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A man who was spotted walking on the road with a huge wooden cross around his neck was arrested or impersonating Jesus Christ.

Artist and filmmaker Ilya Novikov, 23, was behind the stunt in the city of Perm in central Russia’s Perm Krai region, Mirror reports.

But he was accused of blasphemy by local church leaders and fell foul of police for being a potential traffic hazard.

A video filmed by an eyewitness shows the bearded artist wearing long flowing white robes as he walks along the pavement with a T-shaped cross.

Motorists and pedestrians shouted insults at Mr Novikov, and one bystander called the police fearing he could distract passing traffic.

Two policemen quickly arrived on the scene to arrest him – but struggled to fit his cross in the back of their patrol car.

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They eventually succeeded and took Mr Novikov to a police station for questioning and he was later released.

Mr Novikov said:

“My friend gave me some wooden sticks so I made a cross out of them. The experience of Jesus Christ was repeated. People were laughing, shouting and mocking me.

“This reaction proves that the Bible story was true and that after 2,000 years people have still not changed – we are still cruel and intolerant to our neighbours.”

But Father Igor Anoufriev, the rector of the city’s Church of St George, condemned the stunt as blasphemy.

“This, of course, offends believers. Nobody has the right to try on the image of Jesus Christ, who is our sacred lord,” he said.

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