CHICAGO, Illinois -- Worshipers at a historic church prayed for a Christmas miracle, and Friday morning, it appears to have happened.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church was supposed to be shut down Thursday night. Church leaders were preparing to close their doors when they say a group of guardian angels came through with a nearly $2 million donation that could save the church.
The donation came just hours before the church was set to go to auction.
Holy Trinity has been around for more than 100 years, and ongoing financial and legal difficulties have resulted in the bank foreclosing on the property.
"A lot of people thought that this was it and it was hard to see," Holy Trinity Priest Father Nicholas Jonas said.
Thursday night, the church held what they thought would be its final service, until church officials say a donation was made to purchase the property from the bank on behalf of the church. Parish Council President Stanley Andreakis said the donation will allow the church to re-file for bankruptcy and prevent the building from being torn down by an investment bank firm.
"We feel like kids. You wake up at Christmas and you have a present," Andreakis said. "You are like, I get to keep my church."
"Last night, we were all here praying, we were praying for a Christmas miracle, and it came through," said Andreakis. "We had some individuals approach us and they were able to come up with a proposal that our lawyer put together and our lawyer, at the last minute, at the 11th hour, put together a bankruptcy plan so we can restructure because of these guardian angels. Call it a Christmas miracle."
The non-profit group who donated the money has not yet been identified, but church leaders said at least one donor is a member of the congregation.
"We all believe in the miracles of Christmas, and for them to have done this...that is what it feels like for me," Father Jonas said. "I want them to know that them setting up bank accounts and rewards is not what really matters, but what they did sets up a reward for themselves in heaven."
Andreakis said the church will have services on Sunday.
"With 121 years of service to the community, ministering to the community, this church, which is a house of God, will remain here," Andreakis said. "It will not be auctioned off to a developer. They would probably knock it down for financial gain and build some kind of development."