A statue of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, survived the collapse of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Iskenderun, Turkey, following a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake in February.
Jesuit priest, Fr. Antuan Ilgit, took to Facebook after the image of the Virgin Mary stood strong after the collapse of the cathedral.
“I brought the image of the Virgin Mary from the Cathedral, this image will be our strength and with her we will face everything,” Fr. Ilgit posted on Feb. 6, the same day the quake hit.
“Let us continue to trust in God and His Holy Providence,” he also wrote. “It’s raining, it’s cold and the shakes are so strong. We feel your closeness and we care.”
The quake claimed the lives of people across both Turkey and Syria.
“We also carry our beloved Syria in our hearts,” Fr. Ilgit added in his post, which has been translated from Italian to English.
“May the Lord keep us in His love and be favorable to us! A big hug to everyone.”
Facebook users offered love and prayers to Fr. Ilgit, his congregation, the Lord, and Mother Mary.
Speaking to Fox News, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, said the statue of Mary is not the only “miracle” that came from the earthquake in Turkey.
“The protection of the statue of Mary is a spiritual testimony to the shared affection of Christians and Muslims for the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said Fr. Kirby.
“There are very few religious symbols that are common to Christians and Muslims, but Mary is one of them,” he said.
Fr. Kirby continued, “She is revered in both traditions and the presence of her statue serves as an inspiring symbol of hope to all Christian and Muslim believers.”
“In the Christian tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of hope,” Kirby added.
“The survival of her statue, drawn from the chaos of the earthquake, is a call to faith and confidence in God’s presence and the rebuilding of life after loss and destruction,” he said of the Virgin Mary effigy following disaster in Turkey.
Fr. Ilgit spoke with The Society of Jesus last month, revealing how he leaned on communion and prayers in the earthquake and “never felt alone.”