The installation of a red "Lucifer" statue called the Phylax at a local square in Athens, Greece, has prompted more than 100 Christians including their priest to march in protest and demand that the sculpture be taken down.
On Dec. 5, the Phylax sculpture by artist Kostis Georgiou was put up near the Palaio Faliro marina in Trokadero in between the Agios Georgios and Agia Skepi chapels. The statue, which was commissioned by the Martinos shipping family, has stirred division among Greek scholars and church officials over what it stands for, Neos Kosmos reported.
The Palaio Faliro Municipality, to which the Phylax statue was donated, named it the "guardian-angel" of the South Athens suburb. However, Mayor Dionysis Hatzidakis and the council have already clarified that the sculpture does not represent the guardian angel of the Christian faith.
According to some locals, the red naked man with wings symbolizes Lucifer. However, Georgiou defended his artwork, telling Greek Channel Skai TV that the color red was not exclusive to Satan and that there were angels that sported wings and hair of the similar color.
Georgiou also pointed out that a similar artwork was installed in Mykonos this past summer, but it sparked no such reactions. He denied that the sculpture was satanic and anti-Christ, The Greek Reporter relayed.
Last week, around 100 parishioners marched from Panagia Myrtidiotissa church to the Phylax statue. Their local priest scattered holy water on the statue in an act of exorcism.
"The sculpture is a demon and a soldier of Satan that, instead of being honoured, must be despised as blasphemous to the holy trinity," said parish priest Patapios Argyros in an open letter to Mayor Hatzidakis. "It is an affront to Orthodoxy and the Christian faith."
The Phylax sculpture has already been vandalized twice after it was installed. Vandals had flung red paint on the structure, and the power that kept it illuminated at night was cut. Residents have also launched a signature campaign in a bid to have the offending structure taken down.