Is this man a hero, a worthy contender for a Darwin Award or both? I suppose your answer will depend on how much of a Donatist you are.


Even after an eruption alert was issued and most villagers on the slopes of Java's Mount Merapi had been evacuated, 83-year old Mbah Maridjan stayed put. The spiritual "guardian" of the mountain, his battle to tame one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes ended on Wednesday when he was buried by the mountain's thick ash. He was reportedly found dead in a prayer position in his house.

Mount Merapi is seen as sacred in the region. For years Maridjan had led ceremonies at the volcano, dispersing rice or flowers in or around the crater in an effort to appease spirits. He believed he had a duty to the late sultan of Yogyakarta, Hamengkubuwono IX, who had appointed him for this purpose.

For many survivors, the region will not be the same without their spiritual protector.

"To us, Maridjan is as important as Merapi. Now that he's no longer around, who's going to look after Merapi? What happens if there's another eruption?" Wanto, a farmer, told AFP news agency.

But, according to the Jakarta Globe, it was not a shock to the Yogyakarta palace, who had been warned of Maridjan's fate from a premonition.

"We had known long before it happened that Mbah Maridjan would be taken by Merapi," the newspaper quoted Gusti Prabukusumo, the brother of the current sultan, as saying.

"Now that he's gone, we have to choose a new gatekeeper soon."

COMMENT: The Jobcentre will probably insist that I go for it.



  1. Perhaps, in the spirit of ecumenism, TEC and the CoE could have a few bishops volunteer. You know, for unity…

  2. Great thinking, Lindy. Just on this side of the pond alone, there are probably at least a half a dozen or so that I could nominate for the post. LOL

  3. Hmm,,,, can we consider ACNA bishops eligible?

    MP, you can always agree to the interview and tell them you are a modern sort who will email the flowers etc.


  4. Also your final day on the job would be a good deal more spectacular than the usual boring round of drinks with workmates at the pub.

  5. On this side of The Pond, we had something (slightly) similar 30 years ago.

    There was old guy w/ the unlikely name of Harry Truman, who lived at the base of Mt. St. Helens (in Washington State). While the professional vulcanologists said “Get the F@ck Out, Harry!”, he was convinced “his mountain” would never turn on him.

    After the epic 5-18-1980 eruption, his body was never found…