Greek Voters Literally Make the Baby Jesus Cry

Okay, so it’s not the baby Jesus. It’s not even the adult Jesus. Rather, it’s a statue of Jesus that a Greek Orthodox church claims has been weeping since Alexis Tsipras was elected to lead that nation by voters a few weeks ago. Of course, people are flocking to the church to worship.

A religious icon of Jesus Christ in a small village in Greece has been “weeping” ever since the anti-austerity party Syriza won the Greek elections at the end of January, witnesses say.

According to Corinth TV and the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, the icon, which dates from early last century and is housed in the church of St. Nicholas in the village of Asprokampos, Corinthia, has been secreting an oily liquid since the left-wing party leader Alexis Tsipras, stormed to power on January 26th.

On Monday, the Bishop of Corinth visited the church and crowds have been flocking there all week, local media reports. Some villagers have taken to guarding the church to ensure that nobody removes the icon or tries to take a sample of the ‘tears’. A senior church official has expressed his desire for scientists and Greek Orthodox superiors to investigate the occurrence.

Many Greeks have dismissed the news story as little more than a joke. The Greek investigative journalist, Yiannis Baboulias, told Newsweek, “The weeping icon is an urban legend that resurfaces every now and again in Greece. Stories like this happen all the time, and this one is really funny.”

Coincidentally, I have a statue of Charles Darwin that has been giggling ever since the state of Kentucky pulled its tax credits from Ken Ham’s theme park celebrating the worst mass genocide in world history. I think it’s a miracle. If you want to come see it, admission is $10.

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  • dingojack

    And I’ve got a bust of Karl Marx* who, after the Greek Election, started endlessly reciting very rude limericks in Attic Greek…

    it was cute at first — but now it’s just annoying. (True** Story).

    Dingo

    ———

    * From an ex who doesn’t like me much

    ** for values of ‘true’ < < than one milli-Billo (mB)

  • Deacon Duncan

    I got to see an actual “weeping icon” at an Orthodox monastery once. You could see: it was old and dark and the varnish on it was a network of so many tiny cracks that it almost looked like someone had stretched a nylon stocking over the front of it. And there was some kind of oily fluid oozing out of the cracks. You could see it.

    After we all paid our respects and praised God (I was still a Christian at the time), we continued our tour of the monastery, after which we were free to linger for meditation and prayer and other such blessings, and I happened to walk past the door to the icon room. There, in the dimly-lit room, a nun was busy “cleaning” the famous icon. She took some olive oil, soaked a cotton ball in it, and rubbed it on the icon. Then a fresh cotton ball, some more olive oil, more rubbing, another cotton ball, more olive oil, more rubbing… and so on. By the time she finished, the wood was so saturated it’s no wonder the thing was “weeping.”

    When I asked about it, I was informed that the purpose of the olive oil was to help pick up the “holy tears” oozing from the wood, so that they would soak into the cotton balls more easily. Did I mention that they were selling the cotton balls, imbued with the supernatural tears of the weeping icon? Buy two, heal yourself and a friend. Act now and we’ll even throw in these 7 actual relics from the Holy Land. NOW how much would you pay?

    That was fairly near the end of my career as an honest-to-God believer. Yet another “miracle” that turned out to be a plain old ordinary fraud, and not a particularly clever one at that. What’s sad is that I’m convinced those nuns honestly believed the story they told me, and simply blinded themselves to the connection between oily wood and the olive oil they just finished dousing it with.

  • John Pieret

    villagers have taken to guarding the church to ensure that nobody removes the icon or tries to take a sample of the ‘tears’

    A more cynical person than I might almost think that they didn’t believe it and just thought all the “pilgrims” were good for local business.

  • raven

    This is just sad. Greece is definitely suffering a lot right now.

    Alexis Tsipras, New Greek Prime Minister, Is an Atheist

    www. patheos.com/…/friendlyatheist/…/alexis-tsipras-new-greek-p…

    Jan 27, 2015 – He said he promised to uphold the Constitution and look out for the welfare of Greeks. Tsipras is an atheist, so he refused a religious oath …

    The savior they elected in a Hail Mary election is a former commie and an…atheist.

  • raven

    NYT:

    The economy has shrunk by a quarter in the last five years, and unemployment is above 25 percent. New data released on Tuesday showed Greece lapsing even further into deflation, a debilitating downward price spiral.

    Close to 1/3 of Greece’s population now lives in poverty as living standards fall sharply.

    1. The Greeks have had enough of austerity imposed by Germany and the EU. To now elect a leftist former commie and atheist.

    2. That being said, I’ve never been too clear on what Syriza and Tsipras can actually do to turn things around.

    It’s all well and good when the peasants storm the castle, but after that, then what?

    3. As Krugman asks, “is the Euro a currency or an experiment?” Far as I can see, it isn’t a total disaster but probably wasn’t a good idea. The UK decided not to opt in and I bet they are glad they still have the Pound.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Oh, yeah? Well come visit my church! We’ve got all that and a miraculous Water Weasel for the kids! Visit now! It’s pious for the whole family!

  • whheydt

    From the article up today on the BBC, apparently the first item on the list of reforms to get the 4 month bailout extension is an effort to collect taxes that are owed. Part of the Greek governments problem all along has been that a lot of people don’t actually pay the taxes they are supposed to.

  • matty1

    @7 So maybe Jesus is crying with relief that someone finally listened to ‘render unto Caesar’?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    Raven #5:

    2. That being said, I’ve never been too clear on what Syriza and Tsipras can actually do to turn things around.

    In the words of Yanis Varoufakis, a few days before he became the minister of finance of Greece:

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/we_are_going_to_destroy_the_greek_oligarchy_system_20150125

  • busterggi

    A weeping statue – classic! Someone call joe Nickell.

  • laurentweppe

    I’m pretty sure that Wolfgang Schäuble is much more likely to make Jesus cry than Tsipras.

    ***

    In the words of Yanis Varoufakis, a few days before he became the minister of finance of Greece:

    I recommend that […] you do not read [Syriza] manifesto. It is not worth the paper it is written on. While replete with good intentions, it is short on detail, full of promises that cannot, and will not be fulfilled

  • ehmm

    @11 laurentweppe

    That essay was written in 2012. I think it’s fair to say the situation has evolved since then.

    Frankly, I’d be far more concerned by the 17 seats in the Greek parliament occupied by neo-nazis than I would be about a weeping icon.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Look for priest with oily pockets.

  • thebookofdave

    @busterggi #10

    Someone call joe Nickell.

    I was thinking of someone with more recent experience, who is already packed for an extended tour abroad, like Sanal Edamaruku.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    Laurent #11:

    I’m pretty sure that Wolfgang Schäuble is much more likely to make Jesus cry than Tsipras.

    Oh yes. I am not sure exactly what his problem is but he has been a resentful, destructive force in the negotiations so far, for sure. Even his head of government Angela Merkel did seem slightly more willing to accomodate the Greeks and their concerns.

    I recommend that […] you do not read [Syriza] manifesto. It is not worth the paper it is written on. While replete with good intentions, it is short on detail, full of promises that cannot, and will not be fulfilled

    That bit you cite is from an article written in 2012, as already mentioned. In the same article, Varoufakis goes on to explain why the manifesto is not a big deal and why regardless of the manifesto it is still “safe to take a gamble on Syriza”:

    First, because it is probably the only party that ‘gets it’; that understands (a) that Greece must stay in the Eurozone (despite the latter’s obvious failures), and (b) that the Eurozone will not survive unless someone forces Europe to put an immediate halt on this “march off the cliff of competitive austerity”.

    Secondly, because the small team of political economists that will negotiate on Syriza’s behalf are good. moderate people with a decent grasp of the grim reality that Greece and the Eurozone are facing (and, no, I am not part of that team – but I know the ones I am referring to).

    Thirdly, because, in any case, a vote for Syriza is not going to establish a purely Syriza government. No party, including Syriza, will be in a position to form a government outright. So, the question is whether Europe is better off with a government in Athens which includes Syriza as a pivot or one which is supported by discredited pro-bailout parties, with Syriza leading from the opposition benches. I have no doubt whatsoever that Europe’s interests are best served by the first option.[1]

    Exactly right. Only thing that has changed since 2012 is that now, he IS a member of the team.

  • wreck

    Call me when Baby J stands on his head and shits nickels. Then I’ll be impressed.

  • U Frood

    Old Testament God made the rivers run red and killed all the firstborn in Egypt.

    Modern God can make some liquid seep from a statue.

    Modern God’s just so underwhelming.

  • ehmm

    @4,5 Raven & @ 15 Olav.

    I’m too lazy to get the list, but the the IMF (among many others) who were big supporters of the program are now reversing themselves. To anyone that has eyes, it’s obvious that the program in Greece is clearly not working. On top of the human costs, their debt-to-GDP is not only higher than the troika predicted, its actually increasing. The one hold out is Schäuble.

    I think one of two things are happening: Schäuble has concluded that the EU project is effectively over and he’s concerned only with getting Germany out with as much cheddar as he can, or he is quite possibly senile. When he say’s “the program is working and we must stay with it”, I can’t believe he thinks that. Unless, there is a small possibility that the whole thing was not meant to rehabilitate Greece but merely to punish them (google “Geithner tapes”). In which case, the Greeks would be totally justified in saying “Y’know what, we’re out. Have a nice life. Oh, and those Greek bonds you are all holding? You can wipe your asses with them for all we care. C’ya.”

    I’ve also seen a few commentators (Satyajit Das, Prof Mark Blyth) argue that the european banking system is in even worse shape than the US banking system was a few years ago. No one knows where all the bodies are buried as far as Greek debt. The big fear is that a Grexit would be like Lehman Bros. all over again.

    Varoufakis: I had never head of him before the election and I’ve been devouring his material ever since. I’d recommend the audio and video links on his blog to anyone. Imagine Christopher Hitchens with about 10 additional IQ points and a focus on economics.

    Blyth has a book out that demolishes the idea that austerity is a good idea in a recession. His Google talk is great but he squeezes a 2 hour talk into about 50 minutes. His columbia university talk is a little easier to follow. Both on youtube.

    Oh, and weeping icons are bullshit.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ U Frood : In both cases that’s just what they say he did please note!

    Algal growth has turned rivers red for aeons and pollution can turn others red and even allow them to catch fire apparently in some modern cases. Plagues have been killing first borns for ages -although usually not quite as specifically and who knows how much truth there is actually is the old tales.

    @4. raven :

    This is just sad. Greece is definitely suffering a lot right now. Alexis Tsipras, New Greek Prime Minister, Is an Atheist. The savior they elected in a Hail Mary election is a former commie and an…atheist.

    Australia beat them to it with Julia Gillard! Of course there’ve been plenty of other governments led by communists and atheists sometimes even arguably democratically elected. What is sad about that?

    @5. raven : “It’s all well and good when the peasants storm the castle, but after that, then what?”

    Find the count in the crypt sleeping in his coffin and drive a stake into his heart? Watch out for henchmen and the counts fellow vampires?

  • U Frood

    I know, I just find it funny how desperate people are to grasp at “miracles” compared to what they believe their God used to do to impress his followers.

  • raven

    @18

    I see the problems on all sides. Austerity is getting a bad rep. for not doing much. What I don’t see are any viable solutions. Apparently, the Europeans don’t either. They basically punted with a 4 month extension.

    Austerity has been a disaster for Greece. But how did Iceland fare?

    Greece vs. Iceland: This Simple Comparison Proves Austerity Is Morally And Literally Bankrupt By Kerry-anne Mendoza

    December 31, 2014

    Iceland refused to use tax payer cash to honour debts run up by the private sector, jailed the bankers responsible, kicked out the Prime Minister and put him on trial for his part in the crisis, and invited its citizens to write a new constitution.

    * Iceland’s economy has enjoyed seven straight quarters of growth averaging 5% a year

    * Iceland now has an unemployment rate of just 3%, around half that of the UK and on a downward trend.

    * Pensioners receive back around 5% of their average net income as pension.

    * Wages have continued to climb since 2011 and are now at an all-time high.

    * Icelandic society is peaceful and free of social strife.

    There is an alternative to Austerity, and it has proven far more successful. In fact, there is no case in history where Austerity caused growth in a time of economic crisis.

    Both Iceland and Greece ran into a wall. Iceland threw their bankers in jail and almost jailed their former premier and told the debtholders it was all too bad but not their problem. They took a huge hit no question but came back.

    It’s not quite the same with how Greece got in trouble but their are similarities.

  • raven

    What is sad about that?

    Oh FFS, you couldn’t try harder to misunderstand now, could you?

    What is sad:

    1. Greece is in the middle of what is their version of The Great Depression. There is no light visible at the end of the tunnel. These are hard times that most of us only read about in history books.

    2. The best idea some Greeks have to get out of it, is to sit around and stare at a…Fake Icon?

    They’d be better off sacrificing a chicken to Athena. At least, after she eats what she wants, they have the rest of the chicken for dinner.

  • ehmm

    @21 Raven.

    It isn’t that austerity “isn’t doing much”, it’s that it’s making things incredibly worse. 5 years into this process, unemployment is pushing 30%, the Greek economy is still shrinking and their debt-to-GDP is going up. Same for Spain, Portugal & Ireland. The Irish are truly fucked BTW.

    The rest of the EU is still in recession or experiencing flat or low growth. Further, there are other historical examples where Austerity policy (during a recession) has been incredibly damaging. I’d highly recommend the Mark Blyth talks (& book) “Austerity: the History of a Dangerous Idea”. That stuff is on Youtube.

    As for other solutions, Varoufakis and Galbraith have been shopping around their “modest proposal” for a few years. I’m not equipped to decide whether or not it makes sense, but the assumptions seem reasonable to me. The important thing that differentiates it from other proposals (from Soros for example) is that it can be implemented in the existing legal framework of the EU without treaty changes.

    The 4 month extension is a matter of a time crunch. The new gov’t got elected less than a month ago and had to hustle to get something together or run out of money. The EU wants them to take the cash but with conditions (the program). The Greeks need the money but the conditions are killing them (particularly the primary surplus target). That’s what all the drama over the last few weeks was about.

    It’s also important to note that the overwhelming majority of that cash is not going to the Greeks. It’s going to their creditors. That’s other banks in the core countries of Europe. Given how incredibly unpopular the bank bailouts were in this country (rightly so), I don’t think you have to be that cynical to think the greek narrative is all about using them as a conduit to re-capitalize those core county banks. This sound a bit conspiratorial, I know, but I think this is the real reason the thought of a Grexit is keeping people up a night. The real test will be to see what happens to the flow of money if Greece goes. I predict it will not stop. Greece will still get blamed, perhaps rightly so.

    I fucking love Iceland. I thought the Brits using anti-terror laws to try to buffalo them was truly gourmet.

  • raven

    It’s also important to note that the overwhelming majority of that cash is not going to the Greeks. It’s going to their creditors.

    I read somewhere that the tens of billions of Euros Greece is getting, aren’t actually going to Greece. They are going to the European banks that Greece owes money to.

    Iceland just said it was private banks so it wasn’t their government’s problem and they didn’t have the money anyway. Their currency promptly dropped like a rock. But they are back now.

    I can see why the EU is nervous though. We tend to see Greece as a small country being bullied by the EU, which they are. OTOH, if they default and take the EU banking system down, that isn’t good either. Northern Europeans are people too.

    I hate to say it, but the Euro might not have been a good idea. It ties countries together that don’t really fit together very well.

  • dingojack

    ehmm — “I thought the Brits using anti-terror laws to try to buffalo them was truly gourmet.”

    I would have thought buffalo was more gourmand than gourmet…

    Dingo

  • anubisprime

    One of the major lies that the UK prime minister foisted on the nation was that “we are all in this together!”, so far every few months since there has been an extremely positive spin on any vaguely promising snippet of the economy that is presented, the BBC more then anyone wet themselves with glee anytime some numbnut Tory trumpets risible inanity about benefits and immigration and how those ‘johnny foreigner’ types bleed the system provided by ‘Hard working families'(tm)

    Facts are a little different, the net contribution of foreign workers to tax far outweighs any benefits that might be claimed by foreign workers…

    the reality

    So the immigration financial prop to the claims actually is fabricated.

    UKIP in particular get a great deal of mileage from that pernicious lie.

    And coupled with the incessant sensationalist peddled nonsense about all Muslims wanting to go jihad on the rest of society’s ass, has propelled them into a dangerous and frankly frightening position of a truly fascist party being part and parcel of a UK Parliament.

    That most are right wing disaffected Tories and remnants if not the dregs of the BNP and EDL that are a little smarter then the rest of their former brethren by 1/2 an IQ point.

    The other multifarious, if not downright malicious ‘policies’ invented to deal with the global financial crisis and how that affects the UK are mostly bogus…’look over there’ type mantra’s.

    The DWP, under the auspices of a widely reported devout Roman Catholic, is a case study in incoherent, petty social vandalism and ultimately expensive failure from beginning to end.

    And by the shape of it a certain styling on the movers and shakers of pre-1938 political wisdom experienced in Berlin.

    Their intentions are veiled in pompous appeal to the hard working tax payer that they are tackling the lazy feckless indolent workshy that, according to the spin, are legion, poor, greedy, under educated, possibly foreign and infest the rest of society with debt, criminality, tardiness and as such are the common enemy to a modern vibrant financially secure society….i.e anyone on benefits is the blatant scrounger.

    To that end anyone renting council property with more then two rooms per couple face either losing a portion of their rent or have to move, to downsize in the parlance, the ‘bedroom tax’ has entered the Brit lexicon, much to the chagrin of the Tory politicos that prefer it had a much more sympathetic title like the ‘spare-room subsidy/under occupancy penalty’…which being bland removes the implicit intent to ghettoize the poor let alone stigmatize them.

    Justification is to get the housing market buoyant but it is becoming obvious that because it is not making folks move to smaller houses, because there are none, that the intent is, and always has been, to cut benefits, that and not much else.

    No exceptions…

    These benefit cheats are are being brought to book…along with those pesky disabled and crippled not to mention those single mothers that are now being ‘encouraged’ to seek work, although practical arrangements like child care is dismissed as irrelevant and the underlying assumption is that is what grandparents are for, whatever but these ‘sluts’ can go work for a living like the rest of ‘decent’ society.

    The point is that a whole raft of draconian and pompous sounding ‘ initiatives’ are or will be included in the future.

    And the spin is to the middle class chattering fools, among other brainiacs, that think that what they hear down the country club or pub, on channel 4 and read in the Daily Heil is in fact the ‘truth’ of the situation and that the benefit scroungers are, far more then bankers, responsible for a sick and dying economy.

    Sneaked in under all the noisy rhetoric of benefit fraud and the feckless workshy the government are surreptitiously forcing through security measures that even George Orwell would find a little beyond belief.

    Point is these financial situations that affect whole communities and indeed countries tend to give rise to right wing fundamentalism, a blame culture and insidious vicious petulance when dealing with those that are seen, or portrayed as a burden on the rest, bigotry and hatreds of foreigners especially always arise under such pressures.

    Scapegoats is an old tradition going back many millennia it is no surprise that critters like Golden Dawn and the spiritual ethos of UKIP rides high in the polls…they are made under those conditions, like mold on a sweaty jockstrap left in the locker for far to long.

    Right wing sympathies always do well in such atmosphere, and is a clue as to why so many press articles are caught b’twixt ‘n’ b’tween condemnation and rejoicing about the Greek elections.

    A lot of politicians fear that the sentiment that drove Syriza to triumph is not that far off shore and rapidly closing the gap between their version of austerity and the reality of its abject failure…seems the good times for a few are coming to an abrupt end, they will not relinquish the privilege easily.

    The next move is to get the nominally right leaning religion onside, and that is where Blighty politicos might have a tad of grief…the C of E are not playing ball…it is most inconvenient…

    As for weeping statues, the RC faith require them, you can only run a successful scam if the contents are scammed as well, if that attempt has the good fortune to be linked to political upheaval, all the better cos god just ain’t a happy camper about …well whatever to the greater glory of the church!

  • David Marjanović

    I hate to say it, but the Euro might not have been a good idea. It ties countries together that don’t really fit together very well.

    That’s evidently not the problem. The problem is that now there’s a currency that doesn’t have the instruments of a state behind it; those are only being developed.

    Without the €, we’d be paying through our noses for currency conversions, and the currencies of several countries would have become worthless in 2008/09.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    raven: the problem isn’t the euro, it’s the refusal of other Euro countries, particularly Germany, to help Greece fix its debt problem. The entire West seem wedded to this idea that “austerity” is the only solution to just about any economic problem anyone can have; and until Syriza won the last election, no one was even willing to THINK of doing anything other than more of the same. This after YEARS of austerity failing to deliver on any of its stated promises.

    Austerity is getting a bad rep. for not doing much. What I don’t see are any viable solutions.

    Remember what I just said about no one being able to think of any more than one policy, even after that policy proved a failure? You just proved my point, thanks.

    Greece is in the middle of what is their version of The Great Depression. There is no light visible at the end of the tunnel. These are hard times that most of us only read about in history books.

    The history books I read said there was a solution to the Great Depression. And it wasn’t austerity, it was INCREASED spending: first on programs that at least got money moving again, and got some of it into the hands of ordinary people so they could at least buy food (thus creating more business for whoever sold them food); and later on a two-front global war. Greece can’t do the latter, of course (unless they’d like to help us fight ISIL), but some money to get ordinary Greeks back to work would do wonders, both to alleviate suffering and to forestall the kind of civil unrest that tends to happen when large numbers of young men are out of work. But Germany — like Herbert Hoover back in the last century — is being too stingy and shortsighted to see that far into the future, or that far into their own fucking past for that matter.

  • Nick Gotts

    Austerity is getting a bad rep. for not doing much. – raven@21

    On the contrary, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do: bring about a huge increase in economic inequality, punishing the working class (including the unemployed) for the crimes of the bankers. On its own, Syriza has an enormously difficult fight on its hands; and the Euro-establishment may decide it’s better to risk Greece leaving the Eurozone and defaulting than to give serious ground, which would encourage the parallel resistance to austerity in Spain, Ireland, and to some extent Portugal