The Turin shroud isn't the only ‘divine' relic drawing tourists to the northern Italian city, it would seem. For the past few weeks a man dressed as none other than Jesus has been spotted wandering around Turin, much to the delight of locals and tourists.
Clad in white robes and sandals, the mysterious impersonator was spotted hugging passers-by, telling parables and posing for photos with tourists, who are then encouraged to put their spare change into a basket labelled 'Jesus Crowdfunding'.
'Jesus' poses with tourists for a photo. Photo: MALNATO
But not everyone is charmed by the man's messianic presence and he has apparently been stopped five times by police.
On his Facebook page “Jesus in Turin”, in which the man documents his journey through the city, he described being stopped by police for the third time.
“It's the sixth day in Turin. I'm near the Duomo, hugging people for free. The police are checking me for the third time.
"Some worshippers have complained," they said:‘We have to intervene, you see? Be good and stay far away from this area… You've already been warned.'
‘But what law am I breaking?'
‘That of good sense.'
‘But there's no good sense in all that. If you want I can give you a hug.'
‘If you want I can take you to the police station.'
The Jesus impersonator is stopped by police. Photo: MALNATO
By Monday afternoon the Facebook page had over 10,000 ‘likes', with several of his virtual ‘disciples' posting messages of support.
“Continue on your way… you're not doing anything wrong!!! You're not breaking any law!” wrote one Facebook user.
“I don't know who you are or why you are doing all this, but I think you're amazing,” chimed in another.
According to Corriere della Sera the man lost his job as a film editor, spurring him to find more creative ways of making money.
'Jesus' walks on water. Photo: MALNATO