"Reports of these ossuaries first emerged several years ago," said Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy chief spokesman for the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchy.
Media reports said Sunday that American film producers planned to release a documentary in March, followed by a feature film, about ossuaries discovered in Jerusalem in 1980 allegedly bearing the names of Jesus Christ, his "wife" and "son." The films are expected to elaborate on the results of a scientific examination of the remains.
Chaplin said that such "sensations" tended to last less and less time, citing the examples of ancient attempts to rewrite the Genesis, which survived a few centuries, and the controversial novel "The Last Temptation of Christ" by Nikos Kazantzakis, which, he said, was a subject of discussion for a few years.
He added that debates on the book The Da Vinci Code, which was followed by an eponymous film, lasted only a few months.
"This story is unlikely to make it for more than a few weeks," Chaplin said.
Igor Kovalevsky, general secretary of the Russian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said reports about "Jesus remains" emerged regularly. "The 'tomb' of Jesus has even been 'found' in Kashmir [India]," he said.
Kovalevsky said such "sensational" publications appear every year in the run-up to Easter to take advantage of people's religious ignorance.
"That is what happened with the Judas Gospel and the screen version of the Da Vinci Code, and now we have a new sensation," the priest said.
Damir Gizatullin, deputy head of the Mufti Council, echoed the other church officials and said the reports about Jesus "remains" were a "pseudo-sensation."
"We think it is one of those cases when people want to attract attention at all costs," he said.