A painting of the Last Supper depicting Jesus as a Black man will replace a Nativity scene at St Albans Cathedral.
The 9ft piece of art, titled A Last Supper, will take pride of place on the alter in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It was painted by fine art artist Lorna May Wadsworth, who reworked Da Vinci’s famous 15th century mural, in which he cast a Jamaican-born model as Jesus.
The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, made the announcement after the Archbishop of Canterbury asked the Church of England to reconsider portraying Christ as white.
Justin Welby urged the church to take a more fluid approach by also accommodating global depictions of Jesus, showing him as Black, Chinese and Middle Eastern.
So, in favour of this approach, St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire opted place a high-resolution print of Wadsworth’s painting, which spins the ‘western myth’ that Jesus looked European on its head.
In a statement, Reverend John said:
The church is not in a strong position to preach to others about justice, racial or otherwise.
But our faith teaches that we are all made equally in the image of God, and that God is a God of justice.
Black Lives Matter, so this is why we have turned our Altar of the Persecuted into a space for reflection and prayer with Lorna’s altarpiece at the heart.
The painting will replace another piece of artwork depicting the Virgin Marry and Child flanked by shepherds and kings from the Nativity.
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