Hundreds of people from all over Jordan have been flocking this week (29 January - 3 February) to the ancient Byzantine town of Madaba in Jordan to see a reported miracle on an icon of the Virgin Mary.
GV Town of Madaba, Jordan ZOOM IN TO Greak Orthodox Church
GV PAN crowds arriving on foot and in vehicles
SV People queuing to enter church
SV Adults and children gathered around icon, some kissing it
CU PAN DOWN Icon showing 'miraculous' third hand emerging from bottom left corner of frame
SV Crowd of people looking at icon
SV PAN People filing past icon
SCU Priest blessing people (THREE SHOTS)
SV Congregation singing
CU ZOOM BACK TO SV showing third hand on icon
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Background: Hundreds of people from all over Jordan have been flocking this week (29 January - 3 February) to the ancient Byzantine town of Madaba in Jordan to see a reported miracle on an icon of the Virgin Mary. Several witnesses said the icon recently gave off a 'divine light', then a third hand appeared in the portrait.
SYNOPSIS: Madaba stands on a plain about 34 kilometres (21 miles) south of Amman. The Greek Orthodox Church, where the miracle was reported, is already famous for immense mosaic map inside, which shows Palestine and Jordan in the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. The township has a largely Christian population.
The miracle was reported to have first been seen after Mass on Sunday, (29 January). It was a reprise of a miracle reported to have taken place on the same icon about 10 years ago.
The glowing light, the first manifestation of the miracle, has disappeared. The third hand stretches upwards from the bottom left-hand corner towards the Virgin and infant Jesus. The hand has changed in colour from dark to light blue, and is expected to turn white.
A nun, Sister Nassima, said she saw the same miracle 10 years ago. This time, she said the Virgin Mary had appeared in a dream about a week before the miracle and told her the third hand would materialise on the icon.
A priest blesses visitors who have been drown to the church to study the icon for themselves. An attendant at the church estimated that more than 1,000 people had flocked there in the first three days since the miracle was noted. Another thousand turned up on a single day-Friday (3 February), which is a rest day in Jordan. This is a heavy traffic for a town of less than 20,000 residents, which is largely devoted to growing wheat and barley in a corner of Jordan's fertile southwest plain.
Local residents believe the miracle is already working. Some say that six ailing people have already been cured by the nun's prayers and application of an oil ointment.