Artists jailed in Greece over ‘gay Jesus’ play

Scene from the play "Corpus Christi"BY KRISTINA CHEW

Blasphemy charges have been filed in Greece against actors, a producer and a director who staged an American play depicting Jesus and his apostles as gay. Earlier this month, the production of the play “Corpus Christi” had been cancelled in Athens after weeks of daily protests by priests from Greece’s Orthodox Church, members of the far-right party, the Golden Dawn, and other right-wing protesters. These demonstrations and the blasphemy charges, filed by Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus, are all more signs of a rise in right-wing sentiment in Greece, also evidenced in reports of violent attacks on immigrants and the government’s implementation of its “Xenios Zeus” policy, a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The director, Albanian-born Laertis Vasiliou, expressed disbelief that authorities have made such a huge issue about the play. Meanwhile, Greece is struggling in an ongoing economic crisis, five years of recession, unemployment over 25 percent and authorities seeking to privatize a number of state properties, including the ports of the Piraeus and of Thessaloniki. In a reference to the tax evaders and those who have brought the country nearly into bankruptcy, Visilious said, “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.”


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