Corpus Christi has been surrounded by controversy since its Broadway debut in 1998 when playwright Terrence McNally received death threats for the play, which features Jesus and the Apostles as gay men in modern-day Texas.
Of the backlash throughout the years, McNally has said, "I always thought it was a fake controversy because if you've seen the play, you realize there is really nothing offensive about it except to someone who is rabidly homophobic and believes homosexuality is reason enough to go to hell."
Looks like some Greek priests, and members of the nationalist party Golden Dawn, think it is.
After protests that included black-robed priests holding crucifixes and tearing up posters of the play and dozens of demonstrators blocking the entrance of the theatre during its premiere last month, not only has the Greek run of Corpus Christi been cancelled, but its cast, director and producers have been charged with "insulting religion" and "malicious blasphemy" in a suit filed by Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus.
"It's the bullies and the neo-Naxis clashing outside the theatre who should be put on the stand and not the actors," said Pretros Constantinou, head of the United Against Racism and Fascist Violence Movement. He went on to call the charges a "glorification of the Dark Ages."
The play's director, Laertis Vasilio, is appalled that prosecutors are going after him and other members of the production instead of combating the tax evaders responsible for Greece's near-bankruptcy. "What I see," he said, "is that there are people who have robbed the country blind who are not in jail and the prosecutor turns against art."
If convicted, those charged could face several months in jail.