A man has been arrested for impersonating Jesus Christ after he was spotted walking along a road carrying a huge wooden cross on his back.
Artist and filmmaker Ilya Novikov, 23, was behind the stunt in the city of Perm in central Russia’s Perm Krai region.
But he was accused of blasphemy by local church leaders and fell foul of police for being a potential traffic hazard.
A video filmed by an eyewitness shows the bearded artist wearing long flowing white robes as he walks along the pavement with a T-shaped cross.
The man was impersonating Jesus Christ and carrying a huge wooden cross on his back
Motorists and pedestrians shouted insults at Mr Novikov, and one bystander called the police fearing he could distract passing traffic.
Two policemen quickly arrived on the scene to arrest him – but struggled to fit his cross in the back of their patrol car.
They eventually succeeded and took Mr Novikov to a police station for questioning and he was later released.
A police spokesman said: “A man in white clothes, carrying a cross, was spotted by onlookers and police were called to the scene. Officers talked with the man at the police station and let him go.”
Russians arrest man for impersonating Jesus after he is found walking along road with giant cross on his back
Mr Novikov said: “My friend gave me some wooden sticks so I made a cross out of them. The experience of Jesus Christ was repeated. People were laughing, shouting and mocking me.
“This reaction proves that the Bible story was true and that after 2,000 years people have still not changed – we are still cruel and intolerant to our neighbours.”
But Father Igor Anoufriev, the rector of the city’s Church of St George, condemned the stunt as blasphemy.
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