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Moscow Patriarchy criticizes Da Vinci Code release in Russia

MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Patriarchy condemned Tuesday the release in Russia of the film adaptation of Dan Brown's controversial bestseller, The Da Vince Code.

The book, which centers on a conspiracy to cover up the true story of Jesus Christ, has caused a storm of controversy around the world.

"The screening in Russian movie theaters of The Da Vinci Code, which gives a contorted and insulting interpretation of evangelic history, is a cause for regret," said Bishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, deputy head of the patriarchy's foreign church relations department.

He said such events "could provoke a religious split of the nation" and cited the example of the recent scandal over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

"The reaction of Christians to such insults is usually more restrained and is not expressed in acts of violence," the archbishop said. "But this does not weaken the pain of clergymen from the insult."

He said the movie, which stars two-time Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, would have more influence on people than the book.

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