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Lightening Pope

The only modern building I saw in the entire country of Italy was the Papal Audience Hall. Opened in 1971 it was practically brand new when we were there in 1975. Here's a panorama view of the inside showing the ceiling and both sides of the room.
We were studying art history and the St. Olaf Choir was on tour as well. We all met up in Rome after touring around the countryside. One of the highlights of our stay in Rome was the special treatment we received in the Papal Audience Hall.
See the inside of the Papal Audience Hall.
We were ushered to the center front rows where we waited. I gazed at the windows and the interesting shape of the room.
See a close up of the window

 Suddenly everyone stood with a loud roar. I was surprised by the noise and the continuous flash of white light that lasted at least 5 minutes. The Pope was carried down the center aisle from the back of the room. He was actually sitting on one of those "Cleopatra" thrones just like in the movies about ancient Rome. I stood silent (probably with gaping jaw) as the applause and cameras went crazy. Once he was positioned on the stage the ceremony began and he spoke a short message in several languages. A medal was produced and our choir director was summoned to the stage. This was an historic moment since we represented a Lutheran college and this was the first time in history that a Catholic Pope bestowed this honor on a protestant. I was completely clueless until later about the significance of all that took place.
What really impressed me about the whole event was seeing the huge oval stained glass windows, one on either side of this gigantic wave room. The windows were glowing with color as the morning sun shown in.

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