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.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

First News from Frascati Workshop

The knowledge of the Holy Face of Manoppello is deepening and expanding at the highest levels of the Church, and within the international scientific community.

See the following excerpt from the editorial released on May 1, 2010, coming significantly during Pope Benedict's pilgrimage to the Shroud of Turin, from the Vatican Television Center's weekly news program "Octava Dies" by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., the press spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI; and the just concluded Workshop on the Scientific Approach to studying Acheropite images (not made by human hands) such as those at Turin, Manoppello and Mexico City.

Fr. Lombardi relates:

"And at the centre the solemn face of the crucifix, a face that corresponds to the oldest dictates of Christian iconography and which in turn confirms and inspires it. Benedict XVI constantly reminds us; We want to know God and we can know Him through the face of Christ. This is why we love the images that tradition hold to be precious paths to glimpse this face, both in Manoppello and in Turin. We know that we must look beyond the image, we must desire to behold the Risen One face to face. But we are humbly grateful for this aid to our earthly eyes which helps us to contemplate unconditional love for us, right up to death on the cross."

Now news is coming of the very successful workshop held in Frascati on the Scientific Approach to studying miraculous images such as those at Turin, Manoppello and Mexico City.

What follows is Antonio Bini's preliminary reflections which demonstrate the wideranging studies, presentations and discussions which were accomplished this past week at the ENEA Research Center for Energy and New technologies. What follows is the Italian text which will have to suffice until I can produce the english translation. The reporting on this conference will take me the better part of a week as Antonio has provided me with much material (including photos) which is important and interesting.


by Antonio Bini –

Promuovere un'ampia discussione scientifica sui recenti studi relativi agli aspetti chimici, fisici, meccanici, storici e di medicina legale delle più famose immagini acheropite (ossia, non fatte da mani d’uomo): la Sindone di Torino, la Tilma di Guadalupe e il Velo di Manoppello questo l'obiettivo della Conferenza internazionale organizzata dall'Enea, presso il suo Centro Ricerche di Frascati dal 4 al 6 maggio, attraverso il confronto tra i differenti approcci di queste disciplina di una quarantina di scienziati e studiosi provenienti da Stati Uniti, Francia, Austria, Canada, Danimarca, Germania, Messico, Israele, Francia, Polonia, Spagna, Italia.
L'ENEA – ente nazionale italiano per le nuove tecnologie e l’energia - ha dedicato all'iniziativa un apposito sito - solo in lingua inglese - per sottolineare il rilievo internazionale dell'evento - - la cui realizzazione è stata prevista durante il periodo di ostensione della Sindone a Torino, cogliendo l’opportunità della presenza in Italia di molti studiosi stranieri.
Può apparire molto singolare che un ente pubblico nazionale che si occupa a livello scientifico di energia e nuove tecnologie si impegni su questi temi, su un terreno complesso e apparentemente lontanissimo dalla sua attività istituzionale. In effetti, questo interesse è da mettere in relazione con la capacità dell’ENEA di riprodurre in laboratorio una colorazione simile a quella della Sindone, con le stesse caratteristiche di superficialità dell’immagine, grazie a speciali laser ad eccimeri. Il risultato è stato raggiunto irradiando con potenti lampi di luce ultravioletta tessuti di lino. Una circostanza casuale, in quanto gli studiosi erano impegnati in ricerche relative ad applicazioni industriali. La ricerca è stata pubblicata nel 2008 sulla rivista americana Applied Optics.
Ed è stato proprio il prof. Paolo Di Lazzaro, leader del laboratorio Eccimeri del centro di Frascati a svolgere il ruolo di coordinatore (chairman) del confronto internazionale che si è sviluppato sui seguenti temi: caratteristiche delle immagini; ipotesi di formazione delle immagini; datazione delle immagini; elaborazione delle immagini; nuovi strumenti di analisi; restauro e conservazione; confronto tra le diverse immagini acheiropoietos; aspetti storici; aspetti medico-legali.
Il Workshop è stato preceduto da lavori preparatori da parte di un comitato scientifico internazionale e da un comitato organizzatore locale.
Gran parte delle relazioni ha riguardato la Sindone, con un nutrito numero di studiosi, soprattutto americani, tra cui la direttrice del Centro di Ricerche sulla Sindone di Richmond, Diana Fulbright. Elementi di interesse sono emersi da relazioni riguardanti gli aspetti medico-legali, ma l’impressione generale è stata che gli interventi ruotassero direttamente o indirettamente ancora sulle controverse questioni legate alla datazione del telo con la tecnica radiometrica del Carbonio 14, eseguita nel 1988 con esami di tre distinti campioni presso altrettanti laboratori di Zurigo, Oxford e dell’Arizona e quindi sull’incidenza dei fattori ambientali sulla contaminazione del telo di Torino.
In un intervento di José Carlos Espriella Godinez, membro del Centro Messicano di Sindonologia, sono state illustrate le caratteristiche acheropite della Tilma di Guadalupe, fornendo elementi per inquadrare il miracolo nel contesto della storia del cristianesimo nel paese sudamericano.
Evidente interesse ha suscitato il Volto Santo di Manoppello, le cui immagini – talvolta di grande qualità ed efficacia – sono state proiettate più volte sul grande schermo .
La straordinaria divulgazione del Volto Santo di questi ultimi anni e il sempre più frequente accostamento con la più famosa Sindone trova nell’iniziativa organizzata dall’ENEA – un implicito riconoscimento della validità scientifica degli studi sin qui portati avanti da un ristretto numero di ricercatori, che ha avuto la possibilità di illustrare le proprie tesi di fronte ad una qualificata platea internazionale.
Il prof. Heinrich Pfeiffer, pioniere degli studi sul Volto Santo, ha approfondito sotto il profilo storico-artistico il tema delle acheropite, soffermandosi sulle più note immagini sacre dell’antichità, costituite dal Mandylion di Edessa e da Kamulia (o Camulliana). A queste immagini corrisponderebbero peraltro la Veronica (Volto Santo) e la Sindone.
Alcune inspiegabili peculiarità del velo sono state illustrate dal prof. Giulio Fanti, dell’Università di Padova, autorevole sindonologo, che da alcuni anni si è avvicinato con rispetto al Velo di Manoppello.
Ma gli interventi più interessanti, anche per il loro carattere di novità, sono stati probabilmente quelli di tre docenti universitari polacchi, avvicinatisi di recente al Volto Santo. Zbigniew Treppa e Karolyna Aszyk, docenti di semeiotica delle immagini dell’Università di Danzica, che hanno illustrato i loro studi sulla sorprendente mutevolezza dell’immagine, soffermandosi in particolare sulla bocca, che mostra con maggiore evidenza i riflessi dei mutamenti dell’immagine, rispetto in particolare alla dentatura. Le tesi esposte sono state più ampiamente dettagliate in un libro uscito in Polonia lo scorso anno dal titolo “Fotografia z Manoppello”.
Un significativo contributo è venuto da Jan S. Jaworski professore di chimica dell’Università di Varsavia, che ha sostenuto e documentato la tesi che il tessuto sul quale è impresso il Volto Santo è di bisso marino e che alle peculiari proprietà del bisso sia da attribuire la straordinaria trasparenza del Velo.
Ricordo che l’ipotesi del bisso marino fu sostenuta il 1° settembre 2004 da Chiara Vigo, che vive nell’isola di Sant’Antioco in Sardegna, la quale è ritenuta l’ultima maestra di questa arte tessile dell’antichità ancora esistente nel Mediterraneo. Come è noto, la straordinarietà di questo particolarissimo tessuto, che deriva da un grande mollusco (pinna nobilis) è che si può tingere, ma su di esso non è possibile dipingere. L’idea che potesse trattarsi di bisso venne a suor Blandina, avendo casualmente tra le dita filamenti di cozze di mare dell’Adriatico, mentre le successive ricerche e il coinvolgimento della Vigo si deve al giornalista e scrittore tedesco Paul Badde.
Roberto Falcinelli, fotografo romano, ha esposto i risultati di una propria ricerca sulla datazione dell’Opusculum di Jacopo Grimaldi, conservato in Vaticano, che documenta com’era la Veronica prima della sua scomparsa. Come è noto, le immagini rappresentavano il volto di Cristo con gli occhi aperti, contrariamente al mutato modello iconografico imposto nel Seicento.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Conference on Acheropite Completed at Frascati

Here is the poster for the Conference on the scientific approach to Acheropite including the Holy Face of Manoppello held at the ENEA research center in Frascati near Rome on May 4,5,6. Thanks to Antonio Bini for this photo and others which I will post after I receive his report on this ground breaking conference which brought together scientists and other scholars from many countries.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Testaments of Faith

A well-worn mantle from the mountain,
A silken veil from the sea,
A flaxen shroud from the fields:
Woven by human hands, signed also by Divine.
Made irregular in their uniqueness, especially for Bishops.
Enigmatic challenges for nearsighted scholars.
Keys to a new world with the vision of true Glory forever.