A 23-year-old man who posted a photoshopped image of his face on a statue of Jesus Christ has been charged by Spanish police for an "offence against religious sentiment".

Daniel Cristian Serrano caused outrage among members of a religious order when he posted the doctored image on Instagram last year.

He also reportedly posted the following text alongside: "Words are short, face says it all, makiaveli I am your god".

It led a Christian group – Hermandad de La Amargura de Jaén – to file a criminal complaint against Serrano after he twice refused written requests to remove the image.

Its members claimed the image was "a disgraceful manipulation of the image [of Christ]" that had been "designed to offend the religious sentiments of the members [of the brotherhood]," according to court documents.

The prosecutor's office confirmed that the 23-year-old had been charged for an "offence against religious sentiment" and is due to appear in court in Seville to face a possible fine of just over €2,100.

Serrano insisted the manipulated image was "just a joke," telling local newspaper the Diario de Jaen: "I had no intention of offending anyone."

He went on to say the picture came about after he and a friend were messing about with a face-swap app.

"I was shocked by the outrage it caused," he explained. "But I decided that I wasn't going to delete it because I have the right to freedom of speech. Even though I didn't intend to offend."