A Greek church has claimed that a statue of Jesus Christ has been "weeping" in the form of an "oily liquid," ever since the left-wing political party Syriza won the elections at the end of January. Syriza's win meant that Alexis Tsipras, the party's leader, was sworn in as the first ever openly atheist prime minister of Greece.
Newsweek shared that Greek sources, such as Corinth TV and the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, have been reporting on the church of St. Nicholas in the village of Asprokampos, Corinthia, which is making the claims.
Crowds have apparently been flocking to the church to see the weeping icon, whch has also been visited by the Bishop of Corinth. A church official, who wasn't named, has even requested scientists and Greek Orthodox superiors to come and investigate the occurrence.
Greek investigative journalist Yiannis Baboulias said that stories of weeping icons are not uncommon in Greece, but noted that the connection the church is attempting to make between the occurrence and the victory for Syriza is a new one.
"The weeping icon is an urban legend that resurfaces every now and again in Greece. Stories like this happen all the time, and this one is really funny," Baboulias said.
"What is really happening is simply that the paint on the icon is starting to leak due to environmental changes," he offered.
Baboulias noted that Greek churches often back various political parties.
According to the CIA World Factbook, as much as 98 percent of Greece's entire population is officially part of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Tsipras was sworn in on Jan. 26, and broke tradition when he decided to take a civil, rather than a biblical oath.
In an analysis, Quartz pointed out that openly atheist leaders in Europe are rare, but are becoming more prominent. Besides Greece, France and Croatia are also being led by non-religious politicians.