MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF LEBANON CHURCH
As one enters the Church of Our Lady of Lebanon, in Wheeling, West Virginia, the eye will immediately focus on a central uniquely celebrated feature, a portrait of Mary dedicated under the title of Our Lady of Lebanon, displayed within the sanctuary, just above the tabernacle. One will notice Mary’s outstretched maternal hands beckoning; also incorporated within the design’s background are the famous Cedars of Lebanon, the age-old symbol of the title our Maronite faithful attribute to “As-Saidy” (The Noble Lady).
The newly constructed church was but ten years old when it was gutted by fire, December 19, 1932. Saved was the life-sized (4’ x 6’) framed icon of Our Lady suspended undamaged above her shrine! Many of the local firemen at the blazing scene attest to its miraculous preservation. There was an account of a certain firefighter’s own experience, one of which stated that he directed the main pressure hose to be leveled at the image, while the water with all its velocity was diverted from the picture. And still later the delicate painting in oils had plummeted twenty-five feet without damage!
Following the fire, the Blessed Mother appeared to both the bishop and the pastor simultaneously in a dream with the message that her portrait be hung above the main altar. In an effort to rebuild the destroyed church, devoted parishioners initiated the Mahrajan (Festival) in order to secure the funds to construct today’s existing church where the miraculous portrait can be seen today.