Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Cosa Nostra boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano was laid to rest today in a cemetery in Corleone, Italy, his birthplace and main base of power. He was denied a funeral at a church for fear of disruption of the public order. A friar said a short prayer from the Gospel of Saint John at the cemetery instead.
The 83-year-old mob boss died last week while serving a life sentence in prison. During his violent and criminal life of sin, Provenzano remained a religious man, frequently quoting the bible. However, some claimed he only did so to further his cause within the Mafia. Using bible quotes as code to run his criminal empire and communicate with underlings.
Sicilian Cosa Nostra has long held a curious relationship with the Catholic church. Many Mafiosi are extremely religious all the while committing violent and deadly crimes – even against members of the church as Gangsters Inc. writer Thom L. Jones detailed in his piece To Kill a Dream: The Sicilian Mafia and the Murder of a Priest
Recently, the wife of Provenzano’s longtime partner-in-crime, Toto Riina, caused a scandal in Italy when a religious procession stopped to pay its respect to “the first lady of Cosa Nostra.” The incident showed how much religion and the Mafia are intertwined on the island.
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