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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
The Da Vinci Code (film)

The Desposyni (from Greek, "belonging to the Master") was a sacred name reserved only for Jesus' blood relatives including his mother Mary, his father Joseph, his unnamed sisters, and his brothers James the Just, Joses, Simon and Jude.

It is questionable whether all their descendants up to twenty generations were to be counted among the desposyni or whether that would have rendered the term absurd.

If Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, a controversial belief held by some Gnostic sects which is only corroborated by the Gospel of Phillip, their child or children would have been the most revered desposyni.

Most early communities of followers of Jesus, whether they be Nazarene or Christian, were governed by a desposynos as a patriarch, and each of them carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family but no one was ever named after him.

As the most lineal dynasty of king David and priest Zadok all male desposyni could have legitimately laid claim to both the throne and high priesthood of Jerusalem. However, the Roman occupation of Palestine, with the collaboration of the Judean establishment, made any attempt by a desposynos to rise to or seize political and religious power impossible or limited in scope.

Historical Accounts

Hegesippus (ca 110 A.D. - ca 180) wrote five books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church. They are lost, but a few fragments are quoted by Eusebius in Historia Ecclesiae, 3.20. Among them is the following relation, ascribed to the reign of Domitian, 81 - 96 A.D.:

There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had done.
So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labour. And then they began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labour, the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by constant work.
Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one according to the course of his life.
Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the Church.
When they were released they became leaders of the churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives were prolonged to the reign of Trajan."

Other known relatives of Jesus include Simeon, the second bishop of Jerusalem, who was the son of Joseph's brother Clopas (mentioned by Eusebius, H.E. 3.11,32), and three Nestorian bishops of Seleucia on the Tigris in the 3rd century (according to the 13th century Syrian historian, Greogry Barhebraeus).

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Desposyni" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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