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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 16:02 GMT
Pastor dies at Passion screening
The Passion of the Christ
Two have now died during The Passion of the Christ
A Brazilian pastor has died during a screening of Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ.

Jose Geraldo Soares, a 43-year-old Presbyterian, had booked a whole cinema to view the film with his congregation.

Halfway through, his wife noticed that he was no longer awake, and a doctor in the audience confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack.

Friends denied that violent scenes of Christ's beating and crucifixion had caused Pastor Soares to expire.

"He was calmly watching the movie next to his wife," said Amauri Costa, a family friend.

Put your questions about The Passion to a film critic and a churchman.

Mrs Soares noticed that something was wrong when her husband did not reply when she spoke to him during the film.

The couple's two children were also in the cinema in Belo Horizonte, capital of the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais.

The film, which opened in Brazil on Friday, has been criticised by some for the considerable violence in its bloody portrayal of Jesus' final 12 hours.

It has also been attacked for alleged anti-Semitism.

But Catholic church leaders in Brazil have praised The Passion of the Christ as an accurate narrative of Biblical events.

Pastor Soares is the second person to die at a screening of the film.

Peggy Law Scott, an American woman in her 50s, passed out last month during the crucifixion scene, when watching the film in Wichita, Kansas.

She later died in hospital, after suffering a heart attack.

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