Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Antonio Bini Discovers 1902 Comparison of Holy Face of Manoppello to the Shroud of Turin

The Italian journalist Antonio Bini writes to give witness to an article in the May 11, 1902 edition of "La Tribuna Illustrata" an Italian weekly. What follows is my translation of sections of his report appearing on the official website of the Shrine of the Holy Face www.voltosanto.it entitled "105 anni fa scrivevano del Volto Santo e della Sindone. Ritrovata un' interessante testimonianza del 1902 su 'La Tribuna Illustrata" (105 years ago they were writing about the Holy Face and the Shroud. Rediscovered an interesting testimony from 1902 in "La Tribuna Illustrata")

In these last 10-15 years a number of scholars have insisted on the relationship between the Shroud and Holy Face, with comparisons and overviews, while other researchers seem to deny any relationship, and still others admiting only partial elements of continuity between the two relics. Precisely in relation to such tendencies, I think it interesting to bring up an article appearing in "La Tribuna Illustrata" of May 11, 1902, entitled: "The Holy Shroud of Turin and the Face of Jesus of Manoppello", that I recently had the possibility, or rather, the fortune, of acquiring, in the process of my research of documentation regarding the Holy Face. The article, with a unifying title - appears in two distinct parts, the first dedicated to the Shroud, the second, following, to the Holy Face, which is presented as the "Face of Jesus". The large circulation periodical sought to show an immediate link with this image of Christ, at that time totally unknown. In those years the interest for the Shroud had exploded after the diffusion of the photographs taken by the lawyer Secondo Pia - in occasion of the exposition of 1898- which represented a fundamental moment for new research on the relic. We must remember that Turin at that time, although no longer the capital of the Kingdom for a little more than 30 years, was however a large city, with a strong influence from the House of Savoy, which remained always linked to the Shroud, having previously given it to the Church. The discovery of Pia gave new impulse to the studies and research and allowed at the same time for a better interpretation of the signs present on the cloth...The photographic images of the Shroud, relates "La Tribuna Illustrata" were exposed at Paris, with a notable number of people attending, up to ten thousand a day. The weekly concluded by announcing the upcoming initiative of the daily "Le Figaro" which in the following days would place on sale a photograph of the Shroud. The article followed dedicating itself to the Holy Face - reprinting the text of a letter which appeared in the "Corriere di Napoli", a daily newspaper founded and directed by the journalist and writer from Abruzzo, Edoardo Scarfoglio (1860-1917), happy to give space to a testimony linked to his native region. The writer, Clemente Rije by name, probably from Naples, refers to his trip to Manoppello with his own evaluations of the nature of the Veil, showing a particular historical-religious culture and above all a capacity of "reading" the relic for themes which would be developed only many years after... Let's take a look at the following precise text of the article, relating to the part regarding the Holy Face.

'The Corriere di Napoli published a few days ago a letter from Signor Clemente Rije, who says that in a little town in the province of Chieti, there is preserved the Face of Jesus. According to an ancient legend what is preserved at Manoppello would in fact be the cloth used by Mary Magdalen, and would have been brought there by a mysterious pilgrim coming from Palestine. The small cloth is made of silk of the finest weave, as large as the frame of silver in which it is kept in the church of the Friars Minor Conventual (sic), where each year the devout go on pilgrimage. The characteristics of the cloth would be surprising because there does not appear any traces of coloration, while the face of Jesus is bright and clear, the hair is long and falling to the shoulders, the features are pale, the eyes spent, just as Publius Lentulus describes in his letter to Caesar. The letter of Rije concludes by saying that this cloth should be a stimulus for serious studies, especially since today the discussions regarding the Shroud of Turin have rekindled such a legitimate interest. Could this therefore be the True Icon from which comes the name of that Veronica which tradition holds to be the pious jewish woman who wiped the face of Jesus on the way to Calvary?"

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