But popularity for the modified masterpiece grew with even budget airline Ryanair offering cheap deals to nearby Zaragoza airport encouraging "pilgrims" to visit the work that was quickly dubbed "Ecce Mono" – Behold the Monkey.
An internet petition to keep the repair job garnered widespread support and seizing an opportunity to swell its coffers, the church began levying a 4 euro (£3) entrance fee on visitors, earning 2,000 euros in the first four days.
Lawyers acting for Mrs Gimenez now insist she should be entitled to a cut of the profits, which she wants to go towards a charity of her choice.
"She just wants the church to conform to the law," lawyer Enrique Trebolle said. "If this means economic compensation she wants it to be for charitable purposes".
Her lawyer added that she would want any money made from the painting to go towards Muscular atrophy charities, because her son suffers from the condition.
The image was painted by Elias Garcia Martinez, a local artist, more than a century ago, but had recently suffered surface damage due to damp.
Family of the original artist have called for the image of Christ with a crown of thorns to be restored to its former glory and have said they will seek legal action against Mrs Gimenez for "destroying" the work.
The Sancti Spiritus Hospital Foundation, which owns the Sanctuario de Misericordia, has also retained lawyers to defend the action and retain their right to proceeds from visitors to the church.