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Orthodox Church criticism halts plans to build Eye of Sauron in Moscow

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Eye Of Sauron

After the project received some criticism, a Russian art group’s plans to build an actual Eye of Sauron—without all of the orc labor, of course—in Moscow have been scrapped.

Svechenie, a Russian art group, planned to attach a real-life recreation of the Eye of Sauron—the all-seeing evil eye that looks like an ever-burning fireball—to the 21st floor of a Moscow skyscraper. While not officially commissioned as promotion, the group wanted to celebrate the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

When the project was made public, however, Svechenie faced some blowback for the project, not just because the Eye is horribly creepy, but because the Russian Orthodox Church spoke out against their plans.

“This is a demonic symbol,” Vsevolod Chaplin, the Russian Orthodox Church’s head of public affairs, said in an appearance on the Russian radio station Govorit Moskva, according to The Telegraph.

“Such a symbol of the triumph of evil is rising up over the city, becoming practically the highest object in the city,” he continued. “Is that good or bad? I’m afraid it’s more likely bad. Just don’t be surprised later if something goes wrong with the city.”

The denouncement of the project was enough to cause Svechenie to cancel the project according to a press statement to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. The Eye would have been revealed on Dec. 11 if the public reaction to it, both from the Church and the general public, had not been so negative.

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According to RIA Novosti, Moscow’s City Hall had intended to dismantle the installation if it had been completed, but Svechenie decided to stop their plans after having “elicited such a public reaction.” Svechenie, likely in response to the Orthodox Church’s condemnation, stated that the project was meant more as a group of fans’ celebration of the film and did not “have a religious or political subtext.”

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