Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

BREAKING: Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani joins Trump legal team

Beer-Brewing Monks of Norcia Say Earthquake Destroys St. Benedict Basilica

by F. Brinley Bruton and Claudio Lavanga /  / Updated 
The Basilica of St. Benedict stands in ruins after a strong quake hit the town of Norcia on Sunday. Matteo Guidelli / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Monks who had been brewing beer to raise funds to rebuild a historic earthquake-damaged basilica have suffered a huge setback after the ancient building was destroyed by another temblor.

The monks of the Monastery of Saint Benedict in Norcia in central Italy announced via Twitter that the strongest earthquake to strike the country in 36 years had "flattened" the Basilica of St. Benedict on Sunday.

The monks were safe, according to a statement on the monastery’s website.

“The entire monastic community is together again at our mountain monastery which overlooks a now fractured Norcia,” a statement signed by Fr. Benedict said. "Messages are pouring in from all over the world, and we are grateful for your prayers for us and for the people affected."

Three American monks took over the Norcia monastery in 2000 and helped build a brewing business to raise funds to repair and restore the ancient facility. The monks were not available for comment on Monday.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

However, Fr. Benedict's statement added that "we are doing everything possible to help to our suffering neighbors. Please continue to pray Norcia."

Although it was bigger than an Aug. 24 earthquake that killed almost 300 people, no-one died Sunday.

Nuns rushed out of their church in Norcia as the clock tower appeared about to crumble In Rieti, hospital patients fled into the street and and huddled outside under blankets.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially measured the quake at 7.1 but revised it to 6.6.

The country's civil protection agency said the epicenter was between Macerata and Perugia, close to the towns of Castelsantangelo, Norcia and Preci, which were most affected by Wednesday's quakes.

 The Basilica of St. Benedict stands in ruins after a strong quake hit the town of Norcia on Sunday. Matteo Guidelli / AP

The quake hit the same central regions that have been rocked by repeated tremors over the past two months.

Weakened by repeated powerful jolts in recent weeks, many of Norcia's churches, monasteries and chapels were wrecked.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
  • Contributors
  • Reuters
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Leave your email if you’d like us to respond. (Optional)

Please enter a valid email address

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.