Strange things happen to Nohad Al-Shami. In 1993, her painting of St Charbel began oozing oil. Around the same time the long-dead saint appeared in her dreams.
“I have come to operate on you,” he said. And so he did, curing her of hemiplegia (paralysis of half of the body), she claims. At the mountain-top monastery of Annaya, in north-west Lebanon, a mass is said every month to mark the miracle—and to pray for new ones.
“The blind see and the disabled walk,” says Mrs Shami.
Miracles are on the rise in Lebanon. So says Father Louis Matar, the Maronite priest who keeps a tally of such things. St Charbel (pictured), the closest thing Lebanon has to a patron saint, gets most of the credit. He has notched up 26,000 miracles since his death in 1898, when villagers said light beamed out of his tomb. After slowing down at the start of this century, he has regained his form. “We’re seeing more miracles in these past two years than we have in the past decade,” says Father Matar.
Polls show religious faith is declining in Lebanon, especially among the young. But many people still wear amulets to ward off evil spirits and visit faith-healers when they are sick.
Read the full article at The Economist: https://goo.gl/fEMTXT