Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Da Vinci Code Attack

Rosemary's baby, 666, The Da Vinci Code, and the Last Supper? Fiction is turning into fact and the latest from Rome gives haunting pause to all Hell breaking loose across the landscape during a time of killings at a school in Finland to a language school in London just this week.

Reuters today is reporting that a 25-year-old man who tried to kill a priest by stabbing him in a Rome church has told police that he did so after the watching the film The Da Vinci Code and believing himself to be the anti-Christ.

The priest, Rev. Caino Calitri, 68, was in critical condition in a Rome hospital after he was stabbed repeatedly in the neck Tuesday, September 23, 2008, by Marco Luzi, according to Italian media reports, including the Catholic paper Avvenire.

The attack took place at the Santa Marcella church in Rome and left two other worshippers needing treatment.

Police officer Luca Gori, 41, who disarmed Luzi, suffered knife wounds to his stomach as he struggled with him on the floor of the church. Witnesses said Luzi had burst in armed with two knives, and carrying a set of rosary beads. Gori is said to have shouted that he was the ''Antichrist'' as well as talking about The Da Vinci Code.

Police found a note in one of Luzi's pockets reading "this is just the beginning, 666."

The number 666 is known as "the number of the beast" in the "Book of Revelation" in the Bible.

Luzi, who stabbed three other people who had tried to help the priest, told police after his arrest that he had watched The Da Vinci Code on television the night before, September 22.

At his flat nearby, where he lived with his mother Paola, investigators found material on the Apocalypse and the anti-Christ, and the telephone number of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

There was also a large reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, which is at the heart of the mystery in The Da Vinci Code, with a note pointing to one of the disciples reading: "This is the hand in which a knife is hidden".

Police also found a box on which was written "In here are the keys to the Sixth and Seventh Seals, closed by order of Satan and Jesus Christ. Give all these things to the Pope."

A rambling note read: "Between my death and my return many grave events will take place, years will pass, perhaps centuries. Christianity will be reviewed in the light of the new alliance between Jesus and the Madonna". Other notes referred to Islam, Satanism and robots.

Luzi told police: "I am the anti-Christ”, and said he had heard voices telling him to attack the priest, adding: "I have carried out my mission". In his pockets investigators found a rosary and a note reading "This is just the beginning: 666", the mystical number said to refer to Satan.

Neighbours said that Luzi was "a loner, a solitary introvert who sometimes quarrelled violently with his mother". Doctors said Father Canistri was in intensive care, while the pensioner who went to his aid at the church, Antonio Farrace, 78, a retired policeman, was also "in serious condition".

The Peruvian nanny, Rosemary Sotero Rivera, 37, was attacked by Luzi as he ran through a park after fleeing from the church. Witnesses said she threw herself on the three year old girl in her charge to protect her, and was stabbed in the shoulder. (What was the name of "Rosemary's baby" in this event? Very curious.)

The police found various references to the novel by Dan Brown in Luzi's apartment, including a print of the The Last Supper fresco by Leonardo Da Vinci.

One note read "I, the anti-Christ."

The theme of the anti-Christ and Leonardo's fresco figure prominently in the best-selling book and its film adaptation, both of which have been condemned by the Vatican.

The Da Vinci Code outraged the Vatican and some Catholics because of its storyline that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children, creating a royal blood line that Church officials kept secret for centuries.

(Thanks to Todd Campbell at Through The Looking Glass for the tip on this one.)

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