Work has been started today to mount a repaired and renovated weather vane back onto the top of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, in St. Petersburg, report officials of the city's History Museum.
The weather vane represents an angel, a cross, and an apple. The apple will be the first element to be lifted, with a help of a helicopter. The other elements will be taken up by workforce. Once the apple is there, the spire's upper tier will be covered with gilded leaf copper and the angel placed atop and illuminated.
The entire operation will take a total two to three weeks to complete, depending on weather conditions, museum spokespeople say.
The latest repairs to the weather vane of SS. Peter and Paul's were undertaken last summer, after it had been discovered that the turning mechanism wouldn't work. A new mechanism was then created, one closely following the old patterns, which had proved their durability by 130 years of flawless operation.
In addition, the gilt, applied over the weather vane's surface back in 1996 and now coming off here and there, had to be removed and replaced with a fresh layer of gilding.
The Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul was erected between 1712 and 1733, to designs of the Italian architect Domenico Tresini. The chapel, with its golden spire, still remains the city's tallest buildings, rising 122.5 meters into the sky.
The cathedral's new weather vane will be its fourth. The original was destroyed in a fire of 1756. Its successor, installed in 1774, got heavily damaged in a storm. A smaller figure, believed to be less vulnerable to weather and climate extremes, was then designed, by Italy's Antonio Rinaldi. In 1858, as the wooden spire was replaced with a metal one, a replica of Rinaldi's angel was put on.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.