Italian Man Attacks Priest After Watching 'Da Vinci Code'

Published September 24, 2008

| London Times

A priest in Rome is fighting for his life after being stabbed in the neck and stomach by a deranged man who had just watched "The Da Vinci Code" film on TV.

Eyewitnesses said that Marco Luzi, 25, asked to see Father Canio Canistri, 68, parish priest at the church of Santa Marcella, and then attacked him with a knife hidden in a cloth. An elderly parishioner who came to the priest's aide is also in serious condition.

A Peruvian nanny and a policeman were also injured as the assailant fled through a nearby park. Police said Luzi, a former medical student with a history of psychiatric problems, had admitted watching the film version of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" on television the night before the frenzied assault.

At his apartment nearby, where he lived with his mother Paola, investigators found material on the Apocalypse and the Antichrist, and the telephone number of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's 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.

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