Statue of Virgin Mary Catches Fire in Taiwan’s Oldest Catholic Church

A statue of the Virgin Mary housed in Taiwan’s oldest Catholic church caught fire today. Fire fighters are investigating whether arson is involved.

Firefighters received a report at 4:28pm. By the time firefighters arrived church members and visitors had already put out the fire using fire extinguishers.

The clothes and wig were burned in the fire, which firefighters say covered an area of 9 meters square. The area has been cordoned off for a forensics investigation tomorrow.

The statue is housed in Wanchin Basilica in Wanchin Village, Wanluan Township, Pingtung County. It was constructed by Philippine priests and is said to be the oldest Catholic church extant in Taiwan.

The fire coincidentally happened on the first day of ‘ghost month,’ according to the traditional Chinese Lunar Calender.

The scorched statue of the Virgin Mary after a fire August 3, 2016
A statue of the Virgin Mary after a fire in Pingtung consumed her clothing, wig, and rosary beads August 3, 2016
A statue of the Holy Mother in Pingtung County, Wanchin village.
The statue of the Virgin Mary as it normally appeared before a fire almost destroyed it on ‘Ghost Gate Opens’ day, the first day of the Chinese lunar calender’s ghost month, which fell on August 3 in 2016.
Wanchin Basilica, Pingtung
The Wanchin Basilica in Wanchin Village, Pingtung County, Taiwan.
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