A picture of the lightning at the dome of St. Peterís at the resignation of the pope causes fuss.

Lightning strikes dome of St. Peterís - Comment on 2013 February 13

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Flickering the dark sky over the dome of St. Peterís is lit up by a flash of lightning. On the photo the glaring light stops abruptly at the cross of the dome. Above the symbol building of Catholic power on Earth of all places. At this historic day of all days. Only hours before had Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. Read more:

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Thunderstorm: Lightning strikes dome of St. Peterís Ė coincidence or sign?

Mystery? Coincidence? Fake? A picture of the lightning at the dome of St. Peterís at the resignation of the pope causes fuss. Photographer Di Meo describes the exiting minutes and affirms: "The picture is genuine."

Flickering the dark sky over the dome of St. Peterís is lit up by a flash of lightning. On the photo the glaring light stops abruptly at the cross of the dome. Above the symbol building of Catholic power on Earth of all places. At this historic day of all days. Only hours before had Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.

After the event of the century in Rome photographer Alessandro Di Meo is on the way and takes pictures for the Italian news agency Ansa. A storm gathers, and Di Meo senses his chance. But he takes too long. "When I cleaned my lens in the rain, a lightning struck the dome. I couldnít do anything Ė only watch helplessly and be annoyed," he said on Tuesday in an Ansa article.

Di Meo tried another focusing and hoped. "I carried on trying, and then a lightning struck in the middle of the dome Ė exactly in the moment when I took my taking", he described. He has the camera supported on a balustrade. Eight seconds the taking lasted.

When then the picture is send into the world over the news tickers, many journalists are sceptical. A lightning now in St. Peterís of all places? Above the crypt with the graves of the popes, where also the apostle Peter is supposed to lie.

On an expert programme for photo journalists Di Meoís Ansa colleagues are covered with critical questions. But he sticks to it: The photo is genuine! And they add camera data and time Ė taken at 17:56 local time.

And a further photo of the lightning emerges. On that Filippo Monteforte of the French news agency AFP has captured the moment from another perspective. And also SRF has filmed the lightning. The TV station repeats its video in slow motion: Like out of nothing the flickering lightning emerges at the dark sky. It shines brightly, becomes a little weaker and then shortly bathes the place in blazing light.

 

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