A group of Catholic devotees have proclaimed a miracle after saying they saw the sun “dancing” in the sky.
The worshippers were celebrating the feast of Divine Mercy on Sunday (April 8) at a shrine in Marilog, Davao City, when they noticed the sun’s strange behaviour.
An amateur video of the scene showed devotees wailing and waving their hands as the sun appeared to pulse brighter and dimmer. Some eyewitnesses also claimed that it moved around the sky.
Speaking to GMA News, one witness, Dondon Alo, said: “The devotees were weeping in excitement!”
The phenomenon was also witnessed by Father Gracioso Charcos, who claimed that he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ in the light.
However, Ben Rosales of the state weather agency Pagasa put forward a more down-to-earth explanation for the celestial display. He said atmospheric ice crystals could have caused the phenomenon.
Sceptics might also point out that if our closest star really were really skipping about in the firmament, the effects would have been catastrophic for life on earth.
Sun has ‘danced’ before
The Philippines is no stranger to the so-called Dancing Sun Miracle. In 2001 a crowd of 10,000 people — who were also celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday — reported witnessing the same phenomenon.
The devotees were gathered at Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental, when, as one witness put it: “The clouds broke, and from behind the mountains, the sun came out as an opaque disc in the sky. The sun danced, changed colours, spun like a pinwheel, and made a most sensational demonstration.”
The event was also marked by the appearance of a rainbow, perfectly aligned to the head of the shrine’s giant statue of Christ.
Most famously, a dancing sun was witnessed by up to 100,000 people in Fatima, Portugal, on October 13, 1917.
The crowd had gathered after it was reported that three shepherd children had witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary who had promised a miracle for that day “so that all may believe”.
Two of the children — Francisco and Jacinta Marto — died in the flu pandemic that started in 1918. Pope Francis canonised them as saints last year.
The third child, Lúcia Santos, died aged 97 in 2005. She is now just one step away from being declared a saint.
During her life she recorded three ‘secrets’ that she said were entrusted to the children by the Virgin Mary.
The first secret was a vision of hell. The second was largely concerned with “the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart”. It stated that if Russia could be converted, there would be peace. If not, Russia would “spread her errors” throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.
The third secret was sealed and given to the Vatican to be opened in 1960. However, it was considered so fearful that it wasn’t published until the year 2000. It was then revealed to be a vision of the death of the Pope and other religious figures. It has been widely speculated that only part of the secret was revealed. Some suggest it actually gives an account of global apocalypse.