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Virgin Mary Statue Untouched by Turkish Earthquake That Wrecked Cathedral

A statue of the Holy Virgin Mary and baby Jesus Christ was untouched by an earthquake in Turkey that demolished the surrounding Annunciation Catholic Cathedral of Alexandretta.

Father Antuan Ilgit, a Turkish priest from the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia who served at the cathedral, first broke the news of its destruction on Sunday internationally before following up with a heartwarming silver lining.

“The collapse of the cathedral is impressive. Just yesterday, we celebrated the Sunday Mass there!” Ilgit said Tuesday. “But now the living stones that need attention, and with them, with the help of God, we can rebuild everything.”

“We are all in the refectory, which is more accessible, where we also celebrated Mass! I brought the image of the Madonna from the cathedral; this image will be our strength, and with her, we will face everything,” he added.

Ilgit then shared a picture of the statue, which is unharmed and surrounded by rubble of the destroyed cathedral. The Catholic News Agency later called attention to the remarkable display.

The Annunciation Cathedral’s collapse in the early hours of Monday (ET) and late Sunday local Turkish time came after a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria.

Another 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck central Turkey several hours later, with the estimated fatalities of both expected to be upward of 7,900 dead and more than 38,500 injured as of late Tuesday.

The Turkish government has declared a level 4 state of emergency and has requested international assistance to recover from the tragedy, The Washington Post reported.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, archbishop of Bologna and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, has pledged on behalf of the Italian bishop organization 500,000 euros to help aid in the recovery of Syria and Turkey.


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