by Antonio Bini
Upon the invitation of the Diocese and also the Comune of Lucca, the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello will participate in the exhibition “The body transfigured. The image of Christ from the Shroud to the Holy Face”, to be held at the Oratory of St. Joseph in the tuscan city from March 4 to May 3, 2011.
Maria Pia Bertolucci, coordinator of the Museum and Archeological Complex of the Cathedral of Lucca, explains that the exhibit seeks to place in comparison the Holy Face of Lucca -- ancient wooden statue preserved and venerated in the cathedral of Saint Martin -- with reproductions of the Holy Shroud and the Veil of Manoppello.
The event is part of the activities which together make up the second edition of the program “Lucca and the avenues of the Saints” in which there will take place many cultural and religious initiatives, including sacred music concerts, guided tours, conferences and the screening of documentaries.
The Holy Face of Manoppello will be represented by 8 large panels, made especially for this event, which tells the story of the relic by means of a kind of journey which begins with the facade of the Sanctuary, then passes through the various expressions of the sacred image, to the documentation of the visit of Benedict XVI and then to the illustration of the superimposition of the Holy Face with the Shroud and with the Sudarium of Oviedo. At Lucca there will be displayed for the first time a very large photo (130 x 210cm. or 4ft. by 7ft.) which reproduces the image of the Holy Face – visible from both sides, as in real life.
Immediately prior to the inauguration of the exhibit – at 5:30pm – there will be a conference held in the Agora’ Auditorium (formerly the Convent of the Servites) in which will participate various speakers including Umberto Palagi, Giuseppe Giannelli, Antonio Bini and Padre Carmine Cucinelli, rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello. Also expected is a talk by Padre Heinrich Pfeiffer, Professor at the Gregorian University of Rome, one of the most respected scholars of the history of Christian art, who supports the hypothesis that the Face of Manoppello is identical with the Veronica.
This meeting – which will be moderated by Don Piero Ciardella – constitutes an interesting occassion for comparison and discussion around the theme of the Face of Christ, occuring just a few days before the awaited release of the second volume of Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth”, which will be dedicated to the themes of the passion and resurrection.
Facade of the cathedral of Lucca where the wooden crucifix of the Holy Face is preserved.
The two photos are taken from the website of the city of Lucca