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Romania: Orthodox Church blasts posters of doctors as saints

BUCHAREST – Romania’s Orthodox Church on Wednesday criticized a billboard campaign showing doctors dealing with the coronavirus epidemic as saints with halos shaped like the virus.

According to a church spokesman, the “blasphemous” campaign created by international advertising agency McCann Worldgroup in conjunction with local artist Wanda Hutira is "a visual abuse of Christian iconography.”

The campaign is “marked by bad taste fed by ignorance and a hideous ideology that only knows how to caricaturize Christianity,” said spokesman Vasile Banescu.

The posters, which could be seen this week in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, were also offensive to doctors who “do not think of themselves as saints ... and do not ask for public worship,” Banescu said, claiming that the campaign promotes “a dystopian vision of the situation caused by the pandemic.”

In response to the criticism, Bucharest officials said they would ask the posters to be taken down.

While the Catholic Church in Romania did not take an official position on the campaign, Serban Tarciziu, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Bucharest, told local media that he appreciated “the attempt to illustrate a beautiful idea in the visual style” of some religions.

Romania has reported 11,978 coronavirus cases and 681 deaths.