Horror as famed miraculous Image of Virgin appears to have been destroyed
March 1, 2004 Reported in [Spirit Daily.com] online newspaper. Officials at the Shepherds of Christ in Ohio are declining comment on what appears to be the horrid destruction of a famed image of the Blessed Mother that has appeared for eight years on a former office building in Clearwater, Florida. The Shepherds now own and maintain the building as a shrine and center.
Police have been on the scene this morning, although no report has yet been filed. The damage was clearly seen on the group's live on-site webcam and reported to Spirit Daily. Some say that in the broken panes are what now seem like images of Jesus.
The image, a colored "silhouette" spanning twenty feet, was almost exactly proportionate to the famed image of Guadalupe, the miraculous cloth on which an inexplicable representation of Mary appeared in the 16th century to St. Juan Diego near Mexico City. The Guadalupe image can be neatly superimposed upon photographs of the Clearwater "reflection" in this state where there are so many Spanish-speaking people who have a special devotion to Guadalupe -- another fact that argued for the image's miraculous nature.
The effect appeared to be the result of some kind of oxidative or chemical reaction in the glass. The colors in the image started with a dark blue, then as they moved inward turned to lighter blue, yellowish, orange, violet, blue again, turquoise, green, yellow-green, and once more violet. It could also be seen from the inside, albeit in less detail. A previous act of vandalism involved the throwing of some kind of destructive fluid, perhaps acidic, at the image several years ago, but incredibly the image seemed to correct itself.
It was first spotted on December 17, 1996, by a woman customer at what was then the Seminole Finance Corporation Building. As one newspaper noted, the image, two floors high, glowed and shimmered, turning from green to blue, to red, and there was a distinct outline of a head, a hooded robe and most of a torso. Skeptics claimed it was caused by a reflection of the sun's rays bouncing off water left by sprinklers, but that hardly explained how its glow often increased at night -- although [see below] it went dark just before September 11. George Pecoraro, a scientist with a glass company, told a newspaper that "we're not able to explain how the shape appeared or why it appeared. It could be an accident or maybe it's Divine intervention." Most mysterious was how the image continued without interruption over the span of at least nine separate panes of glass. More than 1.5 million have visited and the original owner, Mike Krizmanich, allowed them to install what has become a permanent shrine, believing the image is "a gift from God to be protected and shared."
The link to Guadalupe is further interesting because the Guadalupe Madonna is officially recognized as the Virgin of the Americas. "God is telling us it is time to change our ways," noted Sister Christian of the Order of St. Anne in India. "It looks exactly like all the paintings of the Blessed Mother."
[Address] of the financial building in Clearwater is 21649 US #19 North, Clearwater, Florida 33765