A statue of the Virgin Mary was untouched after the collapse of a Catholic cathedral in an earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, inflicting heavy damage with a death toll already exceeding 6,000 and leaving thousands more injured.
The image of Our Lady was unharmed in the quake that brought down Annunciation Cathedral in the city of Alexandretta in the Turkish province of Hatay. The cathedral was the main church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia.
On Facebook, Father Antuan Ilgit, a Turkish Jesuit priest, asked the faithful to “pray for us and for the people. It was a powerful earthquake. We don’t have definite news yet. However, our cathedral is no more!”
“Thank God we, our sisters, and our collaborators are well and we’re trying to take in those who come to stay with us,” he added.
In a subsequent Facebook post, the priest commented that “the collapse of the cathedral is shocking; just yesterday I celebrated Mass there, on Sunday!”
“Now the living stones that need attention are here, and with the help of God we will be able to rebuild everything,” Ilgit said.