April 10, 2017

Did an "Open Eye" Miracle Recently Take Place at the Holy Sepulchre?

It has been widely reported that on Wednesday, 29 March 2017, an "open eye" miracle took place at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where the icon of Christ crucified on Golgotha is said to have "opened its eyes for the first time."

This miracle was reported the next day on March 30th by Archimandrite Malateus Basal, who wrote:

“Wondrous art Thou, O Lord, in Thy saints. The cross of Golgotha opened its eyes. This is the first time this has happened. The Crucified Lord on Golgotha always has His eyes closed, but today for some reason, He miraculously opened His eyes.”

Then on April 1st Fr. Theodore Daoud on his Facebook page, said among other things:

"The miraculous event occurred this past Wednesday before the eyes of many priests and visitors, including my friend Archimandrite Malateus Basal whose friend took the pictures, who assured me of what happened in detail, which is that the eyes of the crucified Christ on the icon—which are always closed—remained open throughout the day."

Below are the before and after photos posted along with his message:

What are we to make of this?

1. According to Fr. Theodore Daoud, there were many witnesses of this event throughout the day, but we have only one very grainy, shadowy and obstructed photograph, and no one else talking about it. Archimandrite Malateus Basal gives us no real background story or even the context in any satisfying way. With all the witnesses, it would be expected for there to be numerous reports and a number of photographs/videos from different angles for a miracle of such magnitude.

2. Though I don't know Fr. Theodore Daoud, I did read online that he used to be the priest at the Antiochian Orthodox parish of St. Mary Church, Hunt Valley, MD, but was laicized by his bishop last summer. This diminishes his credibility somewhat.

3. A very similar miracle claim was made about a crucifix in Mexico last year, though it appears the video evidence was tampered with. Prior to this there have been similar cases of Catholic statues of Jesus and other Saints whose eyes have supposedly opened, but they usually prove to be hoaxes. I know of no credible "open eye" miracle.

4. It has not been reported by anyone out of the Holy Sepulchre or the Patriarchate of Jerusalem... thus far.

With these facts in mind, I reserve for the time being in calling this a miracle. Based on the claims of its duration and witnesses, much more evidence would be required to give this credibility.