Sunday, November 07, 2010

Holy Smoke... Lots of It

In one of the great spectacles of Christendom, yesterday's PopeStop at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (homily) saw the unleashing of the botafumeiro -- the Spanish shrine's famous 5-foot-tall mega-thurible, suspended from its ceiling and said to reach top speeds approaching 70 kilometers an hour (42mph) as it swings across the sanctuary, peaking at an arc of some 200 feet....

Here, the moment in full:

While the tradition of a large swinging censer at Santiago dates to the 11th century, the botafumeiro used yesterday first took flight in 1851.

Centuries earlier, in one of the device's many mid-swing accidents, a prior model flew out a window of the cathedral, which was dedicated in 1128.