Mexico’s first ‘Maradonian Church’ has opened its doors in the town of San Andrés Cholula. An Argentinian resident of the area, Marcelo Buchet, has founded a branch of the religious movement dedicated to legendary footballer Diego Maradona.
“People are happy because they have a place where they can have a say. It’s not like going to another church where you have to sit down and listen. I’ve seen people cry, throw themselves to the floor and pray, I feel better than I’m not the only mad one”, said Buchet, an Argentinian citizen who has lived in Mexico for 20 years.
Within the church building, there is a shrine, with photos of Maradona’s childhood, his great footballing moments, and also photos of him with Fidel Castro and the Pope.
The church is part of an international organized religious movement founded on October 30th, 1998 (Maradona’s 38th birthday) in the city of Rosario, Argentina. It has since grown exponentially and has church buildings in Argentina, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. It’s thought that there are hundreds of thousands of devotees around the world. The faithful do not observe the Gregorian calendar, instead, they consider the year of Maradona’s birth (1960) as year zero.
The movement has its Ten Commandments that all parishes must promote, they are;
- The ball is never stained.
- Love football above all else.
- Declare unconditional love for Diego and the beauty of football.
- Defend the Argentina shirt.
- Spread the news of Diego’s miracles throughout the universe.
- Honour the temples where he played and his sacred shirts.
- Do not proclaim Diego as belonging to any single club.
- Preach and spread the principles of the Church of Maradona.
- Make Diego your middle name and name your first son Diego.
- Do not live estranged from reality and do not be useless in life.
They also have an official prayer;
Our Diego, who art on earth, hallowed be your left hand,
May your magic come to us, may your goals be remembered on earth as they are in heaven.
Give us joy on this day, and forgive those journalists, just as we forgive the Mafia of Naples.
Don’t let us stain the ball and free us from Havelange …
The footballing god provoked an outpouring of grief around the world when he passed away on November 25th, 2020. Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning, for the star who brought national glory to the country’s team, but who is also remembered for his commitment to the cause of the poor.
Maradona was a close friend of Latin America’s leftist leaders such as Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Evo Morales, and was on stage for the famous rally in Mar del Plata, Argentina, to protest against the ALCA free trade agreement that the United States was trying to impose on the region at the time.