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Agencies
 
New Delhi, Mar 21:
Christians are gathering in huge swarms at the Bishop's House of Churches in Andaman, where a portrait of Christ is reported to have bled from its heart.

''Though it has stopped now but people still visit the Bishop's house and ask about the miracle,'' Eric Nathaniel, a Police Radio Operator, who purchased the portrait a few years back, was quoted by UNI.

''I bought the portrait of the 'sacred heart' at Car Nicobar during the Durga Pooja mela in 2003. It was just a year before the tsunami destroyed most of Car Nicobar Island, killing thousands of people and rendering the survivors homeless,'' Nathaniel added.

Nathaniel's family witnessed the incident for the first time on March 8 when he along with his family returned home after a routine shopping. The family was stunned to see the portrait bleeding. 

Blood seemed to flow from the heart of Jesus in the portrait, which stood on a small table in their house. The family, however, maintained a low profile about the incident and never disclosed the matter to anyone.

''I was afraid no one would believe it and we would be criticised for talking about something which is foolish in the eyes of the world,'' Nathaniel was quoted as saying.

''We lit candles and prayed and after some time the blood dried,'' he added.

''Again on March 10, at about the same time in the evening, my family noticed blood on the portrait. Blood also oozed from the hands and heart of another portrait of Jesus, which hung on the wall in an adjacent room. However, we decided not to tell anybody.

Later on March 13, the family again witnessed the same incident. This time the family again decided not to confine the news to themselves. ''This time it did not stop. The blood flowed continually until March 18,'' Nathaniel said.

Many people, including some journalists, also witnessed the incident.

''Call it a miracle or a mystery, it appeared to be true. There was something unusual as there was no chance that a laminated cardboard portrait could bleed,'' said Denis Giles, Editor of a local Andaman daily and Andaman Chronicle, who first reported the incident.

Finally, priests of Anglican Church of Northern India took the portrait to CNI church and the portrait was kept there for public viewing.

''The portrait bled even after it was taken to the Bishop's house,'' Denis said. The local administration, though surprised chose not to interfere, considering the religious sensitivity of the issue. ''No one has so far ordered or requested us to test the portrait. So we had no reason to interfere. After all it is a religious matter and we should not do anything which may hurt public sentiment,'' Director of Andaman Health Department N Sadasivan was quoted by UNI.

For some this is a miracle while for others this is a mystery, says Nathaniel. 

  

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