At Campofiorito (a little town in Sicily, Italy), immediately after the end of the Second World War, it came to pass that the marshal of the Carabinieri (a militia maintained by the government for police duties), paid dearly and immediately for he dared to mock God.

The little evangelical church and his pastor named Francesco Coppola, after having suffered many persecutions under the Fascist Regime, finally, after the war finished and the Fascist Regime was brought down, had began to gather still at home but publicly. However, the religious authorities as well as the civil and military authorities at Campofiorito were still roaring as lions against the Evangelicals. Those authorities continued to prevent the Evangelicals from gathering and they would continually spy on them. As soon as a brother from another town came to visit them or they heard that the Evangelicals were gathered, immediately the Carabinieri were behind the door and the brothers gathered were taken to the Carabinieri post.

It seemed as if the authorities in Campofiorito had only one job to do, that is, to continue to persecute the sons of God who lived in that town.

One day, brother Francesco Coppola wrote a letter to the competent authorities who were in Rome. The letter was after this manner:

‘We are a group of Pentecostal Evangelicals, we want to gather in order to worship, but the authorities of our town do not allow us to do this. We would like to know whether we are free to gather or not! We are waiting for a kind and prompt reply’.

The answer arrived after several months. The believers continued to gather clandestinely.

One evening, while the brothers were gathered at the home of a family and the door was closed, while they were worshiping, they heard someone knocking on the door. The owner of the house opened the door and he found behind the door the marshal of the Carabinieri with his men who suddenly burst into the house.

Then brother Coppola said: ‘First, allow us to conclude the worship and then take us wherever you want’. So they continued to worship and at the end of the meeting, the Carabinieri took all the believers to the Carabinieri post, where the major, the roman catholic priest, the job centre official and the pharmacist were waiting for them.

So in the presence of the above mentioned persons, the marshal with arrogance began to question brother Coppola; ‘What were you doing?’ – ‘We were worshiping the God of heaven’ replied brother Coppola.

The marshal replied: ‘If I met your God I would strangle Him!’ Brother Coppola immediately rebuked the marshal: ‘You must understand that man is not able to strangle God, but it is God who is able to strangle man!’

But the marshal continued to speak contemptuously, he took a collection of letters among which was a letter who said that brother Coppola was free to gather with his coreligionists. However, even though the marshal had been informed that the Evangelicals were free to gather, he continued to rebuke them and to threaten them. Then brother Francesco Coppola said to the marshal: ‘Since in the letter it is written that we are free to gather to pray to God, why do you continue to threaten and rebuke us?’ The marshal said again: ‘If I met your God I would strangle Him!’ And once again brother Coppola answered him: ‘Be careful what you say, because no one is able to strangle God, but it is God who is able to strangle man. But that evening the marshal continued to despise God and His children, and after he gave vent to his arrogance he released them.

Before morning came, the marshal found himself with a swollen throat. They brought him the first aids at Campofiorito, but all aids were ineffective. They took him to the Hospital of Palermo as an emergency patient, but the doctors could not help him. An evil angina had stricken his throat. He was no longer able to talk or to breathe. Three days later he died. Therefore, it is dangerous to mock the Almighty and Highest God.


From: Castrenze Cascio, Camminare e Spigolare [Walking and gleaning], Corleone, Italy, 2000, pages 38-40