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Friday, March 21, 2008

It happened in Assissi, Italy

There are still quiet along the ocean freaque waves front. I thought I'll take my blogger's prerogative to present a rather pleasant freaque news that's not wave, science, or climate related. May be they are all implicitly related. Especially as today is the Good Friday of 2008.

I am talking about this picture:

Yes, that was the historically famous face in the middle accompanied by two Franciscan friars. I got this picture from the email from Dr. Robert Moynihan of the Inside the Vatican magazine with this captions:
The former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, walks in Assisi, Italy, with Franciscan friars. Gorbachev visited Assisi recently to pray at the tomb of St. Francis, who lived 800 years ago, from 1181-1226
and this news:
Mikhail Gorbachev, has acknowledged his Christian faith for the first time, paying a visit to pray at the tomb of St Francis of Assisi. The visit, which reportedly took place on Saturday, March 15, was evidently a surprise. It is not clear whether there was any preparation whatsoever, even informally. The Italian news agency AGI launched the story on March 15 with these words: "A pleasant surprise today for the friars of the Sacro Convento (of Assisi): Mikhail Gorbachev, accompanied by his daughter, paid an unexpected visit to the Basilica of St. Francis."

Accompanied by his daughter Irina, Mr Gorbachev spent half an hour on his knees in silent prayer at the tomb.

His arrival in Assisi was described as "spiritual perestroika" by La Stampa, the Italian newspaper.

"St Francis is, for me, the alter Christus [the Latin for "another Christ"], the other Christ," said Mr Gorbachev. "His story fascinates me and has played a fundamental role in my life," he added.

Mr Gorbachev's surprise visit confirmed decades of rumours that, although he was forced to publicly pronounce himself an atheist, he was in fact a Christian, and casts a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1989 in a new light.

Mr Gorbachev, 77, was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church and his parents were Christians.

In addition, the parents of his wife Raisa were deeply religious and were killed during the Second World War for having religious icons in their home.

Ronald Reagan, the former United States president, allegedly told his close aides on a number of occasions that he felt his opponent during the Cold War was a "closet believer."

Mr Reagan held deep religious convictions himself. However, until now Mr Gorbachev has allowed himself to express only pantheistic views, saying in one interview "nature is my god."

Here's a picture of the tomb of St. Francis of Assissi, beneath the Basilica of San Francesco in Assissi, Italy:
Since I don't watch or read drive-by media in general, I don't know if they have reported this case. The news will certainly not be appreciated by the politically correctness gang. The U.K. Telegraph and Times Online among others have reported the news.

My rather biased notion that "a commie is always a commie" may need to be revised. Gorbachev's historical position is still to be developed in history. Especially hearing these of his words:
"I feel very emotional to be here at such an important place not only for the Catholic faith, but for all humanity."
Dr. Moynihan pointed out common misconception which I share:
That press report got one significant detail wrong. Francis was never a priest. A deacon, yes. A priest, no.
I guess when you become a saint, earthly title is really not that important anyway!

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