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Russian Church slams Tolkien evil eye plan for Moscow skyscraper

The Russian Orthodox Church warned Tuesday of dire consequences for Moscow if plans proceed for a skyscraper light installation modelled on the all-seeing evil eye at the centre of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels.

A property company plans to raise what resembles a giant glowing eye on the 21st floor of a skyscraper this week to celebrate the release of the final part of Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of “The Hobbit.”

In Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and also in the subsequent “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the Eye of Sauron is a giant flaming eye controlled by the “dark lord” Sauron and allowing him to watch anyone who puts on the fateful, power-giving ring.

The installation is planned as a 10-metre (33 foot) sphere on top of a 21-storey building, with a light show projecting from behind to create a 3-D effect, said Polina Murova, spokeswoman for the property company behind the stunt.

But for the Russian Orthodox Church, the evil eye is no fiction.

“This is a demonic symbol,” the Russian Orthodox Church’s head of public affairs, Vsevolod Chaplin told Govorit Moskva radio station.

“Such a symbol of the triumph of evil is rising up over the city, becoming practically the highest object in the city. 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 eye is due to be switched on Thursday evening and to remain lit for seven hours, the property company that owns the tower, Hals Development, announced, saying it was designed by a group of designers called Svecheniye, or Radiance.

Murova insisted the project was “not a promotion” for the film, but that the designers were simply fans and had approached the company with the idea.

Whether or not divine intervention was involved was unclear, but forecasts of heavy snowfall were threatening to scupper the project, Murova said.

Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”, the final part of his three-part version of the Tolkien book, stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.