Plans for "Eye of Sauron" on Moscow Skyscraper Canceled

Eye of Sauron Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Eye of Sauron Still - H 2014

The idea was abandoned after criticism from the Orthodox Church

Plans to light a gigantic Eye of Sauron on a Moscow skyscraper on the occasion of the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies were canceled amidst criticism from the Orthodox church.

"Unfortunately, we have to suspend the project The Eye of Sauron," the art group Svecheniye (Luminescence), which was hired to create and install a light structure by the developer Gals Development, said in a press release, quoted by the news agency RIA Novosti.

Earlier, Gals Development announced that a light installation in the shape of the Eye of Sauron, put up on top of a skyscraper that it erected in Moskva-City, a commercial district in Central Moscow, would shine from 6 p.m. on December 11 to 3 a.m. on December 12 to mark the release of the new Hobbit movie, the online newspaper reported.

However, as soon as the project was announced, the Russian Orthodox church criticized its "demonic" nature.

"In any case, this is a demonic symbol," Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, said on the air of the FM radio station Govorit Moskva, adding that the installation of a symbol of that kind on one of Moscow's tallest buildings would be "bad" for the city.

City Hall was also unimpressed with the idea. Vladimir Yakovlev, head of the Moscow city government's media and advertisement department, was quoted by the news agency RIA Novosti as saying that the light installation would technically be considered an advertisement and would be illegal unless approval is obtained from City Hall.

While Luminescence claimed the installation had nothing to do with religion or politics, the art group chose to scrap the idea.

"The project has no religious or political subtext," it said in a press release, adding that the creators of the project did not think it could hurt someone's feelings.

A spokesperson for Gals Development confirmed to that the plans to install the Eye of Sauron were canceled but would provide no further comments.

Recently, Russian Orthodox activists have often protested against cultural events. This fall, they were able to get several dates of Cannibal Corpse's Russian tour canceled.