Priest died 'saving Madonna statue'

2012-05-30 20:26
San Felice Sul Panaro - As Italy mourns its dead, a parish priest killed in an earthquake as he tried to save a Madonna statue has become a symbol for the loss of lives and devastation of cultural heritage.

Ivan Martini, a priest in the sleepy town of Rovereto sulla Secchia, went back into his damaged church with two firemen to rescue the statue beloved by his parishioners just after Tuesday's fatal earthquake hit the Emilia Romagna region.

Martini, 65, was crushed to death by a falling beam. Both firemen survived, though one was badly injured in the rush for the exit, witnesses said.

"I want to get the Madonna out of there," Martini is reported to have said, before plunging into the depths of the pink and white church, which had already been damaged during a first deadly quake that hit the region on 20 May.

Two tremors

A first tremor brought the church's 17th-century bell crashing to the ground, and a second toppled the building before the priest could escape.

"He put on his helmet and went in with the firemen... then, the Apocalypse hit," parishioner Rosanna Caffini told La Stampa newspaper.

Martini was pulled from the ruins by the firemen but could not be revived.

"When I got to him he was still breathing, but it was obvious he wasn't going to make it".

The story of Martini's death featured widely in Italian media outlets on Wednesday as the country struggled to come to terms with the two quakes which killed 23 people as well as destroying venerated churches, chapels and monuments from the skyline.

"Don Ivan dies to save the Madonna and Emilia Romagna loses its bell towers," said La Repubblica daily, while others lamented "the senseless death of a good man" and "the loss of revered places that were part of our identity."

Read more on:    italy  |  earthquake  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

10 of the most expensive things that will leave your jaw hanging!
Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency towards setting your expectations too high which will result in disappointment. Try not to let your thoughts...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.