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."

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