Merry Christmas – again.

Today is Christmas Eve according to the old calendar, and tonight millions of people (including Ukrainians like me) celebrate with a twelve-dish dinner.

With the disaster surrounding us and a house full of smoke, this is going to be an odd one.

ПимоненкоСтрастныйчетвергUkrainian Easter by Mykola Pymonenko 1887

On this day: a film premiere in 1900

 Embarquement_d'un_bœuf,_Gabriel_VeyreEarly French filmmaker Gabriel Veyre premiered (Through Indochina (1st series). Bull being loaded on a ship) in Lyon on the 18th of November.

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Early French filmmaker Gabriel Veyre premiered À travers l’Indochine (1° série). Embarquement d’un boeuf à bord d’un navire (Through Indochina (1st series). Bull being loaded on a ship) in Lyon.

It was part of a series recorded in Tonkin (present-day Vietnam) between 1899 and 1900.

On this day: an assassination attempt in Belgium

Assassination_attempt_on_king_Leopold_II_of_Belgium_in_Bruxelles_1902Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino tried - and failed to assassinate Belgian King Leopold II in Brussels on the 15th of

Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino tried – and failed to assassinate Belgian King Leopold II in Brussels on the 15th of November, 1902.

1902Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino tried - and failed to assassinate Belgian King Leopold II in Brussels on the 15th of November, 1902. Gennaro Rubino in 1894.

The would-be assassin in 1894.

The King, who was returning from a service to honour his wife Marie Henriette, who had died two months earlier, was not hit by any of the three bullets Rubino fired. However, Grand Marshall, Count Charles John d’Oultremont was nearly killed.

Rubino, who had fled Italy to avoid a lengthy prison sentence there, died in prison in 1918. Prior to the failed assassination, he had been working in Britain as a spy on Italian anarchists – a position he lost when it was discovered he sympathised with them.

At the time of the attempt on his life, the King – in his late sixties – had been estranged from his wife for some time, and had taken a teenage girl as his mistress. He died in December, 1909.

On this day: the death of a Russian imperialist

Муравьёв-Виленский_литографияCount Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov 12 October 1796 in Moscow – 12 September 1866 in Saint Petersburg) imperial statesman forced

In 1865

Count Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov, a Russian imperial statesman infamous for his policies of forced Russification across the empire, died on the 12h of September, 1866.

Born in Moscow in 1796, Muravyov worked hard in what is now Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus to suppress nationalism by targeting religion and language. Catholic churches were torn down, and schools teaching in Polish and Lithuanian languages were closed. Russian teachers were brought in from elsewhere to take over the education system.

St_Joseph_Church_demolitionSt. Joseph the Betrothed Church in Vilnius being demolished by the tsarist authorities in 1877 to enforce Russification policies. Lithuania Russia cultural gen

A Catholic church in Vilnius being torn down in 1877.

Additionally, the Roman alphabet was banned, and replaced with Cyrillic.

Similar policies were put in place by Russian officials in other regions – particularly Ukraine – and continued to be used by the Soviets.

Muravyov was recorded as saying: ‘What the Russian rifle did not succeed in doing, will be finished off by Russian schools.’

On this day: the death of Pope Pius IX

IX__Piusz_pápaPope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, who reigned from 16 June 1846 to his death in 1878.

Pope Pius IX, head of the Catholic Church, died in the Apostolic Palace in Rome on the 7th of February, 1878.

Pio_IX_04Foto scattata nel 1862 ad Anzio - autore naturalmente deceduto da oltre 100 anni Pope Pius IX 19th Century Catholicism Christian

Photographed in the 1860s

Born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti in 1792, the Italian port town of Senigallia, Pius IX became the longest-running elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, with a papacy that lasted for over thirty-one years, from the 16th of June, 1846 until his death.

The Pope was beatified on the 3rd of September, 2000.