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food / travel

Argentine Historian Finds Pope's Real Birthplace Home

Exclusive: A historian has identified Pope Francis' birthplace in Buenos Aires, after false reports of where he was born circulated following his election last year.

Pilgrimage to Varela 268?
Pilgrimage to Varela 268?
Romina Smith

BUENOS AIRES — Until recently, Pope Francis was reported to have been born at No. 531 Membrillar Street in the district of Flores in Buenos Aires. You would think he might have checked his address, but it took a local historian, Daniel Vargas, to investigate and locate his correct birth and childhood address nearby, at Varela 268, also in the capital's Flores zone.

Some now want the simple but pleasant-looking white building, with an air conditioning unit sticking out of the façade, to be registered as a city monument.

Vargas, an employee of the Buenos Aires city legislature, began researching the matter soon after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born 1936, became Pope Francis in March 2013. He told Clarín that the "euphoric testimonies" being made about Francis then were citing the Membrillar house as his birth address, and this was being written down as fact — but he had merely lived in that house for a time. His birth certificate clarifies that "Bergoglio was born in his parents' house."

Vargas sent his findings to the Pope who he says personally "received and confirmed them" and thanked him.

"In one of his constant gestures of humility, he phoned me twice at the office, encouraged me and gave me new data."

Vargas has asked the city legislature to vote to turn the house into a Historic Site and Cultural Heritage monument.

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