A Roman Catholic priest and a woman whose purported visions of the Virgin Mary convinced thousands of Italians have been fined $400 for exploiting traditional beliefs.

Officials in the Adriatic city of Pescara on Thursday said city magistrate Renato Preziosi had ordered the pair to pay the fine or spend 20 days in jail.More than 20,000 Italians flocked to a hill near Pescara Feb. 28 after resident Maria Fioritti said the Madonna had told her she would perform a miracle in the sky.

Fioritti was supported by Father Vincenzo Diodati, a professional soccer player turned priest, who said Christ told him in a separate vision that the miracle would take place.

Nothing happened but about 100 people in the crowd said the sun vibrated and turned green. Doctors treated them for eye strain and said they had stared at the sun for too long.