Kostis Georgiou, a Greek artist, has flat out denied that his statue – the Phylax – was created to honour the Devil.
But some Christians don’t believe him, and are demanding that the artwork – installed near the Palaio Faliro marina in Trokadero, south of Athens last December – should be removed.
According to this report, more than 100 Christian residents, led by a priest, converged on the statue earlier this month to wave Greek flags, brandish icons and sing hymns during a protest.
The priest sprinkled holy water on the statue to “exorcise its demons”.
The statue has suffered two vandalism attacks since its installation on December 5. What may have caused concerns among the Christians is that the Palaio Faliro Municipality named the statue “guardian-angel” of the South Athens suburb.
Mayor Dionysis Hatzidakis said the Phylax does not represent any Christian guardian angel.
Local parish priest Patapios Argyros wrote in an open letter to the Mayor:
The sculpture is a demon and a soldier of Satan that, instead of being honoured, must be despised as blasphemous to the holy trinity. It is an affront to Orthodoxy and the Christian faith.
Who says that the colour of Satan is red? There are angels with red wings and red hair.
He told Greek Channel Skai TV the criticism was being led by “a hate preacher”.
It is supposed that the opponents are Christians but their soul is anti-Christian. The work is independent of any approach to religious symbols and emblems. If they want to demolish, let them do it. If they want to burn it, let them burn it as they were burning books in the past.
In this report of the brouhaha it’s pointed out that phylax is an ancient Greek word meaning watcher, guard, guardian or protector. It was gifted to Palaio Faliro by the the Martinos shipping family.