That is Sergei Chapnin, a Russian Orthodox journalist. And that is a bottle of grappa, made here in the Trento region. And a group of us lingered after lunch, taking refuge from the oppressive heat, to drink toasts to Our Lady the Theotokos, to Russian-American friendship, and other things. (There were a lot of toasts.) Here is Sergei and Patrick Deneen:
I had decided that no, I could not let myself drink grappa after lunch, not in this heat. But my patriotic feeling overcame my scruples. I could not let down America, not in front of the Russians:
Here was lunch:
And here was dessert. The law professor in this photo said, of the gelato and berries, “Can you believe this is so good?” No, I couldn’t:
Toward the end of our grappafest, we raised a glass to American-Russian friendship. I told the Russians that growing up in the Cold War, I was sure that one day, we would have to fight them. But it did not work out that way, and that is a divine blessing.
I will write later about the conference on Tradition. But first, a siesta. I trust that you understand.