20 December 2011

Vandal damages door of Marian basilica

Yesterday a vandal damaged one of the bronze doors of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major), one of the oldest churches dedicated to Mary throughtout the world:
The vandal climbed over two railings and attacked the basilica's bronze doors with a rock, knocking off six saintly badges and "seriously" damaging a bas-relief portrayal of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, church sources said on Monday.

Police are said to have arrested a Romanian homeless man and Vatican gendarmes are also investigating, since the church, although across the city from the Holy See and close to Termini rail station, is a Vatican 'extraterritorial' site.

Experts from Rome's art heritage superintendency said the damage ran into thousands of euros.

"It's serious damage, quantifiable in a few thousand euros," they said.

One of the fences the man climbed over was a couple of metres high and the other six metres high, police said [more].
The Basilica houses part of the manger in which the Christ-Child was placed in Bethlehem.

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