On this day… March 17

(The Freeman) - March 17, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – In 1938, “The Tartar Fury,” Rudolph Nureyev, was born on a train traveling to Vladivostock. By the age of six he knew he wanted to be a dancer; at seven he saw his first ballet and was “branded for life”; at 17 he joined the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad. He defected while on tour in Paris in 1961 and began to live “on the fringes of capitalism,” acquiring a large London house and a villa in Monte Carlo. Personally he remains something of an enigma, though his hobby is said to be long-distance telephone calls. He’s been described as “the Brigitte Bardot of Ballet,” and age just doesn’t seem to affect him. “If I stopped dancing,” he says, “then they’d have to take me to the hospital.”

¦ It’s Saint Patrick’s Day. Though he’s the patron saint of Ireland, he was definitely not Irish. He was carried off to Ireland as a slave and spent six years as a swineherd, but no sooner had he escaped than he had a dream telling him that he should preach, so he became a priest and went back to Ireland. That’s assuming that he ever existed in his traditional form at all, for a number of authorities believe he may have been two people – Palladius and Patrick the Brion – who got mixed up into one. Anyway, Saint Patrick is credited with founding holy houses, establishing episcopal see in Armagh, and driving all the snakes out in Ireland!

— from Today’s the Day! By Jeremy Beadle

In Christian history —

¦ In 1856, ex-slave Amanda Smith, renowned evangelist and missionary, was converted. She later dedicated her life to God’s service at the Green Street Methodist Episcopal Church in New York and traveled to England, Scotland, Liberia, and India.

— from This Day in Christian History By William D. Blake

In the Cebu —

In 1957, President Ramon F. Magsaysay, the so-called champion of the Filipino masses, died at the age of 49 in a plane crash in Cebu. He was heading back to Manila after a speaking engagement at three educational institutions in Cebu when the presidential plane "Mt. Pinatubo" crashed on Mt. Manunggal. Manunggal is a mountain range curving like an arm just north of Cebu City. It's such an obscure mountain, its peak rises about 3,000 feet above sea level. Ten minutes after it left Cebu, the Mount Pinatubo confronted Mount Manunggal and was flying toward the central plateau of the range. The plane had lost altitude – from "metal fatigue," according to investigation – but could have cleared the mountain and flown safely beyond it if not for a giant tree standing on the summit. About 14 other bodies, also horribly burned, were thrown out of the plane by the explosion and scattered lower down the hill. A few feet away was another group of  bodies that had been only partially burned. The only survivor, reporter Nestor Mata of the Herald, may owe his luck to the fact that he was thrown out of the plane at the very instant it hit the ground. He had been dozing, was jolted awake by a flash – "like thousands of flashbulbs popping at one time" – felt himself flying, and heard the deafening boom of an explosion. He blacked out. When he awakened, he found himself lying under tall trees, among twisted bits of metal. Magsaysay's vice president, Carlos P. García, who was on an official visit to Australia at the time of the tragedy, assumed the presidency to serve out the last eight months of Magsaysay's term. An estimated two million people attended Magsaysay's burial at the Manila North Cemetery.

— (www.kahimyang.info)

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