On Sunday, June 6, the new “Croatian Areopagus Museum and Center for Interreligious Dialogue” opened in Zagreb, Croatia. The Croatian Areopagus Center is involved in dialogue between religions and research on new religious movements, sects and cults. The original Center was created by the Province of St. Jerome in Croatia and was opened in 2010, at the Friary of St. Anthony of Padua in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
On the same day that the new museum opened, Sister Maria Laura MAINETTI (1939 – 2000) was beatified. She had been chosen to be the museum’s Patroness. Sister Maria was a member of the Daughters of the Cross Congregation. She was killed “in odium fidei” on June 6, 2000, by three teenage girls who took her life as a sacrifice for a satanic ritual.
This museum contains more than five hundred objects related to paganism, magic, occultism, alternative beliefs, Freemasonry and other practices that are often popular even among the faithful.
The purpose of the museum, as stated by the Minister Provincial and Director of the Croatian Areopagus Museum, Friar Josip BLAŽEVIĆ, “is to proclaim Jesus Christ in the midst of so many idols and idolatries in today’s world, things to which even Christians are exposed.” Friar Josip explained further: “This is precisely what St. Paul did in the Areopagus of Athens (cf. Acts 17:16-34). In the midst of their gods and sacred monuments, St. Paul preached to the Greeks about the ‘unknown God’. Therefore, we want to use the museum to present and explain the incompatibility between Christianity and paganism, whose practices have ensnared many people and caused them trouble. We want to help many who have sinned against the first commandment. The museum is really a gallery of sin, whose aim is to make people recognize this sin so they can leave behind everything that is not from God and lead a fully Christian life.”
Friar Josip is one of Croatia’s leading experts on the New Age Movement and its realities and techniques. He has met many people whose entanglement in these matters has caused them serious problems and he has helped them break free of it. In fact, all of the objects collected in the museum were donated by the people who owned them, or they were found by Friar Josip during his visits to “pagan places.”
The museum has an itinerary that begins with the story of the original sin of Adam and Eve, who were deceived by the evil one; who even today, tries to deceive humanity. It ends with the story of the Apocalypse, where the devil is finally defeated by the Immaculate Conception. In the center of the museum is an image of Blessed Sister Maria Laura MAINETTI, the Patroness of those who have fallen into occultism, because as she was being martyred, she forgave the girls who were killing her.
Friar Zvonimir PERVAN