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Pope beatifies Capuccino friar

Rome, April 28: The Pope yesterday beatified a 17th-century friar credited with halting a Muslim invasion of Europe and in the process gave the world Cappuccino coffee.

More than 300 years after his death, Marco d’Aviano cleared the last step before sainthood, as the Pope recognised the friar’s miraculous work, including curing a nun who had been bedridden for 13 years.

When a vast Ottoman Turk army was marching on Vienna in 1683, d’Aviano was sent by the Pope to unite the outnumbered Christian troops.

After a prayer meeting led by d’Aviano, they were spurred to victory.

As the Turks fled, legend has it, they left behind sacks of coffee which the Christians found too bitter, so they sweetened it with honey and milk.

The drink was called Cappuccino after the Capuchin order of monks, to which d’Aviano belonged.

Under a cloudy sky in St Peter’s Square yesterday, the Pope paid tribute to d’Aviano — known in Italy as “Friar Cappucino” — and five other Italians whom he also beatified.

The 82-year-old pontiff has formally beatified 1,310 people, more than all of his predecessors of the past four centuries combined.

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