A Sign from God in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Author: Mark Frangos
Date Published: 03/10/2004

NEW YORK. – To the uninitiated, the Holy Trinity Church of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is just one of the many Greek Orthodox churches that dot the Northeast corridor. All that changed last October when a strange pattern began forming on the church’s ceiling. Few people paid much attention to the strange shape at first, as it looked like a simple water stain on the church’s concrete-colored ceiling.

Over time, however, the damp blotch began to grow and the patterns became more pronounced. Many parishioners and even Holy Trinity’s priest finally took notice when the blotch appeared to be morphing into what many describe as the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus.

“A few months ago we had seen something forming on the ceiling and parishioners then started calling me,” said Fr. Demetrios A. Recachinas. “My eye kept falling on that spot but I didn’t give it much concern till a council member called me and we went and took a closer look.”

Soon the “Mary and Jesus” image was joined by another “stain,” which some say resembles an angel.

“I look at it with respect and awe,” said Fr. Recachinas. “Hundreds of Greeks and non-Greeks have visited the church to pray.”

The Archdiocese was informed about the shape in December, and Bishop Savas of Troas made the trip to Bridgeport for a first-hand look. He told Fr. Recachinas that this would help reaffirm every Christian’s faith.

Fr. Recachinas was hesitant to credit Devine intervention for the “sign” but he was very confident about its effect.

“I can’t say that this is a miracle yet,” he said. “But this image is definitely the image of the Virgin Mary. That alone helps the faithful person. In these times people are thirsty for something that will appear to help their faith.”

Sporadically, visitors would come to see the image. But just a few days before Christmas, major media outlets such as CNN, ABC, and CBS broke the story, which inspired hundreds of people outside the community to make the pilgrimage to the church. Christians of all denominations starting filing in, some with tears in their eyes, to pray in Holy Trinity church.

“Many large families and groups have come from New York and other areas, and they come back days later with other friends and acquaintances,” said Fr. Recachinas. One moment, however, truly stood out for the priest.

“One Sunday, when I was passing out the ‘antidoro,’ there were many young people in line,” said Fr. Recachinas. “As they waited, they kept looking up and one of them was explaining to the others about the miracle of the Virgin Mary. I saw the looks on their faces and the great respect they had.”

Fr. Recachinas also noted that the church was about to be painted, and color samples lined parts of the church’s walls. The “sign” has put those plans on hold, at least for now.

“Many people are saying that part of the church should be left alone, while others think that an icon of the Virgin Mary should be painted there,” he said.

Fr. Recachinas now states that during the Divine Liturgy, he also prays audibly in the direction of the image.

Over 1,500 people are served by Holy Trinity, which celebrated its 90th year in 2003. The current church building was completed in 1966 and consecrated in 1979. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited in 1998.

“We are a parish of love and faith,” said Fr. Recachinas. “Now our faith has been reinforced.”