A topless Ukrainian female activist was arrested at the Vatican Christmas Day, a Vatican spokesman says. Apparently, her bare breasts were only part of the problem -- she had grabbed the Nativity statue of the baby Jesus Christ as well.
The Guardian reported Dec. 27 that, according to spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, the woman, Yana Zhdanova, met with the Vatican prosecutor on Saturday. He ordered her freed. She was told the conditions of her release were that she was to never return and set foot on Vatican property again.
Yana Zhdanova is a Femen protester. She shouted anti-Christian slogans when she bared her breasts in St. Peter's Square Thursday, about an hour after Pope Francis had greeted and blessed the massed crowds of faithful for Christmas. A Vatican guard quickly covered the woman's chest, which had the words "God is woman" stenciled across her breasts, with his cloak, taking her into Vatican custody. She remained in a cell in the Vatican for two days.
According to an earlier report, Zhdanova, after rendering herself topless, had ran to the Nativity, scooping up the statue of the baby Jesus. She still held the figure in her hands as the Vatican guard attempted to cover her and arrest her at the same time. She was subsequently charged with “disturbing the peace, obscene acts in a public place, and theft.”
Lombardi said after the arrest that the Femen protester's actions “must be regarded as extremely serious due to the setting and circumstances that intentionally offend the religious sentiments of a very large number of people." The Vatican had the choice of trying Zhdanova in a Vatican court or having her expelled to be tried in an Italian court. However, it was decided to do neither.
But Yana Zhdanova's detention wasn't the only one in the past few days. Italian businessman Marcello di Finizio is currently being held in a Vatican cell. He was arrested Friday after scaling the facade of St Peter’s basilica to protest an EU directive that would impact the seaside resort he runs in Trieste.
There was even more strange news coming from Vatican City: The Turkish gunman who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981 laid flowers at the tomb of the late Pope (who is now a saint) Saturday. A surprise for Vatican officials, CBS News reported that it is believed to be the first time Mehmet Ali Agca has visited the city since the shooting. Pope John Paul II visited Agca in a Rome prison in 1983, forgiving him for the assassination attempt, and worked to secure his release from prison in 2000. Saturday, Dec. 27, was the 31st anniversary of Agca's meeting with the pope.