Greece's Orthodox Church: 'Da Vinci Code' False, Offensive

Greece's powerful Orthodox Church has blasted the "ridiculous content" of the movie "The Da Vinci Code," which opens in Athens Thursday, but stopped short of calling for its boycott.

The church said the film was a "false and offensive portrayal of the Christian faith."

"We are not about to recommend to anyone to watch or not watch the film," it said in a statement this week. "Those who, of their own free will, do watch it will be able to understand its falsehoods and reject its ridiculous content."

CountryWatch: Greece

The film version of Dan Brown's best-selling novel has upset believers across the theological spectrum with its plot revolving around Jesus' marrying Mary Magdalene and a conspiracy to cover up their relationship.

"Christ never married. ... Our Lord as the perfect God and man, without sin, did not have human urges and passions," the church's statement said.

As well as depicting the couple as having children, Brown's novel has scholarly characters dismiss the Bible and church teachings about Jesus as fraudulent.

Director Ron Howard has rejected pleas for an on-screen disclaimer labeling the movie as fiction.