January 2013 Church & State | AU Bulletin

 

The producer, cast and crew of a play depicting Jesus and the apostles as gay have been charged with blasphemy in Greece.

The American play, “Corpus Christi,” was set to be staged in Athens but was cancelled in November after ongoing protests by priests and right-wing groups like the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, Reuters reported.

The criminal charges came after Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus filed a lawsuit on grounds of “insulting religion” and “malicious blasphemy” against director Laertis Vasiliou and others involved with the play. If convicted, Vasiliou and the others could face a few months in prison, Reuters said.

Vasiliou told Reuters that Greece’s priorities are off given the country’s well known financial turmoil. 

“What I see is that there are people who have robbed the country blind who are not in jail and the prosecutor turns against art,” he said.

Reuters reported that the charges were condemned by anti-fascist groups.

“It’s the bullies and the neo-Nazis clashing outside the theatre who should be put on the stand and not the actors,” said Petros Constantinou, head of the United Against Racism and Fascist Violence Movement.

Constantinou also called the charges a “glorification of the Dark Ages,” adding that “the government is panicking and it’s looking to the far-right for crutches.”