St George’s Church is the focus of Madaba’s Greek Orthodox community, and services are held here every week, with carpets laid over the precious mosaic to protect it. One Sunday morning in 1976, worshippers passed in front of one of the church’s many icons as normal, praying and touching it. Later in the service, someone chanced to look at the icon again – a picture of the Virgin and Child, which had been in full public view for years – and noticed that it had suddenly “grown” a third, blue hand, unseen by the full congregation an hour or so before. No one had an explanation, and it was declared to be a miracle, the Virgin showing Madaba a helping hand. The celebrated icon, still with its blue hand, is now on public display behind glass in the crypt.

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