Naked protest at St Peter’s Basilica: Man strips and stands on main altar in Ukraine war demonstration before Vatican guards take him away
- The tourist stripped off his clothes and stood naked on the main altar
- The protester appeared to have ‘Save children in Ukraine’ scrawled on his back
Visitors to St. Peter’s Basilica got an unexpected eyeful on Thursday when a naked man jumped onto the Vatican church’s high altar.
The tourist stripped off his clothes and stood naked on the main altar at the centre of the church to protest the war in Ukraine.
The unclad protester, who was not identified, appeared to have the words ‘Save children in Ukraine’ scrawled across his back in black marker pen.
He wore nothing but his socks and shoes as fellow visitors stood aghast at his disrobed state underneath St. Peter’s Baldachin where the saint is entombed beneath.
Others snapped photos of the surprise moment at the sixteenth-century church, Silere Non Possum reported, which some Italian media called a blasphemous act.
The protester wore nothing but his socks and shoes as fellow visitors stood aghast at his disrobed state underneath St. Peter’s Baldachin on Thursday, Silere Non Possum reported
As well as having an inscription painted on his back calling for the children of Ukraine to be saved, the man was also reported to have self-inflicted cuts on his body from his fingernails.
Vatican gendarmerie rushed to handle the man, forcing him to put his clothes back on and come down from the consecrated altar.
The officials then handed the protester over to the Italian police who took him for questioning.
The episode occurred just before the basilica closed to visitors on Thursday afternoon.
The high altar sits underneath St Peter’s Baldachin – a large Baroque sculpted bronze canopy – at the centre of the church under the dome.
It marks the place of Saint Peter’s tomb underneath and was installed in the 1600s.
He wore nothing but his socks and shoes as fellow visitors stood aghast at his disrobed state in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican (file image)
The tourist stripped off his clothes and stood stark naked on the main alter at St. Peter’s basilica in the Vatican (file image April 6, 2023)
This isn’t the first time a visitor to the Vatican City has wiped their kit off.
In 2016 a nurse was detained by Vatican gendarmerie after baring it all and marching into the building in front of shocked churchgoers.
Brazilian Luis Carlos Giampaoli reportedly entered the church in clothes, hiding in a corner to undress before bursting out wearing only shoes and backpack.
He strode up and down the main nave of the Basilica while yelling church litanies and gesticulating at onlookers.
Giampaoli was later taken to a psychiatric ward in Rome’s Santo Spirito hospital.