He said he was convinced that divine intervention was involved.
According to research, the painting is as old as the church of St. Nicholas.
There had been a side altar dedicated to Our Lady of the Dawn Gate until the church was closed in 1938 by the communist regime.
In 1991, the faithful prayed for several months on the steps in front of the locked church. The people hoped for the building to be returned to the parish community.
One day Father John Krapan, then pastor of St. Alexander parish, came with the image of Our Lady of the Gate. The priest gave the icon to the parish.
“It is likely that this is the original painting from our church, which was hidden from Bolshevik looting and later given to a neighboring parish,” said the pastor of St. Nicholas.
The image depicts the prominent icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, Lithuania.
According to a presidential decree on the restitution of church property adopted in 2002, the painting would have been returned to the Roman Catholic Church. But St. Nicholas disappeared from the list of church properties. Until recently, the National House of Organ and Chamber Music, which hosted organ concerts, operated there, and the parish was only the tenant of part of the interior.
In November 2021, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the parish and the authorities to return the church to the parish.