Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Miracle of the Holy Face Told by Padre Antonio from Poschiavo (1714)

How the image disappeared and then reappeared

by Antonio Bini -

The testimony given to us by Padre Antonio from Poschiavo - written on August 12, 1714 - deserves to be remembered, not least of all in relation to the question of doing research by opening the reliquary which holds the Holy Face.

Padre Antonio, the father guardian of the shrine at that time, wanted to render the reliquary more sumptuous by providing a new silver frame and so took up a collection of donations of money and objects of gold and silver which were given to the shrine by the faithful who had received graces.

During the changing of the frame, Padre Antonio, who had been given permission for this work by his Ordinary (religious superior) and by the Bishop of Chieti, opened the little internal wooden frame which enclosed the Holy Face between two panes of glass, the one which had been made by fra Remigio from Rapino, who must have been an expert artisan. Fra Remigio had been called to Manoppello by Padre Clemente from Castelvecchio, the first father guardian from the time when the convent of the Capuchins was still under construction.

According to what is told in the Relatione Historica (Historical Report) of Padre Donato from Bomba, the Holy Face at that time (1618) was still in the possession of Antonio De Fabritiis, who had given his consent that Padre Clement should put in order the Holy Face which "was in the middle of a veil...maltreated and badly cared for, (which) was all wrinkled, lined and eaten by moths and worms", eliminating the ruined surfaces around the face and placing it in between two panes of glass. Such a solution took into account not only some of the exceptional characteristics of the image - the transparency of the extremely fine fabric and the fact that the face could be seen present on both sides of the cloth -- but also served to permit the veil to be laid out and secured after having been damaged by the rough folding which even today is able to be seen in part by the naked eye.

Upon opening the internal frame Padre Antonio was thrown into a panic, according to what he writes in his report, as the image vanished and there remained only the silken fabric. In his confusion he tried to look a number of times at the veil which he held in his hands and not understanding what had happened he then decided to put everything back the way it was before. The image then reappeared, to the great relief of the father guardian who added that probably the Lord wanted to put him to the test, demonstrating for him "the divine nature" of the Veil, which he had previously thought "might have been a print". It is also interesting the evaluation regarding the type of fabric - silk - which the religious perceived while holding the Veil and turning it in his hands, which reveals on the tactile plane, beyond that of the visible plane, the texture of the threads.

Padre Antonio realized the urgency of documenting the episode for times to come -- drawing up the "relatione" (report), which is described on the front cover of the document as "Relatione del Volto Santo - del miracolo fatto dal Volto S. in tempo della guardiana del P. Antonio da Poschiavo", (The Report on the Holy Face -- on the miracle performed by the Holy Face during the time of the guardianship of Padre Antonio from Poschiavo), in which the names appear of some of the persons who had reason to be present, among whom was Nicola Valignani, belonging to the noble Teatine family. Certainly there was also present the goldsmith De Laurentiis of Chieti, who was dedicated to the production of the new frame.

Padre Filippo from Tussio in his history of the Holy Face (1875) reports at length on the episode and also reports briefly on an event quite similar which happened in 1703, whose protagonist was Padre Bonifacio from Ascoli, of whom there is lacking at this time any trace among the documents of the archives of the Convent.

It is a fact that since 1714 the Capuchins have not opened the internal frame of the reliquary; there is no reason to do so today for the irreparable damage that the extremely fine fabric might suffer. After three centuries of adhering to the panes of glass, the fabric may have become one with the glass. At the same time, the presence of the panes of glass does not impose any barrier to scientific research through recourse to modern technologies, which it should be noted have been in recent years applied including the use of digital microscopes, laser machines, infrared photography, etc.

There is little known about the life of Padre Antonio, the Capuchin who came down to Abruzzo from the valley of Grigioni in Switzerland, leaving the splendid alpine scenery of the Bernina for the spirituality of the Majella. We know that his family name originally was Costa, and that after Manoppello he was the the father guardian of the Convent in Chieti, the city where he died on July 16, 1742 at the age of 71, after 48 years in religious life. In the necrology of the Order of Friars Minor of Abruzzo, published in 1948, the Capuchin, whose swiss origin is there confirmed, is remembered as having been "charitable and prudent".

Thanks to some research which was done in the parish registers by the present day Pastor of the parish of Poschiavo, Don Cleto Lanfranchi, we learn that the family name Costa is common in the area and that the parish registers show that among the children baptized in 1671 there were four males with the last name Costa: Jacobus, Laurentius, Franciscus and Antonius. Unfortunately we don't know the baptismal name that Padre Antonio left behind after having taken his religious vows. For, ever since the earthquake of April 6, 2009 it has become extremely difficult to access the archives of the Province of the Capuchins following the transfer of their records from L'Aquila to Giulianova.

In the long line of humble capuchin friars who have accompanied the extraordinary history of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Padre Antonio, the friar come from afar, should be remembered for his witness of profound human emotion -- which one finds in his "Relatione" -- and which we believe ought to be transcribed in its entirety in order to facilitate its reading -- in coming face to face with an event which still today should give us pause to reflect.


Report on the silver frame of the Holy Face and how it was made

I, Fra Antonio from Poschiavo, being guardian of this place of Manoppello in the year 1714, with the permission of my superiors and of his Excellency Monsignor Archbishop of Chieti, a collection for the Sacred Reliquary of the Holy Face was taken up among the faithful who donated some rings of gold and silver because of the many and varied graces which they had received.

Through the efforts of the goldsmith Signore De Laurentiis from Chieti, they were turned into a silver frame which the goldsmith had arranged come from Naples, a frame which presently adorns the Sacred Reliquary of the Holy Face.

While the frame was being worked on, the Signore Camerlengo with some others of the governing council of Manoppello, said to me that the council would like to donate 60 ducats and as much as needed for the completion of the frame, also the members of the Preti family indicated that they would also each like to give a donation; while I was considering whether to accept these offerings, Signore Nicola Valignani also said that it would be for the greater propriety of the Holy Reliquary for the council also to provide and keep a special key for the door of the tabernacle where the Holy Face is kept. Having understood this, I refused all of their offerings, and thanked them for their good spirit and devotion.

The frame in question was made with the simple donations taken from the rings of gold and silver, with the addition of twenty ducats from the offerings of the convent and thus was spent the sum of sixty three ducats for the frame and for the working in silver by the honorable goldsmith.

After I had removed the Holy Face from the wooden frame where it previously had been between its two crystal glass panes, in order to put it in the silver frame, the figure disappeared, and there only remained the simple silken veil and after looking and looking again many times I was not ever able to see the figure, then I remained confused and beside myself, not knowing whatever I might do nor with whom I could consult.

But God then made me realize that this Sacred Image was not a human work but that it was truly divine, and to more strongly confirm me in the devotion to this Image as previously I had supposed that it might have been a print.

As soon as I put the said panes of crystal glass back together upon it(the Image)appeared as beautiful as it can be seen at the present time.

May all this be for His greater glory, and to confound me first of all I have set this down in the current year 1714.

Manoppello, 12 August 1714

Fra Antonio from Poschiavo
Guardian of the Capuchins

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frascati Conference Papers Now Available On-Line Thanks to Dr. Di Lazzaro the complete text of the Frascati Conference papers are available on-line. What a treasure trove of material! Papers from this scientific conference include ones on the Holy Face of Manoppello by Heinrich Pfeiffer, J.S. Jaworski, Roberto Falcinelli and Andreas Resch. Hopefully at the next such conference a scientist from the United States will be able to contribute a paper on the Holy Face of Manoppello, as a number have done at this conference in historic Frascati for the Shroud of Turin and the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frascati Conference Papers Published

The papers from the International Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images held in Frascati Italy in May of this year is now available from the ENEA italian national research institute which sponsored the conference

Below are the details on the publication taken from the Shroud of Turin blog of Dan Porter who says of the publication:

"A quick glance at the contents (topics and the presenters) should convince every serious Shroud of Turin scholar that this is a must"


Proceedings of the IWSAI 2010 International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images

Paolo Di Lazzaro
Chair / Editor

4 – 6 May 2010 Frascati, Italy

Organized by ENEA Italian National Agency for New Technologies,Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

vi Conference Committee
vii Foreword
ix Letter by B. Schwortz
x Verse


3 Sub-micrometer coloration depth of linens by vacuum ultraviolet radiation. (Invited paper)
— P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, A. Santoni, G. Baldacchini

11 Shroud-like experimental image formation during natural electrostatic discharges.
— G. de Liso

19 A scientific comparison between the Turin Shroud and the first handmade whole copy.
— T. Heimburger, G. Fanti


31 Sight and brain: an introduction to the visually misleading images.
— D. Murra, P. Di Lazzaro

35 Construction of a quantitative image of the Turin Shroud for details recognition.
— G. Fanti, C. Privitera

47 New image processing of the Turin Shroud scourge marks.
— B. Faccini, G. Fanti

55 ShroudScope, a web tool to analyze high-resolution photographs of the Shroud of Turin.
— M. Latendresse


63 Dislocations in plant fibers and in Turin Shroud fibers.
— L.G. Thygesen

67 List of evidences of the Turin Shroud.
— G. Fanti, J.A. Botella, F. Crosilla, F. Lattarulo, N. Svensson, R. Schneider, A. Whanger


79 Akeldama repudiation of Turin Shroud omits evidence from the Judean Desert.
— (Invited paper) D. Fulbright

87 Documenting the Shroud missing years. (Invited paper)
— D. Scavone

95 The “missing years” of the holy Shroud.
— A. Piana

103 Were sixth-century natural disasters factors in the transfer of relics from Palestine?
— D. Fulbright

111 Edessan sources for the legend of the holy Grail.
— D. Scavone

117 An unknown hideaway of the holy Shroud?
— A. Piana

123 Two unpublished letters of Secondo Pia about the 1898 Shroud photography.
— R. Falcinelli

129 Did Jesus give his Shroud to the servant of Peter?
— D. Fulbright

133 Why Jesus did not bring the patibulum but the whole cross.
— C.M. Glori


139 The promise (and threat) of the Shroud. (Invited paper)
— P.H. Wiebe

147 The brightest light of all.
— A. Silverman, N. Kerner


155 The copies of the Shroud.
— E. Marinelli, M. Marinelli

161 Crux mensuralis of Grottaferrata and Shroud of Turin.
— G. Baldacchini, F. Baldacchini, L. Casarosa, G. Falcone


171 The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin. A question of authenticity. (Invited paper)
— J.L. Fernandez Sanchez


181 Medical and forensic aspects of the man depicted on the Shroud of Turin. (Invited paper)
— N. Svensson

187 A medical study of the surface anatomy of the image and a medical forensic evaluation of the
blood marks of the Shroud of Turin in relation to image formation.
— G. Lavoie


197 The Tilma of Guadalupe. (Invited paper)
— J.C. Espriella Godinez

203 The concept of acheiropoietos, the icons of the likeness of Christ and the Veil of Manoppello.
— H. Pfeiffer

209 Properties of byssal threads and the chemical nature of colors of the Veil of Manoppello.
— J.S. Jaworski

217 The face on the Shroud and on the Veil of Manoppello.
— A. Resch

227 The face of Manoppello and the veil of Veronica: new studies.
— R. Falcinelli


239 Can contamination be detected on the Shroud to explain its 1988 dating? (Keynote lecture)
— M. Antonacci

249 A robust statistical analysis of the 1988 Turin Shroud radiocarbon dating results.
— (Invited paper) G. Fanti, F. Crosilla, M. Riani, A.C. Atkinson

255 Production of radiocarbon by neutron radiation on linen.
— A.C. Lind, M. Antonacci, G. Fanti, D. Elmore, J.M. Guthrie

263 Two archaeometric methods for cellulosic textile finds using enzymatic test.
— L. Campanella

267 A critical review of the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. ANOVA – a useful
method to evaluate sets of high precision AMS radiocarbon measurements.
— R. Van Haelst

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dr. Di Lazzaro, Organizer of Frascati Scientific Conference, Visits Shrine of the Holy Face

by Antonio Bini

Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro chief researcher at the Excimer Laser laboratory of the Italian national institute ENEA recently visited the Shrine of the Holy Face.

Di Lazzaro is well known for having conducted research by means of an impulse of ultraviolet light of just a few billionths of a second within a very restricted interval of the values of energy and density of power that has been able to color the surface of a linen cloth, with the same chromaticity as that of the image on the Shroud of Turin.

The results of the research, to which Professor Giulio Fanti, instructor at the University of Padua and expert on the shroud and the Holy Face also contributed, were presented in 2008 in the United States.

Dr. Di Lazzaro also organized last May, at the research center of ENEA in Frascati, an authoritative international scientific workshop on the images known as "acheropite": the Shroud of Turin, Tilma of Guadalupe, Holy Face of Manoppello. See

The scientist, who is shown in the photo above at the Shrine while in discussion with Sr. Blandina and with Dr. Francesca Esposito Bini of the Radiology Department of the General Hospital in Pescara, has affirmed that according to the research that has been conducted, the Holy Face presents characteristics which in themselves are unexplainable.

Friday, December 10, 2010

American Hearts in Manoppello part two

Sr. Blandina kneeling in adoration, in all simplicity, before the Holy Face

Diane joyfully experiencing the Holy Face

David and Diane Fincher's Story of Their Pilgrimage to Manoppello continued

At first I thought, "the mouth looks funny". Then I applied my medical knowledge
to the image and realized that there is evidence of gross trauma and swelling
around the mouth. Those "wrinkles" are from the swelling around the mouth.
Oh, what he endured for us!

There is a wonderful exhibit comparing the early icons of Christ done by Sr. Blandina. Don't miss it. It is to the left of the main altar out in another building. Also, don't fail to go upstairs to see the Volto Santo items, including a painting of blessed Padre Domenico.

St. Padre Pio came to the sanctuary (by bilocation, as he was known to do) and asked the prayers of Padre Domenico, caretaker of VS at the time, on the last day of his life. Pio also is reported to have told one of his Capuchin brothers that the Holy Face/Volto Santo was the greatest miracle they possessed.

The image of Christ we were allowed to freely see (that the Emperor himself could only glimpse once a year, for a short time, on his knees, IF he had confessed his sins and received Holy Communion). (The byssus is see-through and cannot be painted on.)

We noted the marks of the crucifixion, now mostly healed. Some bruising, swelling (especially around the mouth and cheeks) and scars remains. The ears were not visible. This surprised me. But I should have known, that as a Torah observant Jew, He did not cut the edges of his beard, and so, of course his ears cannot be seen!
It's a perfect match to the Shroud of Turin (which captured his image in death), and is believed to be one of the linens from around his head at the time of the Resurrection. But this one captured his image after being made alive!

From Manoppello we went about an hour away to Lanciano, site of the Eucharistic miracle in about 700 A.D., and on to Loreto and a number of other holy sites. We have received wonderful graces in our lives throughout the entire trip.

Along the way, in the middle of no-where, we stopped at a little building with a bus stop sign and discovered it to be a wonderful little place of prayer. It's like nothing we know here in America! May our story inspire someone to do the same.

Zenit Has Article on Holy Face of Manoppello Inspired by the Publication of The Face of God

Edward Pentin has published an article on the Holy Face which is a good summary of Paul Badde's book with a number of interesting quotes from the author, see the article at

Pentin's article originally appeared on the December 9 daily feed of Zenit, a Catholic news service, which I highly recommend Catholics should subscribe to. The subscription is free.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

American Hearts in Manoppello

In October of this year David and Diane Fincher of Tennessee made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. I am so happy to be able to share with you the story of their journey, in installments, with their hope that others will also be inspired to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Face.

David and Diane's
Pilgrimage to Italy - October 23-31 2010

This was our 3rd attempt to embark to Europe. We were stopped once by an earthquake in nearby Aquila and the 2nd time by a distant volcanic eruption that sent clouds of ash into our flight path. The 3rd time there was a terrorism related travel warning, but that only assisted us in obtaining better "space-available" up-grade seats. Sleeping was priority in our minds since we would arrive at 7:45 AM Rome time (which would have been 3:45 AM east coast time). We were advised to skip dinner and take 2 Tylenol PMs as soon as the flight started and to sleep as long as possible. We slept quite nicely and this kept us going (until 4 PM when we took a short nap). We didn't have much "jet lag" this way. Diane had wanted to travel to the Abruzzi for several years after hearing about Mary's home in Loreto, in which she is believed to have grown up, and in which the angel announced Christ's arrival. Christ was believed to have lived there for some time himself. It had been transported from Nazareth, and now resided in Loreto, Italy near Ancona.
But even more, she wanted to see the image of Christ preserved in a small Capuchin church in Manoppello, near Chieti. For certainly more than 400 years, and possibly 500, this image of Christ on Byssus (fine linen derived from the extremely rare silk of sea mollusks) had rested in this church. There is good reason to believe that this is the ancient "sudarium" or "Veronica" , an image of Christ that had at one time been considered the greatest treasure of the ancient church, along with the Shroud of Turin. St. Peter's in Rome (Vatican) was literally designed around a main pillar that, with great security, would house this sacred image. It is believed to be an authentic picture of Christ. It matches the image of the Shroud of Turin perfectly when the 2 images are overlaid. shows the match well.

Well, we saw all that, and so much more.
Our international experience started in Newark, NJ the day before our international flight. We were driven to church by a Haitian man named Marcel, to an area of Newark,NJ that surely must be named "little Portugal". The neighborhood had signs in Portuguese. The beautiful church, Our Lady of Fatima, was absolutely packed--- standing room only, with maybe 40+ standing in the rear.

The service was in English, but we could tell that for many this was, at best, a second language.
The young priest was a warm and wonderful teacher. The church had a beautiful light fixture that was a crown for our Lord, who ruled the universe, even while nailed to the cross.

After a good nights sleep, we headed for the airport… and that evening to Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport! We arrived at 7:45 A.M.Rome time and picked up a little Fiat Punto (Diesel, 5-speed) and headed out into Rome's Monday morning rush hour traffic.

All I can say is WHOA! Our walk with God was strengthened by praying constantly as we drove. It was magnitudes crazier than anything I'd ever driven in. Well, they probably are all relatives of Mario Andretti, one way or another.  I had been warned and was mentally prepared and we were equipped with a wonderful GPS that told us where to turn and even pronounced the names of streets and towns for us. It also told us speed limits and our current speed, though I think the drivers around us interpret the speed signs in MPH and not KPH. They were flying!

We headed out following A25 toward Pescara, the larger city near medium sized Chieti and tiny Manoppello.
Note: Don't confuse Mannoppello with nearby LettoManoppello and Manoppello Scalo. (To be continued)

Jay Fadden interviews Paul Badde on's This is the Day

Face of God interview on CatholicTV

Great interview with Jay Fadden the co-host of "This is the Day" program on Paul speaks about the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Face of Manoppello as sources we can rely on for our faith in Jesus. Jay and Fr. Robert Reed were obviously greatly moved by what Paul told them. The entire program is well worth watching. Right after Paul's interview there is a meditative report by a young student in Boston on the martyrdom of the Iraqi Catholics several weeks ago in the Cathedral in Baghdad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day in America

We thank you O Lord for the vision of your glory, a glimpse that we have even in this life of the eternal glory which is to come. We thank you Father for sending Jesus in the flesh, that he might become our very life. We thank you Holy Spirit for revealing the face of Jesus anew to the people of our time, the face of many faces, the face for every face. We thank you Jesus for humbly waiting, quicken our minds to know you! We thank you Mary, Mother of the Holy Face, whom you knew always and now as Son and God.

in memory and gratitude for the life of my father, William Francis Frost, born at home in San Francisco February 15, 1923, died at home in San Francisco November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interview with Paul Badde on New York Catholic Television

Paul Badde meeting Pope Benedict XVI in Manoppello on Sept. 1, 2006

An interview with Paul Badde regarding the Holy Face of Manoppello conducted on November 9 by Francesca Maxime the co-host of the Currents Catholic newsmagazine is available on the internet. This is part of Badde's booktour in the USA to promote his book which has just become available The Face of God, the Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus on the Holy Face of Manoppello.

click on the link below to see the interview

The Face of God – 11/9/10 : Currents

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Review of Paul Badde's Book - The first book on the Holy Face of Manoppello for the english speaking world

In 1978 the Servant of God Father Domenico da Cese, Capuchin Friar and friend of Padre Pio, Guardian of the Shrine of the Holy Face in a small town named Manoppello about 150 miles east of Rome, made a decision. A Eucharistic Congress for all of Italy was scheduled to be held in the city of Pescara, about 30 miles from Manoppello, and Fr. da Cese wanted those attending to know about a mysterious holy image of Jesus. So he had posterboards made to hold large photographs of the amazing image on both sides of a gossamer thin transparent cloth which had been venerated for more than four centuries in his secluded hill top town between the famous glacier Gran Sasso and the Adriatic Sea.

His decision set in motion a process which brought people from around the world, and ultimately even Pope Benedict XVI himself, to Manoppello to contemplate the Holy Face of Jesus. But the first person from outside Italy to take the image to heart was a Trappistine Nun, Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, belonging to a cloistered convent in Dahlem, Germany. She found by patient study that this image of Jesus was a perfect match for the face on the Holy Shroud and sent the results of her research to professors at the Jesuit Gregorian University in Rome. One of these professors, Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, specialist in the history of Christian art, after making a visit to Manoppello, immediately had the intuition that the image was nothing less than the Veil of Veronica (true image) which for centuries had been venerated at St. Peter’s Basilica drawing great numbers of pilgrims to Rome from all over Europe.

Twenty five years after the Eucharistic Congress in Pescara, Paul Badde, the Rome and Vatican correspondent for Die Welt, one of Germany’s leading newspapers, was on his way to San Giovanni Rotondo to report on the new Basilica being built in memory of St. Padre Pio. Having spoken briefly several years before with Fr. Pfeiffer who had told him of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Badde decided to make a brief visit to the shrine in Manoppello to see it for himself. His book, The Face of God, the rediscovery of the true face of Jesus on the Holy Face of Manoppello, was conceived at that moment. The story of his growing fascination and love for this image as well as for the Capuchin friars and for the people of Manoppello who have for centuries been the guardians of this holy image has driven him to make it known throughout Europe and now in America and the English speaking world.

Part mystery, part history, part theology, part psychology, following in the tradition of Catholic pilgrimage authors such as Dante and Chaucer, and utilizing all the means available to a respected and competent journalist, Badde draws us along on his journey to meet the people who lead him to deeper knowledge of this image which had been nearly forgotten for centuries.

Badde’s wife Ellen plays a crucial role as helper and advisor, at critical moments, as to where he should go or with whom he should speak. The dialogues between Badde and Sr. Blandina, with whom Paul and Ellen share a meal of shellfish, lead to the discovery that the fabric of the Holy Face is marine byssus, the most precious material of the ancient world, a “silk from the sea” made from the hairs of a Mediterranean sea mollusk. His discussions with Fr. Pfeiffer shed light on how the image was taken from the Vatican during the construction of the “new” St. Peter’s Basilica in the 16th and 17th centuries and why the Pope and Vatican officials at that time contrived to cover up this loss by substituting a poor copy. This sad copy continues to be displayed once a year from the high balcony of the massive pillar at St. Peter’s above the huge statue of St. Veronica holding the veil. Badde was the first journalist allowed to enter the chamber in which the copy is stored and verified for the world that nothing at all of an image can be seen on the cloth. What is more Fr. Pfeiffer convincingly leads Badde to the earthshaking conclusion that the Holy Face in Manoppello is the very cloth that is spoken of in John 20:8 – the face cloth that was set apart from the other burial cloths in the tomb of Jesus on that Easter morning when Peter and John “saw and believed”. From the burial cloths, witnesses to the life, death and resurrection, the early church drew faith, hope and charity. These wrappings, with their miraculous images now in Turin and Manoppello, became in the first centuries of the Church the original models for all the icons of Jesus.

What can be seen all day, every day, in a glass enclosed case just above the tabernacle in the elegantly simple little Church in Manoppello, is an image of Jesus which appears and disappears depending on the light. During Mass or at other times of the day one can contemplate an image of Jesus unlike any other. His expressions change before one’s eyes. His gaze seems to be that of living person, almost one who is speaking. A person who has suffered and still bears the marks of that suffering but who loves and seeks to be loved. One can climb the stairs behind the altar and see Jesus face to face, eye to eye, and because of the unique nature of the fabric, see yourself in the image. As Dante was able to write in the finale of his Divine Comedy “deep within, painted in a shade of the same color, Appeared to me our likeness – And through this I discovered my own face.”

On September 1, 2006 Pope Benedict XVI made a visit to the Shrine in Manoppello and stayed for a long time in contemplation before the Holy Face. He urged us all to seek the face of Christ. One year later he composed a special prayer to the Holy Face and just a few days ago he accepted the keys to the town of Manoppello, which Badde also received earlier this year. There will be more to this story.

Ignatius Press has produced a well made and beautifully printed edition of Badde’s book with a number of fine color photos of the Holy Face. This is fitting for Badde’s book is no less than a treasure for the ages, a landmark and compass of Catholic culture for the twenty first century.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pope Benedict Receives Key to Manoppello Today

During the Wednesday audience today at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican Pope Benedict received the key to the commune of Manoppello from the Mayor and the President of the City Council of Manoppello. The Pope said that he was "honored to receive the key to Manoppello" and added that "now I can enter the city of the Holy Face without any obstacles". In reply to the Mayor who asked him when this might be possible, the Pope replied "we'll see". Thanks to Paul Badde for the photo of the happy day which shows Pope Benedict, along with the Mayor and Archbishop Forte, the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto of which Manoppello is a part.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Antonio Bini Reviews Paul Badde's Book

A big thank you to Antonio Bini for allowing me to post my translation of his review of Paul Badde's book, The Face of God, which has already appeared in a number of newspapers and websites, not only in Italy but also around the world. Antonio is an editor of the official journal Il Volto Santo published by the Capuchin Friars of the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello

Veronica Rediscovered

The fascinating story of the authentic Face of Jesus told in the book “The Face of God” by Paul Badde is hitting the shelves of American bookstores.

by Antonio Bini

After five centuries of silence, during which the most important relic of the Christian world – the Veronica (true icon) – remained shrouded in mystery and almost forgotten, there emerges today the seemingly well founded hypothesis that this relic is to be identified as the Face kept in a small Italian shrine, in Manoppello, a locality set at the foot of the mountainous chain of the Maiella.
“The Face of God: the rediscovery of the true face of Jesus” by the German journalist and author Paul Badde, which is about to appear in the USA in an edition published by Ignatius Press, San Francisco, recounts the tortured and complex story of this extraordinary image.
Badde’s research is so totally convincing as to have influenced the decision of Benedict XVI to personally visit the shrine of Manoppello on September 1, 2006. The images from that visit – which was opposed right up to the last minute by high Vatican officials and then simply classified as a “personal pilgrimage” – show the Pope profoundly moved, even to the point of tears, before the Holy Face.
As Badde explains – the Vatican has never admitted the disappearance of the Veronica from St. Peter’s, an event which probably happened during the time of the construction of the new Basilica (1506 to early 1600’s) or during the Sack of Rome (1527). Badde himself was the one to discover that the present day image kept in Rome (of which little or nothing can be seen) can not be the Veronica. He accomplished this by comparing the Vatican image’s measurements to the measurements of the ancient reliquary of the Veronica, with its shattered glass panes, now on public display in the Treasury of St. Peter’s.
Even prior to the institution of the first Jubilee year proclaimed by Boniface VIII in 1300, large numbers of pilgrims poured into Rome to venerate the Veronica which came to be put on display on many occasions, even in ordinary years.
Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of the Face of Manoppello: the image is present on an extremely fine material, with threads of the thickness of little more than a tenth of a millimeter and a space between one thread and another of two tenths of a millimeter. The image, which is transparent and visible from both sides, disappears in backlight and presents a masculine face with long hair and beard divided into two bands. On the forehead is seen a tuft of hair. The expression is sweet and suffering at the same time. The gaze, which is intense and profound, appears to be that of a living person.
His encounter with this gaze made a great impression on the Pope, as can be deduced by the granting of the title of Basilica to the humble church just a few days after his visit and by the special prayer which he himself composed on the first anniversary of his pilgrimage to Manoppello.
It is to Badde’s intuition that we owe the hypothesis of the nature of the material, marine byssus. He is supported in this intuition by the last weaver of this very ancient “sea silk” coming from the hairs of the mollusk called “Pinna nobilis”. The Gospels speak of this byssus a number of times to underscore the precious workmanship of this fabric.
Badde describes the incredulity of the weaver Chiara Vigo, who lives on the island of Sant’Antioco in Sardinia, when she saw the Holy Face and recognized thereupon the ancient fabric of marine byssus which can be dyed but upon which one can not paint.
The circumstances are uncertain regarding the arrival of the Holy Face in Manoppello where tradition holds that it arrived “by the hand of an angel” in the year 1506, although the first written document – the Historical Report of Father Donato da Bomba attests that the presence of the image in Abruzzo dates from 1640.
Until just a few years ago the knowledge and the cult of the Holy Face had been for centuries limited only to the devotion of the local population which certainly didn’t wait for the result of historical studies and scientific research to believe in the authenticity of this extraordinary image, cared for with humilty by the Capuchin friars –
The studies of Professor Heinrich Pfeiffer, one of the greatest experts on Christian art, had attracted the interest of Paul Badde, as well as the research of the German iconographer Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer, who demonstrated the affinity of the Holy Face with the man of the Shroud.
It must be kept in mind that the case which holds the image has not been opened ever since the time that Father Antonio da Poschiavo (1713), then guardian of the Shrine, saw the image of the Holy Face disappear when it was opened and then suddenly reappear only after he closed the glass panes of the reliquary which he had intended to replace. However thanks to the latest types of technology this does not constitute any limitation on scientific research which in fact has been carried out using various techniques (laser, infrared, etc.) and confirms the inexplicable nature of the image.
Some of these studies were set forth this last May in an international scientific workshop – promoted by the Italian energy reserach institute ENEA -- which discussed the most important acheropite images (Shroud, Tilma of Guadalupe, Holy Face of Manoppello) and was attended by over 40 scientists and researchers coming from 13 countries, including a large American delegation. cfr. –
Badde, historian and journalist in Rome (and previously in Jerusalem) for the important German newspaper Die Welt, remembers that while on his way to San Giovanni Rotondo for the inauguration of the new church by Renzo Piano, he had been drawn by curiosity to make a brief stop at Manoppello, of which he had heard some vague talk.
That visit would have profound conseguences for his life.
I remember having met him at the friary when he asked the then father guardian – Fr. Germano – to be able to stay for ten days as a guest in one of the monastic cells desiring to immerse himself for a brief period in the silent spirituality and simplicity of the Shrine, meditating on that image and beginning to gather documents and testimonies useful for his book. A period of extreme concentration, during which he limited himself to drink only water with a little bit of honey.
The result of a complex and passionate effort, this book, often called “a historical whodunit” originally published in Germany and then becoming a bestseller in Poland, and later still in Italy, France and Holland, is attracting the interest of so many readers because of its fast paced narrative as well as for its intricate plot, between history and spirituality, following the tracks of a bimillenial quest for the true image of Christ.
For more information consult the interesting blog of Raymond Frost which is entirely dedicated to the Holy Face

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Holy Facebook:

See this great website dedicated to the Ignatius Press edition of Paul Badde's book on the Holy Face of Manoppello which has a number of great videos, the schedule for Paul's upcoming book tour of the USA starting on November 9 in New York City, as well as the first postings of the Facebook page dedicated to the Holy Face.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Door to Christ Opens

The Face of God, the Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, the english translation published by Ignatius Press, San Francisco, of Paul Badde's groundbreaking work on the Holy Face of Manoppello is about to hit the shelves of bookstores, scheduled for release on October 30. In the plan of God this date falls midway between the ceremony in Manoppello of October 24 in which the civic authorities there conferred the key to the city upon Pope Benedict XVI and the actual reception of the key by the pontiff during the Wednesday audience on November 3. The book can be ordered at A new era of knowledge of the true face of Jesus Christ is beginning.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 24 Civic Ceremony to confer on Pope Benedict XVI the Key to the Commune of Manoppello

Another key is ready to be handed over to the apostolic keeper of the keys. This time it is to be granted by the civic officials of the Commune of Manoppello where the Holy Face of Christ is always on display. The inspiration for the design of the key is taken from the great work of art by Perugino in the Sistine Chapel which shows Christ handing over the keys to Peter. The ceremony is to take place Sunday October 24 at the Church of San Nicola in Manoppello where tradition holds that the Holy Face was given to a citizen of Manoppello in 1506 by an angelic personage. The Vatican Band will be part of the ceremonies which will continue at the Basilica of the Holy Face with the unveiling of a monument in stone to commemorate the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Shrine of the Holy Face on September 1, 2006. Also during the ceremonies the piazza adjoining the Basilica will be named Piazza Papa Benedetto XVI in his honor. The key will be received by Pope Benedict himself on November 3 at the Wednesday audience.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI to Receive Keys to the Commune of Manoppello

Pope Benedict XVI Arriving in Manoppello on September 1, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI speaking in the shrine of the Holy Face on Sept. 1, 2006 with the Holy Face just behind him and the local Archbishop Bruno Forte of the Archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto at his side

Pope Benedict XVI will receive the keys to the Commune of Manoppello in a ceremony to be conducted during a Wednesday audience at St. Peter's Square. This special honor which will link the Pope more closely to the city of the Holy Face was proposed by Paul Badde during the ceremony in May at which he himself received the keys to the Commune of Manoppello. As well, the space next to the shrine of the Holy Face where Pope Benedict's helicopter touched down on the day of his visit to Manoppello on Sept. 1, 2006 will be renamed Pope Benedict XVI Plaza. The civic officials of Manoppello led by Mayor Gennaro Matarazzo and the President of the Communal Council Gaetano Villani are organizing a celebration to take place on a Sunday in September or October to mark these happy events in the history of Manoppello.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photos from Feast of Transfiguration

Thanks to Paul Badde for the two photos of the Holy Face posted above which he took during the feast of the Transfiguration several weeks ago in Manoppello.

Friday, August 6, 2010

May the Face of Jesus Shine in the Church Throughout the World

From the preface of the Feast of the Transfiguration

"He revealed his glory to the disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the cross. His glory shone from a body like our own, to show that the Church, which is the body of Christ, would one day share his glory".

The feast of the Transfiguration each year is a special day of celebration and prayer in Manoppello and at the Shrine of the Holy Face.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Thank You O Lord For the Vision of Your Mercy and for the Blessings of Your Bounty

Many thanks to Dorothea Link who took this photo of the Holy Face of Manoppello for allowing me to post it on my blog, and to Paul Badde for pointing it to me. It is the most wonderful I have seen and shows the great generosity of Jesus in His loving plan, the wonders he has performed now and in time to come, for each and every one. I can only think of the marvelous psalm of David's thanksgiving as I sit "at the ends of the earth" where the farthest east and west seem to meet.

Psalm 65
"To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God, in Zion; To you must vows be fulfilled, you who hear prayers. To you all flesh must come because of wicked deeds. We are overcome by our sins; it is you who pardon them. Happy is the man you choose, and bring to dwell in your courts. May we be filled with the good things of your house, the holy things of your temple!

With awe-inspiring deeds of justice you answer us, O God our savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the distant seas. You set the mountains in place by your power, you who are girt with might; You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves and the tumult of the peoples. And the dwellers at the earth's ends are in fear at your marvels; the farthest east and west you make resound with joy.

You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it. God's watercourses are filled; you have prepared the grain. Thus have you prepared the land, drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods. Softening it with showers, blessing its yield. You have crowned the year with your bounty, and your paths overflow with a rich harvest; The untilled meadows overflow with it, and rejoicing clothes the hills. The fields are garmented with flocks and the valleys blanketed with grain. They shout and sing for joy."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Window of the Holy Face from Stiepel Cistercian Monastery in Germany

Thanks to Kerstin for allowing me to show this photograph of a stained glass window featuring the Holy Face of Manoppello in the Cistercian Monastery in Stiepel, Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Videos of Holy Face of Manoppello

I have always thought of this blog as a resource of english language sources for the Holy Face of Manoppello. However from time to time I have included other language sources. At this time I feel the need to include several videos produced in Italian which are quite helpful for their visualization of the pilgrimage experience to the Shrine of the Holy Face. The first is a video produced by a pilgrim last year which gives a kind of "you are there" footage of the shrine. It includes some popular music which can be muted if desired. The second is a program produced in May of this year by the Italian national television network RAI2 on the occasion of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Shroud of Turin. It is a segment of the weekly program Sulla Via di Damasco (On the Road to Damascus) hosted by Monsignor Giovanni D'Ercole which has beautiful footage of the interior of the Shrine and of the Holy Face itself as well as of the Holy Shroud of Turin. Monsignor D'Ercole interviews Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, O.F.M., Cap, rector of the shrine of the Holy Face and also Saverio Gaeta, editor of the Italian national Catholic weekly magazine Famiglia Cristiana and author of several books on the Holy Face. I have set up a list of videos which are now included on the home page of this blog which includes these videos as well as those of Fr. Josef Laufer and also a video of the annual festival of the Holy Face from 2003.

YouTube - Volto Santo Manoppello

Sunday, July 11, 2010

He is the Head of the Body, the Church

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

"In my justice I shall see your face, O Lord" psalm 16:15

"Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God" Colossians 1:15

Fr. Josef Laufer of Germany, in collaboration with Michael Sauer, has produced another beautiful video on the Holy Face of Manoppello, entitled The Original Gospel: the Holy Face and the Shroud of Turin. It is now available in English on Youtube. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

America: Lift up Your Head and See the Shining Face of God

To commemorate and celebrate:

July 4, 2010, the 234th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America with the publication of the Declaration of Independence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 29, 2010 the 234th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Francisco de Asis, the first settlement of the city of San Francisco
"O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years
thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee.
And crown thy good with brotherhood
from sea to shining sea!"

"Today, therefore, my final prayer is this : that God will bless America, so that she may increasingly become—and truly be—and long remain—'One Nation, under God, indivisible. With liberty and justice for all'.

God bless America! God bless America!"

Pope John Paul II, Washington, D.C. October 7, 1979

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Conclusions of Prof. Jaworski Regarding Marine Byssus (Sea Silk) and the Veil of Manoppello

The Veil of Manoppello showing both the image and transparency

Prof. Jan S. Jaworski delivering the Paper

One of the more important papers, in my opinion, given at the Frascati Conference on the Scientific Approach to the images of Turin, Manoppello and Guadalupe held in May 2010 was the paper given by Prof. Jan S. Jaworski of the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Warsaw in Poland. Here are the final points stated by Prof. Jaworski in his paper entitled "Properties of byssal thread and the chemical nature of colors of the Veil of Manoppello".

The brown color of byssus threads originates from the pheomelanin pigments; its marker (BTCA) was detected by HPLC after degradation.

Degradation of byssus threads (chemically by some oxidants in proper media) results in changes of the brown color: bleaching to pale straw-color, to colorless and to reddish.

It looks highly probable that the image on the Veil of Manoppello (at least in most parts) was formed by modifications of pheomelanin, natural pigment of byssus.

Thus, there is an additional similarity with the image on the Shroud of Turin, which was "created" by oxidation dehydration processes of cellulose of the linen.

Byssus properties are responsible for some unique properties of the Veil of Manoppello, like the transparency after strong illumination.

Future detailed investigations on byssus properties (including color changes) are desirable and they are possible even if the examination of the original Veil of Manoppello will not be available.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Interview with Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer

Sr. Blandina speaking to German pilgrims in November 2007 at the exhibit "Penuel" in the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

this interview is from the official magazine of the Shrine of the Holy Face
Il Volto Santo di Manoppello December 2009 (my translation)

by Wlodzimierz Redzioch

When did you begin to become interested in the Veil of Manoppello?

In 1979 I was shown a magazine article on the image of the Holy Face of Manoppello, but I did not even want to look at it, because the only authentic and true image of Jesus for me was the Holy Shroud (I had read all the German language books about it). But the look on the Face of Manoppello moved me and finally, out of obedience to Jesus, I decided to study this image which had something to do with the Lord. I read this article which was accompanied by photographs. The article stated that the image of the Face of Manoppello had the same dimensions as the face on the Shroud. This seemed to me to be untrue and, out of stubbornness, I wanted to demonstrate the opposite. So I began to study the topic which entered rather easily into my new activity of painting icons. Strangely, everything which I discovered was in favor of the Veil. I continued to compare the two images and little by little I came to find that they had to have come from the same Person: they both showed the same symmetry, the Shroud as well as the Veil of Manoppello. Then I began to believe that the Veil of Manoppello represented the authentic and living Face of Jesus. In all these years I didn't do anything other than compare the two images by means of new photographs or fotocopies. In 1991 however I was able to make the first slides of natural size and, after placing one on top of the other there appeared a perfect match of the wounds and other particulars: to sum up, the images were derived from the very same source.

My difficulty and that of so many other people consists in the fact that in the image of the Shroud one cannot recognize the image of Manoppello. Instead, in the image of Manoppello, every once in a while, in the dark for example, it is possible to make out the face of the Shroud. I think that this difference depends on the fact that on the Shroud we have the image of Jesus who has died, instead on the Veil of Manoppello there is shown the living face of the risen Lord.

Isn't it a risky thing to say to a man of our times that there exists a true image of God?

Yes! But it is necessary to say it. Above all one must say that the Holy Face is the proof, or rather the document of the resurrection of Jesus (as the Shroud is the documentation of His passion and death on the cross). The Holy Face of Manoppello, for me, cannot be the Face of Jesus before His death, because, being without a doubt the face of a living person, it shows with precision the signs of the death he underwent.

Did you share your research with other experts?

I sought out contacts with the specialists: in 1984 I sent the results of my research to professor Werner Bulst and to Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, with whom I was in close contact for many years (for entire days we spoke of the Holy Face). Professor Andreas Resch, after having read Fr. Pfeiffer's first book on the Veil of Manoppello, invited him to speak at a congress on paranormalogy. Afterwards he published articles by Father Pfeiffer and also my work. To sum up a group was formed of persons who studied the Holy Face, made up also of persons who I did not know personally.

What is your role here at Manoppello?

I am a Trappistine nun, I have asked to be able to live as a hermit in Manoppello in order to continue my studies on the Holy Face. I decided to live here because Jesus present on the Veil seemed to me to be abandoned, that there was not a community who loved Him and adored Him. It's true that in Manoppello there was and there is a community of Capuchin friars and that many of the inhabitants feel connected to this Image and love it, but there is not a community dedicated to the continuous contemplation.

What does it mean for you to stay in Manoppello and contemplate the Holy Face?

I would like to clarify something: in the beginning it was not my intention to seek out the Holy Face and to remain in Manoppello. I think that Jesus has made use of my life and that of my person to realize a divine plan, something which was completely obscure for me and of which I was a very modest instrument. I think that God Himself had wanted to reveal His Son in a new way to us His poor children of the twenty first century, and had sought out and found men and women who, knowingly or unknowingly, would collaborate in this work. For my part I can only thank those who have helped me along this path with their higher spiritual vision and their support, and also those who have sustained me with their prayer.

Turning to your question: the Holy Face is something unique. The Eucharist can be celebrated in every part of the world - for this I did not have to leave my monastery in Germany: Jesus is present in the Eucharist everywhere. However in the Veil of Manoppello He does something more: He shows Himself.

The first commandment of the believer is to love God. Love contemplates and adores. And here I am able to do it. It's true, one can always contemplate and adore in the Spirit. But God incarnate has an individual and unique Face and this Face I can only contemplate at Manoppello.

I would like for there to be formed a circle of persons to adore the human Face of God, to experience here the presence of Jesus Christ and to sing His praise.

I am so happy that now there are very many pilgrims coming here from all over the world. Recently there was also one of the faithful from Russia who came here to Manoppello and who purchased three images of the Holy Face, made in glass: one of these images, I have heard, will be given to the patriarch of Moscow. For me this is one of so many signs.

Sister Blandina Paschalis Schloemer was born on March 6 1943 in Karisbad-Aich (Germany). She entered the Missionary Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in 1962. In February of 1965 she made her first study of the Shroud. She specialized in the painting of mosaics. In 1966 she studied pharmacy in the Universities of Wurzburg and Bonn and in 1973 transferred to the order of the Trappistines. In 1976 she began the study of icons also in France. At the beginning of the 1980's she came to know about the Holy Face of Manoppello. In 1984 she contacted professor Werner Bulst and Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, experts on the Holy Shroud. In this period she began her study of comparing the Shroud and the Face, obtaining in 1991 the first "superimposition" of the two images of Jesus: the image of the Shroud and the image of the veil of Manoppello. In 1998 at the conference on the "Face of Faces" held at Rome she exhibited the 27 panels which demonstrated the full convergence of the two images. These panels now form the Exhibit "Penuel" at the shrine of Manoppello.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Listing of Articles Connected to the Frascati Workshop on Images "Not Made by Human Hands"

The website dedicated to the ENEA Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoitos images, those "not made by human hands" has quite a listing of articles on the workshop including a number of the actual presentations. See there is a summary in Italian of the conference and links to several of the papers in english, including the one given by Prof. Jaworski on the properties of byssal fibers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mary's Weaving

"Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary" Psalm 63

"They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn...
On that day there shall be open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness." Zechariah 12

They accompanied her also to the cross,
the poor who made their living not easily.

Once they learned that generations had been
Starved to pay the upkeep it was to her they turned,
And they were not found wanting.

For the weaving of her heart
Was also shown in her hands.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rector of Capuchin Shrine of Holy Face of Manoppello interviewed by Polish Catholic Weekly

Father Carmine Cucinelli, OFMCap.

What follows is an interesting discussion with Fr. Carmine about the present situation of the growing interest in the Holy Face of Manoppello. It is taken from the Polish Catholic Weekly from Czetochowa. I discovered it on the english edition of their website
The Shrine in Manoppello

Wlodzimierz Redzioch talks to Fr Carmine Cucinelli, OFMCap, Rector of the Shrine in Manoppello.

For centuries it has been known and visited mainly by local believers. The world learnt about the relic of the Holy Countenance of Christ in 2006 thanks to the unexpected visit of Benedict XVI in this tiny Italian place, located between the mountains of Abruzzi and the Adriatic coast. On the occasion of the papal visit I also arrived in Manopello for the first time. Then I met people who contributed most to ‘promote’ this unique relic to the public opinion: Paul Badde, Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlömer and Fr Carmine Cucinelli, Rector of the local shrine – I wrote about it in ‘Niedziela’ (no 36, 2006). I returned to Manoppello after several years to see the changes after the papal visit to the shrine and to meet Fr Carmine and Sr. Blandina again.

Wlodzimierz Redzioch: – In what way has the life of your Capuchin community and the activities of the shrine changed after the visit of the Holy Father?

Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, OFMCap: – The visit of Benedict XVI caused our shrine to become famous in Italy and all over the world. The Italians themselves were astonished not to have known the relic of the Holy Countenance before. The papal visit made pilgrims from Italy and also from distant countries, even from America and the Philippines, come to Manopello. Within one year ca. 600,000 believers came to our shrine. Besides, we began receiving many letters with requests for postcards and pictures. That’s why we decided to translate the information about the shrine and the relic of the Holy Countenance into 10 languages. The next step was to organise a web page in four languages ( where we put the news about our activities and initiatives as well as results of the latest research of the Veil. We also publish the periodical ‘Holy Countenance from Manopello.’
The publication of three books about the Veil from Manopello in Germany (their authors being the journalist Paul Badde, Sr. Blandina and Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, a Jesuit), made the Germans be interested in our shrine. One of the most meaningful phenomena was Polish pilgrims – almost every day a coach with Polish believers comes here (sometimes even several coaches). In Poland seven books concerning Manopello have already been published, which testifies about the great interest of the Polish people in our shrine.

– Has any modern research concerning the Veil, which has been under your custody for over 300 years, been conducted?

Yes, it has. We decided to conduct various research but without ‘touching’ the Veil itself. The scientists from the University of L’Aquila prepared a photographic documentation, using infra-red radiation. We are waiting for the results of the research. The Veil was analysed with a laser. It is the Ramana spectroscopy, which enables to define through a diagram the composition of the examined material. Two such examinations have been made and the results were the same – in all analysed points the protein of byssus-fibre, i.e. ‘marine silk’ was discovered. Our shrine was also visited by the Polish photographer Zbigniew Treppa, the director of the Department of the Semiotics of Picture and Audiovisual Techniques from the University of Gdansk, who wants to prove through photography that the Veil from Manopello is not a painting.

– Has the research you spoke about confirmed that the Veil is not a painting?

– Yes, it has because no traces of minerals or other substance except the single protein have been found. And we are almost 100 % sure that it was the protein of the byssus-fibre. I would like to mention another examination. A scientist from the Italian National Research Centre took tri-dimensional photos to determine the thickness of the cloth and its layers. We are waiting for the results of these experiments and they can be interesting.

– Do you consider opening the reliquary in which the Veil is kept so that the cloth can be directly examined?

So far we have not decided to do that since there is a risk to damage the Veil.

– Who takes decisions concerning the Veil from Manoppello: the Capuchins, i.e. the custodians of the relic, or the local bishop (of Chieti) or perhaps the Holy See?

– We are the custodians of the shrine and that’s why the main responsibility falls on our provincial. But when an important decision must be taken it is taken collegially. It is the result of collaboration with the local bishop, the provincial and the rector of the shrine.

– How has the wave of pilgrims who come to Manoppello from all over the world changed the pastoral activities of this shrine that used to be a local one?

– During his pilgrimage Benedict XVI elevated our shrine to the status of basilica. This title brings the privilege of plenary indulgence, which can be granted on certain days: feasts connected with the Holy Countenance (third Sunday of May and 6 August), papal feasts (22 February – St Peter’s Cathedral and 29 June – St Peter’s and Paul’s), 19 April (the electoral day of the present Pope), 29 September (consecration of the church) and 22 September (elevation of the shrine to a basilica); one day a year is appointed by the bishop and every pilgrim can also choose one day of indulgence (it means that every pilgrim receives plenary indulgence once a year outside of the above-mentioned dates). Our pastoral work focuses on the spiritual meaning of the Holy Countenance in our lives. That means that two fathers out of 6 priests that form our community are present in the church all the time to receive pilgrims. Our confessors have more work because of the increased number of pilgrims. The problem is that all our fathers are Italians. Some know Spanish and English a little but we need someone that would know other languages, especially Polish.

– I hope that the Capuchin superiors will respond to your appeal and send you a Polish priest so that he could serve Polish pilgrims in the place where we can contemplate the real Holy Face of Christ. "Niedziela" 10/2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ignatius Press Announces October 2010 Release Date for Book by Paul Badde on the Holy Face of Manoppello

The important Catholic publishing house Ignatius Press has announced an October 2010 release date for Paul Badde's book entitled The Face of God, the Rediscovery of the True Face of God. Here is Ignatius Press' description of the book.

Best-selling journalist, historian and author Paul Badde
embarks on an exciting quest to discover the truth behind
the Holy Face of Manoppello, a relic recently rediscovered
and rumored to be the "veil of Veronica".
Vatican correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt,
journalist Paul Badde was intrigued when he heard of a
mysterious image in a remote Italian village—an image of a
man's face on byssus cloth. Byssus, or sea silk, is a rare and
delicate fabric woven from a silky filament produced by mollusks.
It is claimed that the fabric is so thin and delicate that
it is impossible to paint on—yet the image in Manoppello is
clearly visible and, moreover, when laid over the image of the
face on the Shroud of Turin forms a perfect match.
Experts determined that the cloth of Manoppello is not
Veronica's veil, but rather the face cloth layed over the face
of Jesus in the tomb. Unlike the Shroud of Turin, which is a
"negative" of the image, the image on the face cloth is a "positive"
of the face of Christ.
Paul Badde takes the reader along on a thrilling journey
of discovery as he travels to research this remarkable relic,
tracing the turbulent history of the Holy Face from ancient
times up to the historic 2006 visit to Manoppello by Pope
Benedict XVI.
Paul Badde, born in 1948, is a best-selling author and
renowned journalist and historian. Since 2000 he has
been an editor of the German newspaper Die Welt, first
as the Jerusalem correspondent and now as the Vatican
correspondent in Rome. He is also the author of Maria of
Guadalupe: Shaper of History, Shaper of Hearts; Jerusalem,
Jerusalem and The Heavenly City.
“The results are almost beyond our imagination.”
— Bild
“Paul Badde had written a gripping cultural thriller.”
— Der Spiegel

Monday, May 10, 2010

First News from Frascati Workshop Continued

American scholars Gilbert Lavoie of Boston, Arthur C. Lind of Chesterfield, Missouri, David Elmore of Dept. of Physics, Purdue University and Mark Antonacci of Eureka, Missouri

Prof. Jan Jaworski of University of Warsaw and Prof. Paolo Di Lazzaro of ENEA, Chairman of Workshop

Gilbert Lavoie of Boston and Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer

Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J. Professor at Gregorian University, Rome

group photo of participants at the conclusion of workshop, Prof. Di Lazzaro seated at the table

Niels Svensson of Denmark gives a tv interview in front of display comparing Shroud and Holy Face


Brief Reflections regarding the International Discussion on the Most Famous Acheropite Images: Shroud-Tilma-Holy Face

by Antonio Bini -

To promote a wideranging scientific discussion on the recent studies relating to the chemical, physical, mechanical, historical and forensic medical aspects of the most famous acheropite images (that is, not made by human hands): the Shroud of Turin, the Tilma of Guadalupe and the Veil of Manoppello, this was the objective of the International Conference organized by ENEA at its Center for Reseach in Frascati from May 4 to 6. Around 40 scientists and scholars hailing from the United States, France, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, Israel, France, Poland, Spain and Italy shared and compared their different approaches to these scholarly disciplines.

ENEA, the Italian national agency for Energy and the New Technologies, provided this initiative with its own dedicated website - only in English- to underline the international status of the event: The conference was planned to coincide with the exhibition of the Shroud in Turin in order to take advantage of the presence in Italy of many foreign scholars.

It could seem very unique that a national public agency which occupies itself at the scientific level of energy and new technologies should dedicated a conference to these topics, on a field very complex and apparently very far from its institutional activity. Actually, this interest is to be linked to the capactiy of ENEA to reproduce in their laboratory, thanks to special excimer lasers, a coloration similar to that of the Shroud, with the same characteristics of the superficial nature of the image in relation to the cloth. The result was obtained by focusing very powerful lamps of ultraviolet light upon linen fabrics. It was a casual circumstance in that the scholars were dedicated to research relating to industrial applications. The research was published in 2008 in the American journal Applied Optics.

And it was Professor Paolo Di Lazzaro, leader of the excimer laboratory of the center of Frascati to serve as chairman of the international discussion that was developed along the following topics: characteristics of the images; hypothoses on the formation of the images; dating of the images; elaboration of the images; new instruments of analysis; restoration and conservation; comparison of the different acheropite images, historical aspects; forensic medical aspects.

Most of the papers given at the conference had to do with the Shroud, with a healthy number of scholars, especially American, among whom was Diana Fulbright the director of the Center for Research on the Shroud of Richmond, Virginia. Much interest was generated by talks regarding forensic medical aspects, but the general impression given is that the discussion still revolved either directly or indirectly around the controversy surrounding the dating of the cloth by the Carbon 14 method, carried out in 1988 with the examination of three different samples at three different laboratories in Zurich, Oxford, and Arizona, and thus on the influence of environmental factors on the contamination of the cloth of Turin.

In his paper Jose Carlos Esprella Godinez, member of the Mexican Center for the Study of the Shroud, described the acheropite characteristics of the Tilma of Guadalupe, furnishing elements to insert the miracle in the context of the history of Christianity in Mexico.

There was much interest shown in the Holy Face especially because of the images, some of very high quality and very moving, which were projected a number of times on the large screen.

The extraordinary spread of the Holy Face in the last few years and the ever more frequent comparison with the more famous Shroud, found in the initiative organized by ENEA an implicit recognition of the scientific validity of the studies which have been carried out so far by a small number of reseachers, who had the chance to describe their theories before an international audience of recognized scholars.

Professor Heinrich Pfeiffer, pioneer of studies on the Holy Face, went deeply into the history of art regarding the theme of the acheropite, emphasizing the most noted sacred images of antiquity, the Mandylion of Edessa and the image from Kamulia (or Camulliana). These images would correspond to the Shroud and the Veronica (Holy Face).

Some inexplicable peculiarities of the veil were illustrated by Professor Giulio Fanti from the University of Padua. Professor Fanti is a well known expert on the Shroud who for some years has become more acquainted with the Veil of Manoppello.

But the most interesting talks, also because of their novelty, were probably those by the three Polish university instructors, recently coming to know the Holy Face. Zbigniew Treppa and Karolyna Aszyk, instructors of semeiotics of images at the University of Danzig, illustrated their studies on the suprising mutability of the image by emphasizing in particular the mouth which demonstrates with greater evidence their reflections on the mutability of the image, relating in particular to the teeth. Their thesis was more amply detailed in a book which came out last year in Poland with the title "Fotografia z Manoppello".

Prof. Treppa, Prof. Aszyk, and Prof. Jaworski from Poland
A significant contribution came from Jan S. Jaworski professor of chemistry at the University of Warsaw who has supported and documented the thesis that the fabric on which the Holy Face appears is that of marine byssus and that it is to the peculiar properties of byssus that the extraordinary transparency of the Veil can be attributed.

I recall that the hypothesis of marine byssus was supported on September 1, 2004 by Chiara Vigo, a native of the island of Sant'Antioco in Sardinia, who is held to be the last expert of this ancient textile art still living in the Mediterranean area. As is known, the extraordinary uniqueness of this most unique fabric, which derives from a large mollusk (pinna nobilis), is that it can be dyed but that it is not possible to paint upon it. The idea that it might be marine byssus came from Sister Blandina, after having held by chance between her fingers some fibers from shells coming from the Adriatic Sea. The research which followed and the involvement of Chiara Vigo is owed to the German journalist and writer Paul Badde.

Roberto Falcinelli, roman photographer, detailed the results of his own research on the dating of the Opusculum of Jacopo Grimaldi, preserved in the Vatican, which documents how the Veronica appeared before its disappearance. As is known, the images (of the Opusculum) show the face of Christ with eyes open, contrary to the changed iconographic model imposed in the 1600's.

In the "Poster Session" Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer and Professor Andreas Resch presented a thorough documentation to demonstrate that the Holy Face and the Face of the Shroud can be superimposed one upon the other. Their documentation was shared during the three days with the various scholars present who were able to ask for clarifications and to acquaint themselves with the techniques used by Sr. Blandina and Professor Resch. On the last day of the workshop a russian icon of the Mandylion of Edessa was also displayed. This icon, dating from the 1700's, calls to mind the Holy Face of Manoppello.

In closing the workshop, Professor Di Lazzaro, after referring to the lengthy course of scientific data, graphics, formulae and statistical tables, could not hide his own "emotion for the fantastic experience of coordinating an international workshop on these extraordinary images" which favors a greater dialog in the international scientific community involved in these studies.

Certainly the discussion on these topics will continue for a long time, but Frascati will remain an event probably without precedent, as the tendency has been to concentrate moments of study and of discussion to that of a single holy image. An event organized in a serious way, not open to the public, in order to avoid the simplifications and the easy sensationalism of the mass media, which neither the faith nor science need.