An RE teacher was left godsmacked when he saw Jesus riding on a donkey – depicted on a gravestone in lichen.
Bill Baker, 39, was in the grounds of the St John the Baptist Church in Winchester, Hampshire, just before Easter when he spotted the image.
The teacher was next to the ancient edifice practising his hobby of ‘taphophilia’ – or graveyard tourism.
Walking between the graves he spotted the scene which is described in the Bible and commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Father-of-one Bill immediately grabbed his phone and took a photo in case the depiction of the Lord suddenly ascended.
Bill, who lives in Winchester, said: “I enjoy visiting churches and graveyards and there are plenty near me.
“This church dates from the 12th century and has some very old gravestones. I was wandering around them when I saw the lichen shaped like Jesus on a donkey.
“Coincidentally, the last service I had been to at my local church of St Cross a donkey was brought in.
“The irony of me seeing this image in the run-up to Easter certainly made me smile.”
The day when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey is known as Palm Sunday which was shortly before his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to heaven – according to Christian tradition.
Although Easter is now associated with chocolate eggs, originally it was used to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
Some boffins believe that the famous manna from heaven was actually a lichen called Leconora esculenta.