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'Cancer-curing' holy water to be tested on Songs of Praise

The French village of Lourdes became a sacred pilgrimage site in 1858, after visions of the Virgin Mary were first reported there.

The Virgin Mary is said to have urged Saint Bernadette of Lourdes to drink and bathe in water from a spring in the Grotto of Massabielle.

Approximately six million people visit the site annually, in the hopes of receiving a miracle.

Although around 7000 people claim to have been miraculously healed there, only 70 have been officially certified by both the Catholic Church and the Lourdes Medical Bureau.

Kazik Stepan visited the holy site as a teenager after being diagnosed with an inoperable tumour on his spinal cord that left him unable to walk. He claims he was healed from the decease when he bathed in the natural spring on 8th September - the day the Catholic Church marks the birthday of the Virgin Mary.

The International Medical Committee of Lourdes will be accompanying Stepan at Lourdes to verify his miracle. To do this, Stepan's previous condition must first be proved to be incurable.

If the miracle is confirmed, Stepan will become the first official Briton to have been cured at the Roman Catholic site.

The case will be broadcast on Songs of Praise on 15th September.

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