Author Dan Brown caused an uproar when he suggested in The Da Vinci Code that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a family.
However, a never seen before ancient portrait suggests that though Jesus may have had a family, it might not be the one Brown suggests.
The portrait, which was discovered deep in the wilderness of the Judean desert, in a remote part of the Holy Land in an ancient Greek Orthodox monastery of St Gerasimos, has a highly unusual portrait of the Holy Family, for along with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, it also shows the presence of a fourth member – a young man.
And what makes this young man’s presence even more interesting, is the fact that though simply clad in a dark robe and carrying his belongings on a stick, there is a golden halo which envelops his head.
According to a controversial Channel 4 documentary, the man’s name is James, and reason why he is included in the picture, is because he happens to be Jesus’ blood brother.
James’ inclusion in this picture is a clue to a real-life church conspiracy to cover up the fact that Jesus did have a hidden family – his siblings: James, Joses, Simon, Jude (sometimes referred to as Judas), Salome and young Mary, reports the Daily Mail.
Dr Robert Beckford, a committed Christian and reader in theology at Oxford Brookes University as well as the man behind the new findings also reveals in the documentary that the Bible itself mentions Jesus’ siblings with a reference in the Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, where when Christ preaches at the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, the citizens question his claim to be the new Messiah with the words "Is not this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, Joses, Simon and Judas? And are not his sisters here with us?"
Dr Beckford further supports his argument with a passage from the gospel of St Mark in which Jesus’ family go searching for him one day when he is preaching.
"A multitude was sitting around him and they told him: 'Behold your Mother, your brothers and your sisters are outside looking for you.' "
The documentary also suggests that not only did Jesus’ siblings apparently play a crucial role in the founding of Christianity, but that their teachings were so much of a threat to the official church that it ruthlessly tried to eradicate them from history by rewriting Christ's life story, fabricating his place of birth, falsely crediting him with creating the Lord's Prayer and even inventing the idea that his mother Mary remained a virgin throughout her life.
It also implies that James, the man in the portrait, was the one chosen by Jesus to lead the church after his death, and not St Paul, as is commonly believed.