The newly illumined Russell Crowe?

gladiatorHey, I'll admit it. The Associated Press got my attention with this story:

Russell Crowe, who is 43, says he's planning to be baptized.

"I'd like to do it this year," the Oscar-winning actor tells Men's Journal. "My mom and dad decided to let my brother and me make our own decisions about God when we got to the right age. I started thinking recently, 'If I believe it is important to baptize my kids, why not me?'"

Hold on, because this gets a bit more complicated and, to be perfectly honest about it, the AP report has left out a crucial piece of information.

Here goes nothing:

Crowe says the baptism will take place in the Byzantine chapel he built at his country ranch in Australia for his wedding to Danielle Spencer in 2003. The couple have two sons, 3-year-old Charlie and 1-year-old Tennyson.

"It is consecrated and everything," Crowe says in the magazine's December issue, now on newsstands. "Charlie was baptized there. And when Tennyson gets baptized there, I will, too."

Crowe -- a reformed Aussie bad boy with a reputation for throwing temper tantrums -- is more spiritual than people may think. "I do believe there are more important things than what is in the mind of a man," he says. "There is something much bigger that drives us all. I'm willing to take that leap of faith."

Now, inquiring liturgical minds will want to know the answer to the obvious question (which clearly was not obvious to the wire-service people who wrote and edited this story). What, pray tell, does the word "Byzantine" mean in that sentence about the private chapel on Crowe's ranch? And who consecrated it?

Is this Byzantine as in Eastern Orthodox? Is this a Byzantine-rite Catholic chapel? Is Crowe planning to swim the Tiber or the Bosporus?

Stay tuned.

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