The Priest and Leonardo

The Priest Who Appealed to a Jury Using an eRumor

  Roman Catholic Priest the Rev. Michael Jude was sentenced to prison in December, 2007, for admitting to using $1.3 million from the church he led in Darien, New York.

According to the New York Times Jude spent extravagantly on luxury items including waterfront real estate but was exposed when a church bookkeeper went to another staff member with her suspicions.

At his sentencing Jude told a moving story about how Leonardo da Vinci had trouble finding the right models for his painting “The Last Supper.”  He said that da Vinci found a model handsome enough to be John but years later found a “most disheveled, evening grotesque” man to be Judas.  Da Vinci was shocked when the man cried out that years ago he had been the model for John.

The priest told the judge “I stand before you a canvas of multiple layers.”

Whether he realized it or not, his moving story about Leonardo da Vinci is a commonly circulated email rumor that has no basis in fact.

Click here for details on the eRumor.