Amatrice, Italy, Oct 30, 2016 / 07:56 am
A large earthquake struck the central Italian town of Norcia this morning, leveling the Basilica of St. Benedict and several other buildings in the town.
The earthquake, which occurred around 7:40 a.m. local time, had a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale, making it larger than the 6.2-magnitude quake which hit near the towns of Norcia and Amatrice on Aug. 24.
The Basilica of St. Benedict, built between 1290 and 1338 was located on what is traditionally held as the birthplace of St. Benedict and his twin sister, St. Scholastica. A bell tower built in the 14th century was damaged in an earthquake in 1703 and replaced by a smaller tower. The church had undergone a complete renovation in the 18th century, and contained many valuable paintings and frescos.
Born in Norcia to upper-class parents during the year 480, St. Benedict became the founder of the Benedictine rule and is known as the "Father of Western Monasticism." He is also one of the co-patron saints of Europe.