Hundreds in Moldova protest "The Da Vinci Code"

Some 500 Orthodox believers, joined by priests and monks, rang bells and held up banners outside a movie theater to protest the "The Da Vinci Code."

Protesters carried banners saying: "Sons and daughters of the Orthodox Church, turn against Western ways. The Orthodox Church is the mother of our nation." They urged filmgoers not to attend the Moldovan premiere of the film Thursday night at the Patria theater in downtown Chisinau.

The film "made fun of Christ's church," said Vadim Cheibas, an Orthodox priest. He objected to portrayal of Jesus as "a simple man with vices and human passions, and descendants, which contravenes the doctrine of the Orthodox Church."

"It is an artistic piece of work, not a religious one," said Victor Shelin, manager of the movie theater.

Like the best-selling novel on which it is based, the movie's plot centers on the contention that Jesus and a follower, Mary Magdalene, bore children, a premise that has led senior Vatican officials to call the story offensive and to urge a boycott, reports the AP.