Italy priest stabber inspired by "Da Vinci Code"

Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:28am EDT
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ROME (Reuters) - 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 by Marco Luzi, according to Italian media reports, including the Catholic paper Avvenire.

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.

They also 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.