Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seeing the Historical Face of Jesus Today

The psalmist cried out : Lord that I may see your face! And the prayer was answered at that time up to the present. Are we ready to be surprised that we might see his face? Paul Badde once again in his latest book, the Shroud of Turin or the Secret of the Holy Image, has turned over the hour glass of history and brought us back, back, back and then again to the present so that we might not only be surprised but enchanted at the presence of the face of Christ in history and today.

Despite the fact that I know so little German I will try to give you a listing in English of the German titles of the chapters of his book:

The pilgrimage of the burial cloths (shrouds)
The Map of Sorrows
Earthquake in Jerusalem
From East to West
Sunken Gold
Vulture of Golgotha
The Missing Link of Easter Night
Light for the Way in the Desert
The Gospel of the Early Church
The Revolution of the Pictures
The rolled away stone
The Divine Kaleidoscope

The unique relationship between the two image bearing cloths from the tomb of Christ will cause many to say once again: Lord, show us your face and we shall be saved.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J. Holds that the Veil of Veronica is in Manoppello and No Longer in Rome

from the foreward to Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer's book, Il Volto Santo di Manoppello published in 2000 by Carsa Edizioni. Fr. Pfeiffer is a Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rom

"Is the Veil of Veronica to be found in Rome or in Manoppello? Many are asking this question after having come to know about the Holy Face in the shrine on the outskirts of the little city in Abruzzo. It is by now widely known that no trace of an image can be found on the piece of material which is still venerated today in the basilica of St. Peter's in Rome. On the other hand there have already been attempts to remove the sixth station from the Via Crucis in as much as modern theologians don't believe any more in the existence of a woman by the name of Veronica who would have given her Veil to Christ in order to wipe his bloody face along the way to Calvary.

In Rome this saint had never been depicted prior to the painting by Ugo da Carpi in 1525, a painting which was intended for the place where the relic of the Holy Face was displayed to the crowds of pilgrims and which was called simply the Veronica. Here it was the relic and not the saint which was called Veronica, a name which means 'true icon'. Only one hundred years after the painting of Ugo da Carpi was there created a second representation of the saint Veronica, the colossal statue by Mochi for the massive pillar in which is preserved the so-called relic on which no one can recognize any more the features of Christ.

But in Manoppello there is found an extremely fine Veil with the most vivid and expressive image of Jesus in all the world. No one can explain the process by which the image has been formed on the Veil...

Why is the Veil of Manoppello to be considered the true relic, the authentic Veronica, and the piece of cloth in the reliquary of Rome a false substitute?

Prior to the second decade of the 1600's all the depictions of the face of Christ in the images which are considered to be the authentic drawing and which are in reference to the Roman relic show the Lord with his eyes open. All the so-called copies of the Veronica, since 1616, instead show him with his eyes closed. The simplest explanation for this change is the loss of the original to imitate.

The reliquary made for the showing of the Veronica during the jubilee of 1350 contains two panes of rock crystal, one for each side. This means that the object to be shown in such an ostensory was transparent. The piece of cloth that has been presented in a new reliquary in the basilica of St. Peter's is instead of an opaque nature, so that it is always shown only from one side.

I think that these arguments - the change of the iconography from eyes open to eye closed and the non transparency of the material - are sufficient to say with certainty that the relic presented in the basilica of St. Peter's is false."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In the Heart of the Church Let Jesus Christ Be Praised!

Psalm 148
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike, old and young together!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

He has raised up a horn for his people,

praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him.

Praise the Lord!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Secondo Pia as Simon Peter, part Seven the Conclusion

by Paul Badde, from Il Volto Santo di Manoppello the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello

"Perhaps it truly was John, the first who 'saw and believed', who previously had left to Peter the privilege of entering before him. John alone had been present at the burial to know that the 'sudarium had been placed on the face of Jesus'. Only an eyewitness of the burial would have been able to know such a detail. Perhaps he had observed how the Magdalen had placed the delicate veil of sea silk (marine byssus) on the Face of Jesus as a last tribute. Peter wasn't there. He wouldn't have known any of this. In any event, John would have immediately shown the veil to Peter in the opposite case. Because 'they hadn't in fact yet understood the Scriptures, that he would rise from the dead', continues John, using the plural. In any case, it had been a questions of mere seconds. But as for the rest of the account? Couldn't it be that all this could have happened differently? No, according to good sense, for whoever takes seriously the cloths and the texts of the Gospel and who has become familiar with the space of the sepulcher; and who still has enough fingers to add one plus one plus one plus one plus one equals five. Putting together all the components -- the eyewitness testimony of John, the space, the hour, the light and the cloths -- taking all these things together, adding as the first or the sixth component the Jewish reserve regarding the ritual impurity of tombs! --then the facts could not reasonably have gone any differently.

The conclusion is that Peter in the sepulcher must have lived an experience similar to that of Secondo Pia at Turin in 1898 when he withdrew the first photographic plates of the Shroud under the red light of the darkroom. Except that Peter's was an experience much more dramatic.

It is indispensable that there should have been a visible sign in the Sepulcher of the incedible event of the night of Easter, and this sign could not be the missing body of Jesus. That which Peter - or John - picked up from its 'special' position in the tomb, and held against the light, was the first testimony of that great event which was happening there. The little sudarium completes and explains the large sudarium. Together they are inserted in the Gospel as a puzzle is completed down to its every last piece.

As has been noted, on the Shroud, that is the large sudarium, one couldn't see anything at first in the narrow and dark chamber, where it was impossible for it to be unfolded. This brings us to the next step. Because not only can we but we must see how Peter and John hurriedly gathered up all these linens to bring them into the light. They had to bring them to a safe place. From that dark tomb nothing must be lost. Nothing should remain. Who knows what things the other cloths might be hiding? But all these are considerations which came forth later. Immediately they understood this: in that chamber death had lost its power. The deceased was no longer dead; those cloths were no longer impure.

The breaching of the presence of Christ into history began with a complete metamorphosis. If the Christ, already beginning with the dawn, had not shown his Face on the Sudarium, they would have left everything there. They were devout Jews. Burial cloths are not to be removed from empty tombs. According to the tradition of the Misnah, judaism is full of rigorous norms that declare the extreme impurity of all that is linked to the dead and their tombs, even after some time has passed. The Shroud, which just a little while later would have shown to the Church of Jerusalem the Passion of Christ in the Scriptures of an image, would not have been saved without the little sudarium on which the risen Christ had already shown his face. Mary Magdalen had left everything and had run to tell the Apostles. So would Peter and John also have done. They would have let everything stay there if the little fabric of light had not struck them. Then they would have simply gone outside in a hurry. But as I've said, the little Veil was there. The photo-image of the Sudarium forms the 'missing link' of the Paschal Vigil, in which is inserted the compelling logic which explains the unfolding of all the actions and the re-actions of those few moments.

Now they have taken the two sudaria with them together with the other cloths. This could have happened only in secret, in the early hours of the morning. And they didn't take them to the authorities but to Mary and the Apostles. 'Then the disciples returned home' writes John. Perhaps this refers to the cenacle on Mt. Sion where four days earlier they had celebrated the Passover with Jesus. Perhaps it was to a grotto-refuge in the garden of Gethsemane where they had found pilgrim lodging for the feast. But 'house' ,it clearly appears, in those days represented not only a habitation but the communion of the Apostles with Mary. It was to them, above all others, that they had brought the cloths that Easter morning. These cloths became, in the heart of the early church, the most precious treasure. Were they not perhaps the first pages of the joyful announcement of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course! Because of this it would be necessary to hide them right away and to keep secret not only their origin but even their very existence. Since these first documents of the Gospel of the early church were written on burial cloths, the most impure material of which the Jews were able to conceive. Their preservation would require a very intimate and secret place. Under no circumstances could the news get out. If the knowledge of these cloths amidst the Apostles had gotten out to Jerusalem -- and thus linked to the serious violations of the rules of purity -- the first Christians and also their first 'house' would not have survived the scandal. But John has not completely hidden the mystery. Eight verses following the recounting of the burial cloths he writes in his Gospel that already the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples had locked the doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus entered with a greeting of peace in their midst,breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit' and showed them the wounds which -- in that hour-- had already been 'written' impressed, on the document of the Shroud. The 'fear of the Jews' would have easily induced the disciples to flee to Bethlehem, or to Gaza, or to Jordan, to Jericho or to the hills of Galilee, because they themselves were all jews. In all those distant places they would have all been safe. But their 'fear of the jews', which induced them, surprisingly, to lock the doors on that first Sunday evening, did not have any other reason than that of hiding and protecting the marvelous treasure which they were caring for. This was the so-called 'mystery' of early Christianity, by which, all of a sudden, that which up until then had been considered ritually impure would now be considered the purest relic. So that in this mystery was enclosed the images of light of these cloths, so closed that centuries would be required before the message that they contained would be able to go out from that secret place, and the splendid message of an image 'not made by human hands' would begin to spread everywhere in the Christian house, little by little, like a perfume of incense."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Videos by Father Laufer Which Explain the Story of the Holy Face of Manoppello Now Available in English

Father Josef Laufer of Germany has produced the following two videos on the Holy Face of Manoppello with the technical assistance of Michael Sauer. They have just become available in an English language translation. It is my voice reading the English narration that you will hear. Father Laufer's videos are a good summary of the current knowledge of the Holy Face. Plus you will see how Father Laufer has arranged that the Holy Face should be venerated in several beautiful Churches in the German countryside for which he is responsible. I encourage all to watch these well done videos and to share them with others.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Scholars and Scientists to Discuss Images on Shroud of Turin, Veil of Manoppello, and Tilma of Guadalupe

A scholarly scientific conference entitled the International Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images will be held May 4,5, and 6th 2010 at the E.N.E.A scientific research center in Frascati, a beautiful and historic town in the hills above Rome. The website for the conference is Among those giving papers or displaying poster exhibits are Heinrich Pfeiffer and Blandina Paschalis Schlomer of Germany; Andreas Resch of Austria, Giulio Fanti and Roberto Falcinelli of Italy; Z. Treppa, J.S. Jaworski, and K. Aszyk of Poland; and D. Scavone, D. Fulbright and J. Markwardt of the U.S.A. The conference will be conducted in English. According to the organizing committee the topics to be discussed are:

Images characteristics
Images formation hypotheses
Images dating
Images processing
Novel tools of analysis
Restoration and conservation issue
Comparison of different acheiropoietos images
Historical aspects
Forensic views

To see the abstracts of talks relating to the Veil of Manoppello see:

Frascati Acheiropoietos Workshop 2010 - ABSTRACTS - TALKS - MANOPPELLO VEIL

Of course the papers by Fr. Pfeiffer and the exhibits by Sr. Blandina will be very important and enlightening.

I was especially struck by the following article to be given at the conference which has to do with the phenonemon of the multiplicity of images which are seen on the Veil of Manoppello through photography:

The Appearance of the Changing Images on the Veil of Manoppello.
An examination of its implications for future scientific research through the discipline of photography
by Zbigniew Treppa, Karolina Aszyk

Uniwersytet Gdanski, ul Bazynskiego 1a, 80-952 Gdansk


One aim of this research is to establish reasons why this Veil is so unique. I want to examine the message that it has for us. I have decided to concentrate on the semantic image. Semantics requires that we see the relationship between the language of words and the language of images. It would be impossible to read the message contained in the Shroud without the words contained in the Gospels. In the same way, it is impossible to find the meaning of the Veil without reference to the Gospels. In the case of the Veil, for a deeper understanding, it is necessary to analyse the structure of the material. All the more so, as the Veil allows us to enter into a field of exploration in a very unusual way and to start to find the secrets which have yet to be fully revealed.
I have been convinced that this is the way to gain knowledge of the Veil from the time when I was photographing it and had little expectation of being surprised. In a similar way to the Shroud, its meaning, which is hidden from the human eye, can be revealed with the aid of photography. I am a professional photographer and, when taking pictures of the Veil, I imagined I was producing a documentary file and nothing more. In the meantime, I analysed the pictures I had taken on a computer and reproduced them on a monitoring screen; there were marked differences in the photographs. The differences can be fully appreciated as the images were laid exactly in line with each other (the precision being outlined on the photos) and then the changes became apparent. The observations simply go unnoticed on casual inspection. These details are exposed when the Veil is examined under differing light conditions. The appearance of the changing images on the Veil impelled me to try to discover their true meaning.
The question has to be asked if these differences are not the capture of split-second moments in time that have been recorded on the Veil. Can we also put these recorded moments in a chronological order for a complete detailed version? I believe that it would be possible, with the aid of photography, to take a maximum number of photos and, after putting them into chronological order, to make an animated version of the whole scene.
From what I have observed, any critical mind can only want to seek an interpretation.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Secondo Pia as Simon Peter, Part Six

by Paul Badde from Il Volto Santo the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. This article is part of Paul Badde's new book Das Grabtuch Von Turin oder Das Geheimnis der heiligen Bilder which is soon to be published in Germany. I am looking forward to seeing it also published in English. I have heard that Prof. Badde's book on the Holy Face of Manoppello Das Gottliche Gesicht will soon be published in an English translation.

"Only three days prior Peter had said 'I don't know this man'. Some hours later he was forced to look and listen from far away. When Jesus was on the cross, covered with blood, he emitted a great cry and died. Certainly Peter remained even more disturbed when, suddenly, he saw the same Christ on the Veil which he held in his hands. Only now he recognized him, that Man. He recognized him right away. 'In your Light, O Lord, we see light' it had been recited in Israel for centuries in the Book of the Psalms. Did this verse now perhaps spring to his mind?

Or did he recall in that moment the words that Jesus had prophetically announced 'the Son of man will be put to death but after three days he will rise'. We don't know. But one thing we do know. Alongside the frightening emptiness of the burial cloths, in the tomb there was written this message contained in images: 'I am alive'. Jesus was no longer dead. The only thing corresponding to this image is not another image, no other icon nor any other painting. The only reality equivalent to that which Peter saw was the living man.

Everything was clear. Why didn't he now call out to John? It wasn't necessary. There were only two meters of distance between the two, one inside and the other outside the tomb. John became aware that Peter had remained shaken at his discovery. Then he also entered, he writes in his gospel and he said of himself 'he saw and believed'.

But he was also 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' as he willingly points out of himself. He was the disciple who later would take Mary, the Mother of Jesus into his house (and also Mary Magdalen as was written in many of the ancient sources) and who drank from the springs of the Mother as the source for his extraordinarily Marian gospel. The love of Christ for him and his love for Christ made him the first to understand the significance of the true image. Could it be that John, and not Peter was the first to raise the veil from the earth and to hold it against the light? Perhaps. 'The risen one is not seen as a piece of wood or stone is seen' wrote Joseph Ratzinger in 1985. 'he alone who sees is the one to whom He has revealed Himself. And He reveals Himself only to those who can be sent. He doesn't reveal Himself to curiosity, but to love."