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MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) -- The gold-colored oil that is reportedly

secreting from an icon in a Ukranian Orthodox church here is myrrh, church

officials say.

The LaPorte Herald-Argus reports the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church issued a

news release Friday identifying the "miracle" substance emitting from its icon

of Christ as myrrh.

Myrrh is an oily substance that has the fragrance of balsam mixed with

flowers, the release states. The myrrh reportedly comes from wounds in the

hands, feet, head and side of the body of Christ depicted in the icon.

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people have visited the church to view the

icon, with an estimated 10,000 to arrive this weekend for Easter, the church

states. Photos of the icon are not allowed.

While the church's crowd estimates could not be confirmed, hundreds of

visitors have been seen daily, creating local traffic problems.

Many of the visitors are from out of town and don't know exactly where the

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church is located. When they spot the church, they slam

on their brakes, said Chief Deputy Mark Ludlow of LaPorte County Police.

The icon, located behind the altar table in the church, has reportedly

emitted oil since April 2.

While Pastor Elias Warnke has not spoken to the media about the mysterious

myrrh, the release stated a press conference is being planned.

The icon is reported to be at least 100 years old and is originally from

Greece. It was located at churches in Chicago and Benton Harbor, Mich., before

coming to Michigan City.

The streaming icon is thought to be a "sign of great blessing," according to

the release. Icons that appear to be weeping, on the other hand, are believed

to be signs of great danger or sorrow, the release states.

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