.
Sulina is a hard place to reach in winter. There are few possibilities to get there in the summertime as well. Even if it hasnât snowed yet and there is no frost, the waters one has to cross in order to reach the only town in the Danube Delta are a great obstacle. Itâs cold in the Delta, but Sulina feels even colder: here, the people got to steal even from the church. The native people say that there is only one church in the entire town that didnât receive any visits from the thieves.
THE SAILORSâ PROTECTOR.
The "Saint Nicolae" Church is on the 2nd Street. In Sulina, like in New York, the streets donât have names, but numbers. 2nd Street is parallel to a cliff. Another strange thing: the natives say that all the churches in here have Saint Nicholas as patron, since he is the sailorsâ protector. In order to differentiate them, they put numbers to all the churches, too: the Church "Saint Nicholas" 1, a little bit further than the Church "Saint Nicholas" 2 and so on. The Church "Saint Nicholas" 2 has been the buzz in the last two weeks. One morning, a woman who takes care of the church noticed that one of the sacred pictures on the walls seemed to cry. "I was tiding up in the church and I suddenly looked at the cupola. At its basis, there are the drawings of the Apostles: John, Lucas, Mathew and Jacob. I noticed that the sacred picture of Saint John is humid and that there was a substance leaking from somewhere around his heart. I didnât take it into consideration at first, but when I saw it hadnât stopped I informed the priest", is the story in Elena Mocanuâs words, the woman who takes care of the church. Priest Vasile Olaru decided to take a closer look at the sacred picture himself. He knew an infiltration was impossible: it hasnât rained in the past months in Sulina, and the churchâs roof has been completely restored recently.
The priest saw it was an oily liquid, similar to the chrism, which doesnât dry up, and its trace cleaned all the surface of the picture. In addition, in the past week the whole diadem of the Saint got covered with this substance, and the sacred picture of Saint Mathew suffered the same change in the last days. Priest Olaru has already left for Constanta, to ask for an advice and for help to High All-Holly Teodosie Tomitataul, the Archbishop of Tomis. The meeting took place yesterday night. The natives say that there should be some experts coming in Sulina in order to analyze the substance and say whether it is chrism.
The parishioners say this is a Godly miracle for sure. "The poor church is crying because of the stealing. A lot of objects disappeared from here: a cross with the height of 30 centimeters made of massive silver, several precious sacred pictures made of wood, and books of the church", is the opinion of one of the oldest parishioners, Maria Neranzi.
FORMER GREEK CHURCH
The Church "Saint Nicholas" 2 has been built in 1866, and, ever since, it has only been involved in some consolidation and restoring work, but never in a radical restoration. There are several valuable sacred pictures and religious objects in the church, and they have been offered as a donation of the Greek sailors passing through Sulina each year. The sacred picture showing Holly Mary and Baby - Jesus, with their faces covered with pitch, is unique in the country. The church has been donated to the Romanians a short while after the World War II.
Translation : SORIN BALAN