Church of Scientology slams nude Tom Cruise 'publicity stunt'

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Teflon Tom Cruise Dodges Controversy

The Church of Scientology is distancing itself from an art exhibit purporting to be Scientology-related that features an image of a nude, well-endowed Tom Cruise.

"The Church has nothing to do with this publicity stunt, and any claim to the contrary is " church spokesperson Karin Pouw tells The Hollywood Reporter.

The exhibit, scheduled to open on Aug. 8th at the Corey Allen Contemporary Art gallery in St. Petersburg, FL, was announced Wednesday via press release.

In celebration of Tom Cruise's 25th anniversary as a Scientologist, the release says, a "nude shroud of the actor" will be unveiled in a "Pop-Up Church of Scientology" at the gallery, which is located near the church's headquarters in Clearwater Florida. The image was created by artist Daniel Edwards.

Neither Corey Allen, founder of the gallery, nor Edwards is a Scientologist. Allen tells THR that they had "sought sanction for the exhibit from the church but had not received a response."

Modeled on the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ, the "Shroud of Scientology" measures 14 feet long and 3 feet wide and depicts a silver image of a naked Cruise, with front and back views.

Cruise's hands lay folded over the Scientology cross resting on his chest. Cruise's elaborately groomed (and sizeable) genitals are also on display. The image is printed on poplin, a fabric used for religious shrouds since the 15th century.

Allen says the intention is for the gallery to be transformed into a simple pilgrimage site where visitors can come to pay respects, much like the site of the Shroud of Turin, where "thousands stream through a holy space to visit the object." The exhibit will also feature other objects on display, such as a commemorative medal featuring Cruise's profile.

In the press release, Edwards commented that, "Radiocarbon dating will never rule out the Shroud of Scientology's authenticity. It exists as a document of Tom Cruise's faith in Scientology -; a photo negative of the radiance of his soul. It gives evidence for future generations that Tom Cruise not only belonged to Scientology, but saved it from obscurity."

Click through for photos of Tom Cruise through the years:

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Tom Cruise through the years
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Church of Scientology slams nude Tom Cruise 'publicity stunt'
Tom Cruise, star of the upcoming film "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation," addresses the audience during a surprise appearance at the Paramount Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2015 at Caesars Palace on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
US actor Tom Cruise waves as he attends a press conference for his latest movie 'Edge of Tomorrow' in Tokyo on June 27, 2014. Cruise is here to promote the science fiction film, adapted from the novel 'All You Need Is Kill' written by Japanese novelist Hiroshi Sakurazaka. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was created as a still grab taken from video.) Tom Cruise sighted signing autographs on August 28, 2014 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Kai Danneberg/GC Images)
US actor Tom Cruise smiles as he attends a press conference for his latest movie 'Edge of Tomorrow' in Tokyo on June 27, 2014. Cruise is here to promote the science fiction film, adapted from the novel 'All You Need Is Kill' written by Japanese novelist Hiroshi Sakurazaka. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
OSAKA, JAPAN - JUNE 26: Tom Cruise attends the promotional event for 'Edge of Tomorrow' at the Dotonbori Riverside on June 26, 2014 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
CHICHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 31: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Tom Cruise watches the racing as he attends Ladies Day of Glorious Goodwood at Goodwood Racecourse on July 31, 2014 in Chichester, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise waves upon arrival for the Japan premiere of his latest film "Mission: Impossible III" at Odaiba, part of a sprawling man-made island in Tokyo Bay, Tuesday, June 20, 2006. The movie is screened in the country from July 8. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
U.S. actor Tom Cruise and his fiancee Katie Holmes arrive for the London Premiere of his latest film, The War of the Worlds, in London's Leicester Square, Sunday June 19, 2005 (AP Photo/ Max Nash)
FILE - In this Saturday, June 4, 2005 file photo, Tom Cruise, right, reaches for the hand of his girlfriend Katie Holmes after accepting the MTV Generation award, during the MTV Movie Awards, in Los Angeles. Cruise and Homes are calling it quits after five years of marriage. Holmes' attorney Jonathan Wolfe said Friday June 29, 2012 that the couple is divorcing, but called it a private matter for the family. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Photo by: Mitch Gerber/starmaxinc.com ©2004 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Telephone/Fax: (212) 995-1196 11/8/04 Tom Cruise on the set of "War of the Worlds". (Newark, NJ) (Star Max via AP Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, UNITED STATES: US actor Tom Cruise (R) waves to fans as he arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of new film 'The Others' which he executive produced with Paula Wagner (L), in West Hollywood, CA, 07 August 2001. The film stars Cruise's estranged wife Nicole Kidman. AFP PHOTO/ Lucy Nicholson (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US actor Tom Cruise looks on as he takes a break from filming a scene in the movie 'Mission Impossible 5' on September 25, 2014, in the Kasbah of the Udayas near the Moroccan capital Rabat. The filming in Morocco of Hollywood action movie 'Mission Impossible 5' is to close off a section of a main highway for two weeks, the highways authority and local media said. AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, UNITED STATES: Actor Tom Cruise holds his Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Drama for his role in 'Magnolia' at the 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, CA 23 January, 2000. AFP PHOTO (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) Vince BUCCI/mn (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY - JUNE 01: AUSTRALIAN ACTRESS NICOLE KIDMAN AND ACTOR HUSBAND TOM CRUISE OUT IN SYDNEY. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images).

Tom is all the way on the left in the bottom row. Were you able to spot him?

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