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Priceless Greek Icon Helps Raise Funds For Seminary

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The bankrupt Greek economy has led to the arrival in Baltimore of two nuns and a priceless icon.

As Mike Schuh reports, the only way to raise money to rebuild a seminary is to bring a bit of Greece to America.

This is a special time in Greektown.

At one of the many special services added morning, noon and night at St. Nickolas Greek Orthodox Church, these nuns has something they brought from the Greek island of Rhodes.

"We are traveling here, bringing to the United States the holy icon of Panagia Ipseni," one nun said.

This icon was made in the 1600s, found in a tree in the 1800s and to believers it has power -- great power -- of peace and healing.

"Oh my God. Peace, peace, something comes inside of you," Anistasia Vasilakopoulos said. "It's very touching."

"People are getting emotional when they see this," explained Emily Cossis. "I guess because a lot of us have been here for years. We left Greece, wither the place where we were born and when you see something from you homeland it brings back tears, and me too now -- you're making me emotional."

Tied to the heavens, the icon is providing here on Earth.

The nuns are building a church for a new Greek saint and it'll cost $800,000.

But the Greek economy is in tatters and donations there have dried up.

But Americans have been generous during the icons three stops in America.

"They loved us, they showed us love," Sister said. "They pray to Panagia Ipseni, even American people, not only Greek people."

So far the two nuns have managed to raise $50,000. There are three more services Friday night and one Saturday. All are open to the public.

Mike Schuh will have this story on WJZ-TV tonight.

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