Pope Francis Blesses Actor Portraying Jesus Christ In 'Ben-Hur'

by Jackie Willis 4:21 AM PDT, April 16, 2015
Photo: Instagram

It's not everyday you see the Pope blessing Jesus Christ -- but that's sort of what happened on Wednesday.

Rodrigo Santoro -- best known for his role as Laura Linney's work crush in Love, Actually and Paolo on Lost -- is playing Jesus in the upcoming Ben-Hur movie, but he first got a blessing from the leader of the Catholic Church.

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Santoro's co-star Nazanin Boniadi -- who portrays Esther in the remake Charlton Heston's 1959 classic -- snapped a pic of him getting a papal blessing from Pope Frances. "What a remarkable experience to witness Pope Francis bless my dear friend and co-star Rodrigo Santoro, who is playing Jesus in #BenHur. #Vatican #Rome," Boniadi Instagrammed.

The actress shared several other pics from her visit to the Vatican and even thanked actress Roma Downey, co-creator of the History Channel's miniseries The Bible and the actress who played Jesus' mother Mary in the series.

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An audience with the #Pope. #Vatican #Rome

A photo posted by Nazanin Boniadi (@nazaninboniadi) on

With Rodrigo Santoro (Jesus in #BenHur) at the #Vatican. Thanks for an incredible experience @romadowney! #Rome

A photo posted by Nazanin Boniadi (@nazaninboniadi) on

A #BenHur audience with the #Pope at the #Vatican. #Rome

A photo posted by Nazanin Boniadi (@nazaninboniadi) on

The 2016 version of Ben-Hur, also starring Morgan Freeman and Boardwalk Empire's Jack Huston, follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him.