Our Lady of Damascus
[Our Lady of Soufanieh]
Mary Kourbet Al-Akhras, known as Myrna, was born in Damascus in 1964.
Myrna spent her childhood and adolescence between Beirut, Lebanon and
Damascus at the rhythm of her family's traveling. And had a quite
normal upbringing together with her two brothers and two sisters.
On a journey to Bulgaria In July 1980, Nicolas visited the Alexander
Nevsky Orthodox church in Sofia, where he bought 10 small replicas of
the icon of the Virgin of Kazan.
On November 22, 1982, Myrna was praying at the bedside of her
sister-in-law Layla, who was seriously ill. An Orthodox and a Moslem
woman were there also.
Suddenly Myrna felt that her body was shivering as if some force was
coming out from inside her. The Moslem woman, Mayada Kowzaly, then
noticed a strange light radiating from Myrna's hands, and a moment
after, an oily substance, which seemed to flow right out of her skin.
Mayada shouted at her to look at her hands. But Myrna was utterly
confused and couldn't comprehend what was happening or what to do.
Mayada then quickly told her to put her hands on her sister-in-law. And
to everyone's amazement and joy, the sick woman instantly felt better
and after a while her illness miraculously disappeared altogether.
In the evening Myrna was picked up by her husband, Nicolas. The women
excitedly told him what had happened, but Nicolas was rather skeptical
and didn't really know what to make of it. The phenomenon occurred
again on November 25 and Myrna's mother was cured in the same manner.
The Miraculous Icon
On November 27, 1982, a three-inch tall picture of the Virgin Mary and
Christ Child began exuding oil. It flowed out from the bottom of the
image and onto the floor next to Nicolas and Myrna's bed. When oil also
began appearing on Myrna's hands, Nicholas decided to call all his
relatives to come and witness what was happening.
Everyone came and they all began praying together. Within the first
hour, four large dishes full of oil extruded from the Icon. Suddenly
all sound began to disappear, like a vacuum, from Myrna's ears and soon
she could hear nothing at all. She then heard a woman's soft voice, as
if it came from inside a seashell, saying: "Do not be frightened. I am
with you. Open the doors and do not deprive anyone from seeing me.
Light a candle for me". Myrna thought she was imagining things and was
afraid to tell anyone about the experience.
Word soon spread and in these first days, thousands visited the Icon
day and night. Among them were non-Christians, Moslems, Orthodox, and
Catholics of every rite. Many sick people were healed by the miraculous
From November 27, 1982 until November 26, 1990, the icon regularly
oozed oil, following the rhythm of the liturgical cycle.
During Holy Week 2001, the icon began exuding oil again. January 24 is
Feast of Our Lady of Tears and Our Lady of Damascus.
The occurrences have been determined by the local Bishops to belong to
ANOTHER IMAGE OF OUR LADY
MYRNA, IMAGE 2
MYRNA, IMAGE 3