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Playboy model poses naked at the Vatican in latest controversial photoshoot

A Playboy model who has posed naked at the Vatican while holding a large wooden crucifix in the latest of a series of controversial photoshoots has been arrested.

Belgian model Marisa Papens is seen dragging the cross across a street with St Peter’s Basilica visible in the background – while nude.

Another of the pictures shows Papen sitting naked on some bibles on the wet cobblestones of St Peter’s Square while other snaps show her tied to the cross.

Papens made global headlines when she was imprisoned after posing naked at the Karnak Temple Complex near Luxor, Egypt.

She also caused outrage in Israel when posing in front of Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall and in Turkey when she lifted up her burka inside Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia, a former Byzantine church and Ottoman mosque which is now a museum, to reveal her genitals for a cheeky picture.



Papen and Australian photographer Jesse Walker, who runs the ENKI Eyewear brand and took the snaps in Egypt and Turkey, have reunited for another controversial photoshoot as part of an ENKI sunglasses campaign and for a soon-to-be-announced personal project.

Jesse told Central European News (CEN): "I have a talented friend, Lucas, in Bali that makes beautiful high-end teak furniture.

"He made it (the crucifix) so it comes apart and bolts together in three pieces. A life-sized collapsible teak crucifix.

"Getting it in an out of Uber vans was hysterical, the drivers didn’t know what to make of it, but you know the Italians are lovely people, so it was no big deal to them."

Unfortunately for Papen and Jesse, in St Peter’s Square they were chased by the Italian police who witnessed the photoshoot.

Papen told CEN: "I was right in the middle of putting on my underwear when two police cars suddenly arrived and another four cops approached us on foot, brandishing their batons and saying ‘passports please’."

The duo, who have previously compared themselves to a modern-day Bonny and Clyde over their daring photoshoots, were taken to a police station where they were questioned and detained.

Papen said: "There we were again, behind bars in a tiny little cell with dirt and ash on the floor. Jesse and I looked at each other and we burst out laughing."

Jesse and Papen were eventually taken to their Airbnb rental apartment where cops found the large wooden crucifix as well as other props such as priest outfits, fake blood, rosaries and a crown of thorns.

Papen said: "At first it seemed as though they wanted to take the cross with them, but then they probably agreed that it would be too much hassle to drag it down the stairs of the fifth-floor flat."

The duo was taken back to the police station, but was eventually released some 10 hours after their arrest after police took their fingerprints and mugshots at the local courthouse.

Jesse said: "We are willing to put it all on the line for these photoshoots even if it means jail time.

"It is something we thrive on and are very used to now so it is nothing new.

"I like to think ENKI and Marisa are the two most controversial artists and brand on the planet right now, and that’s something I am very proud of."

Papen said: "For me, the biggest problem is with the institutions built around religion. They are driven by money and are soulless."

She said a prime example took place on Sunday when she was on St Peter’s Square and the Pope appeared from the window to give a short speech and traditional Angelus prayer.

Papen said: "One of the many beggars on the square caught my eye, a barefoot gypsy lady with badly deformed posture.

"Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she was shaking her wet paper cup for some coins.

"All the colourful umbrellas passed by in front of her. It was like nobody even saw her."

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