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Rio's signature statue was struck by lightning on Thursday

Lightning strikes the hand of Christ

Digital writers

Saturday, January 18, 2014, 1:34 PM -

One of the most popular tourist sites of Brazil, the statue of Christ the Redeemer was damaged after a storm hit Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. The system damaged part of right thumb of the statue when lightning struck Christ's hand. It isn't the first time a storm defaced the statue. In December another storm hit the middle finger of the same hand. 

The informational signs around the statue often attract lightning and end up having to be replaced. Father Omar Raposo of the Archdiocese of Rio said they are looking into replacing them with a more modern alternative that will get struck less often. The Archdiocese have also stocked up on the same stone that was used to build the original statue as it often requires repair due to its position on top of the Corcovado mountain in central Rio. 

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It isn't just lightning damaging Christ the Redeemer. In 2010, the statue was covered in graffiti with messages such as "When the cat's away the rats will play," and other references to residents that had disappeared or in some cases killed. The mayor of Rio called the vandalism a "crime against the nation." 

A Wonder-ful sight 

The 30 meter-tall statue of Jesus Christ stands atop an 8 meter pedestal. It is a symbol of Brazilian Christianity as about 90 per cent of the country's population identify as Christian. Between 2003 and 2010, major restoration was done on the massive Christ to repair the visible damage done to its face and upper body. The unveiling was accompanied by green and yellow lights in support of the Brazil national team that was playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 

The impressive statue has been featured in video games, TV shows and movies and is perhaps one of the most recognizable views of Brazil. Christ the Redeemer is also one the modern day Seven Wonders of the World, chosen through the New7Wonders of the World initiative. The initiative is said to be one of the largest polls on record. Other modern day Wonders include Chichen Itza (Mexico), Taj Mahal (India), the Great Wall of China and Machu Picchu (Peru).

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