Papa Palmérino Sorgente, the Pope of Montréal
February 28, 2008 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Papa Palmérino Sorgente, the Pope of Montréal

Here's more photos of him and his art and here he is on YouTube in action and also on Google Video. More photos embedded in Flash in the Made in Montréal page for him. He's a bit dour in those but here he is smiling, straight out of Pixar's Geri's Game. I met this guy in the fall of Y2K while visiting “La Ville Aux Cent Clochers” / “The City of a Hundred Belltowers”. Flatluigi's recent post reminded me of him.

He's a cool, talkative, and cheerful, if not entirely there, artiste of the grassroots genre. As you can tell by the frame of that first photo the Bedazzler was made for this man.

It was quite confusing to try to carry on a conversation with him in my limited French until I realized that he didn't speak that language. (Or maybe his accent was so heavy I couldn't understand him.) According to the amusing anecdote on this page (in French) Papa Palmérino is a Kosovar. Though elsewhere it shows he emigrated to Canada from Italy.

The YT video doesn't really do justice to what it's like being in his little shop, Le Musée de Papa Palmérino, but the Montréal Mirror says it best:
If religious collectibles are your thing, this place may be your little slice of heaven. The place is chock-full of Jesuses--statues big and small, crucifixes, key chains, mugs. Seems Papa is quite the Jesus fan, which makes sense, considering he believes himself to be his brother. Ask him to show you framed photos of himself mounted on a cross (I didn't ask if these were for sale). Papa Palmerino sells a wide variety of other religious doo-dads including rosary beads, candles and rings he claims cure arthritis. Even if the ‘Second Coming’ isn't quite the motif you're going for in decorating your house, this place is worth visiting for the browsing and... uh... conversation.
(Not sure if that's clear, but he actually has photos of himself mock-crucified, loincloth and crown of thorns and everything.)

I don't know if he's still truckin' because he was 85 years old in 2003. I guess his shop burned down a couple of months after I met him!

This person, Jona Pelovska, seems to have made a documentary about him. Her MySpace page says “in post-production.”
posted by XMLicious (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yay, namedrop!
posted by flatluigi at 9:28 PM on February 28, 2008

Good call on the Geri's Game separated-at-birth. And for not including the batshitinsane tag, thank you.
posted by not_on_display at 10:00 PM on February 28, 2008

I just noticed that in the photo of him smiling and wearing his crown he's standing in front of the handwritten sign with directions to the bathroom. That's so totally him.
posted by XMLicious at 10:11 PM on February 28, 2008

In one of the links it said that he did rebuild his shop after the fire… just noticed a video amongst all the crazy Flash stuff in the Made in Montreal page, which seems to be a clearer version of the Google Video, and it ends with “Papa Palmérino: 1919-2005” so I guess he has passed to that big trinket shop / art gallery in the sky. Good show someone made a documentary about him first.

posted by XMLicious at 11:15 PM on February 28, 2008

Tag much?
posted by oddman at 5:49 AM on February 29, 2008

I find this interesting.
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 7:24 AM on February 29, 2008

I bet that Emperor Norton the First of San Francisco could have totally kicked his ass.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:51 PM on February 29, 2008

Hmm... I can't decide whether the crown or the beaver hat with feathers is more formidable.
posted by XMLicious at 3:08 PM on February 29, 2008

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