Bolt Blows Head Off Church's Madonna

Stricken . a statue of the Madonna and child at a
church in Mulbarton, south of Johannesburg, after
it was badly damaged in a thunderstorm

Worshippers of the Our Lady of Lebanan Church in Mulbarton, in the south of Johannesburg, were upset to discover that lightning had decapitated the church's imported marble Madonna and child statue overnight.

The head tumbled down the conical minaret, a shrine to Mother Mary, damaging part of the brickwork as it fell.

A huge storm hit the area on Tuesday night.

The church is a creation of architectural beauty: made of stone, with Roman pillars, huge wooden doors and
delicate statues of Mary and Jesus dotted around the yard.

There are large wooden barrels in which roses have been potted.

A few metres away from the church doors stands the shrine.

It was built in May 2002, a year before the church was completed.

Mounted on top of the shrine is the revolving statue, imported at great cost from Portugal last year. It was taken down in November to be reshaped, and remounted in December Church officials were yester-day not prepared to comment on the damage to statue, saying it was a "sensitive" matter.

Update: Monday 8 March 2003

An acquaintance who went to photograph the statue, said all he found were pieces on the ground, that it must have crumbled to pieces when they came to take the statue off from the minaret.

Furthermore, there is a cross atop the tower attached to the church and this would have been the highest point - not the statue. Besides, marble does not attract lightning - lightning strikes the highest point!

"Moriel praises God for His judgment on this wicked idol. Believers saved out of The Roman Catholic ‚  Maronite church from Elijah Congregation (the Moriel affiliated church in Johannesburg) prayed that God would destroy the graven image - and He answered the prayer. May all wretched idols of Rome and Greek Orthodoxy and Mormonism fall under similar destruction"!