Friday, September 19, 2008
Paul Badde's Questions Elicit a Brief Summary of Fr. Pfeiffer's Thesis that the Veronica and the Holy Face of Manoppello are One and the Same
An english translation of a selection from the book La Seconda Sindone (The Other Shroud)by Paul Badde,Newton Compton, Rome, 2007 p. 82. This book originally published in German Das Gottliche Gesicht, Pattloch Verlag GmbH and Co. KG, Munich
Paul Badde: (Vatican correspondent for Die Welt newspaper) "you were the first to say: The Veronica has been found in Manoppello!" while in Rome each year a Veronica continues to be displayed from the balcony of the massive pillar of the same name. We are dealing here with an astounding affirmation. Did someone else discover this? Did you read this from some other source?"
Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J.(Professor of the Gregorian University, Rome): "No, what I had read was all the literature available regarding the images of Christ, from the beginning in antiquity. I knew all of it almost from memory. The discovery resulted from a process nurtured by various experiences. But the most significant circumstance was my first encounter with the veil, in the autumn of 1986. I had just finished my book on the images of Christ. It was then that I saw for the first time the image in question and immediately I said to myself: 'This must be the Veronica!'"
Paul Badde: "Why?"
Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J.: "Because I already knew well that image from the things which I had read. And then because it is so transparent. There can not be two examples of an object of this kind. Of this I was immediately certain. One can not paint anything on it, not even with the greatest efforts. It's not possible, and that's that. Certainly it is possible to paint on both sides of a cloth simultaneously. The Byzantines were able to do it on silk. But you can not paint an image that practically disappears. There is no technique that makes this possible, it can't be done. And I knew that there had existed only one single object capable of exciting people in this way: In the West the Veronica and in the East the so-called "Icon of Camulia". And so it came immediately to my mind to consider them both as one and the same."
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
A selection from the book by Saverio Gaeta L'Altra Sindone, La Vera Storia del Volto di Gesu' (The Other Shroud, the True Story of the Face of Jesus) Mondadori, Milan, 2005.
On May 13, 1373 the blessed Julian of Norwich, a devout Englishwoman, obtained what she had been asking in prayer for a long time: “To be really present with the Magdalen and the other friends of Christ to be able to see with my own eyes the passion that our Lord suffered for me, and thus to be able to suffer with him, as was given to those who loved him and were alongside him... A bodily vision in which I would be able to have a greater knowledge of the physical suffering of our Savior and of the compassion of Our Lady and of all his faithful friends who were alive at that time and thus saw his suffering”.
Julian, who spent at least the last twenty years of her life as a cloistered nun, compiled a manuscript with the recounting of the sixteen revelations which she had received, subdividing the draft into eighty-six chapters. The tenth narrates the second revelation and it is of great interest for us because it deals with among other things, as states the summary added by a compiler, “of our redemption and of the fading of the veil of Veronica”. After having pointed to the “brutal and dark death that our blessed Lord, beautiful and splendorous, suffered for our sins”, the visionary recounts that there came to her mind “the Holy Handkerchief at Rome on which he imprinted his own blessed features at the time of his cruel passion, for when he was going willingly to death he suffered much change of colour. Many people are surprised that his likeness should be brown and black, downcast and wan, since he who imprinted on it his blessed face is the fairest of heaven, the flower of the earth, and the fruit of the maiden’s womb. How then could this likeness be so pale and so unbeautiful?”
Incisively Julian continues, “In truth I dare to say, and all must believe, that there was never a man as beautiful as he, up until the moment in which the beautiful color of his flesh was changed by his toil and suffering, by his passion and death. Of this one speaks in the eighth revelation, in the sixteenth chapter, where is described more fully of this image. And there it says that the face imprinted on the veil of Veronica that is found in Rome, changes in color and appearance, appearing at times alive and consoling, at other times more afflicted and as one who is dead, so that all are able to see”. The plasticity of the images that are proposed by Julian in the sixteenth chapter call to mind the various photographs of the Face of Manoppello, according to the light that falls upon the veil and the position from which it is observed. “I saw the sweet face as if dray and pale, with the ashen color of the dead, and then deadly pallid, while he was failing and then as violet and then yellowish, little by little as death entered more profoundly in his flesh. His passion manifested itself to me more distinctively on his blessed face, and in particular on his lips. There I saw the four colors which I have described”.
Here several sections of Blessed Julian's Revelations of Divine Love are quoted which describe her mystical visions of the Veil of Veronica. Blessed Julian lived from 1342 until approximately 1417 and is considered the most important mystic of English origin. Her voice and prayers will surely be a help in this common effort to know the Face of Christ. As Saverio Gaeta highlights, The plasticity of the images that are proposed by Julian in the sixteenth chapter call to mind the various photographs of the Face of Manoppello, according to the light that falls upon the veil and the position from which it is observed.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Illustration above is of Dante's Divine Comedy from Venice around 1390
"Lume e' la' su che visibile face
lo creatore a quella creatura
che solo in lui vedere ha la sua pace.
E' si distende in circula figura,
in tanto che la sua circunferenza
sarebbe al sol troppo larga cintura."
Paradiso XXX 100-106
"Light is there above which makes the creator visible to every creature that has his peace only in seeing him, and it spreads to so wide a circle that the circumference would be too great a girdle for the sun"
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Opusculum of Grimaldi of 1618 showing the face of Jesus on the Veil of Veronica with his eyes open
The copy of Grimaldi's Opusculum made by Francesco Speroni in 1635 showing the face of Jesus on the Veil of Veronica with his eyes closed.
“La Veronica com’era. l’importanza dell’Opusculum di Jacopo Grimaldi”
“The Veronica as it was. The importance of the Opusculum of Jacopo Grimaldi”
from Il Volto Santo di Manoppello, no. 1, Giugno 2002
by Antonio Bini translation by Raymond Frost
The Great Jubilee of 2000 recently completed was not “just” an important religious event but also a media event without precedent, accompanied also by notable publishing activity, historical research, artistic expositions, etc. An extraordinary confluence of initiatives involving historians and other scholars from many different countries, committed to a reconstruction of the origins, and not just religious, of the phenomenon of the pilgrimage, and therefore of the character assumed following the Proclamation by Pope Boniface VII of the first jubilee in the year 1300, after the Granting of the Indulgence of Pope Celestine in 1294.
The new millennium has emphasized more than just a little the search for a more profound and articulated analysis – from the point of view of the pilgrims – to see the phenomenon not only on the strictly religious plane, but integrated as it was in history, art, and culture, and not only European.
These studies have brought us in particular to a rediscovery of the Veronica, which has definitively come out from the shadows of the past four centuries, in as much as for a long time it had been the principal motivation for the pilgrims to undertake their trip to Rome, even before the introduction of the Jubilee.
The Prefect himself of the Vatican’s Apostolic Library has admitted that the jubilee event has offered “for the admiration and interest of visitors and pilgrims an important amount of its immense cultural patrimony, normally reserved solely for research”, (recognizing also that “for the first time” there were on display “important and ancient manuscripts”!). A precious contribution in this regard has come for example from the exhibit “Pilgrims to Rome and Jubilees: The medieval pilgrimage to St. Peter’s 350-1350”, held at Rome in the Palazzo Venezia from October 29, 1999 to February 26, 2000, which dedicated an entire section to the cult of the Veronica.
At this exhibit there were on display for the first time together numerous badges of the Veronica, some of them in very fine detail, coming from a variety of European countries. These badges were worn by pilgrims to Rome upon their return home, as a visible sign of the cult of the Holy Face.
As a result of the papal prohibition of making copies or representations of the Veronica (beginning with that of Pope Paul V in 1616) and afterwards of the order to destroy those already existing, there remains hardly a trace of these artifacts in our country.
But perhaps the most important surprise is to consider the publication for the first time of the cover page of the “Opusculum de sacrosanto Veronicae Sudario” (Opusculum of the Most Holy Sudarium of Veronica) prepared by the canon Jacopo Grimaldi, archivist and guardian of the relics of St. Peter’s, which page contains the representation of the Veronica. The document shows the date MDCXVIII (1618), even if the digits for the last three years seem added, in as much as they are written in larger print and above all because they are shown extending beyond the graphic delimitation reserved for the text, a circumstance which contrasts with the general scrupulous precision. It is not to be excluded that the correction itself could have been added after the death of Grimaldi.
The document is of extraordinary importance because it shows the Veronica actually as it was in its reliquary, constituting the fundamental reference for the work of so many artists (at least until 1600), although in its inevitable subjectivity of the pictorial expression, and for the same image carried in the various editions of the medieval “Mirabilia” (guides for the pilgrims coming to Rome).
The Opusculum, which was prepared by the last archivist to have direct guardianship of the relic before its disappearance, permits us to go beyond once and for all the most fantastic and uncontrolled hypothesis developed in the last four hundred years regarding the image of the relic.
The historian Genoveffa Palombo, author of the weighty volume, “Giubileo Giubilei” (Jubilee of Jubilees), ed. Rai-Eri, 1999, which carries for the first time the abovementioned cover page, affirms that we are dealing with a “very precise” document (cfr. note 99, page 282, op.cit), in the sense that the image drawn refers back to the Veronica.
This is a valuation which permits another scholar to sustain that the image present in the Opusculum of Grimaldi “refers wholly and in every way to the Holy Face of Manoppello” (cfr. Paola Sorge, “Manoppello and the enigma of the Holy Face”, in La Repubblica, suppl. of September 14, 2000, p. 43)
In this regard the authority of Grimaldi must be underscored. Grimaldi also must be considered the most respected and credible conoscitore of the basilica of St. Peter’s during the work of reconstruction, as he was the privileged witness to the long phase of the transformation of the basilica, which also foresaw the tearing down of the chapel where the Veronica was preserved. What’s more, he wrote the weighty manuscript entitled “Description of the ancient Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican”.
The document appeared in a passing way also in a widely seen documentary on the Holy Face of Manoppello, done by the German television network ARD, aired in the spring of 2000.
Until now there have not been any other “escapes” of the document, preserved in the archives of St. Peter’s.
On the occasion of the great exhibit dedicated to the theme “The Face of Christ”, held to coincide with the conclusion of the Jubilee event the Opusculum in question was not displayed, but only a later copy, also coming from the archives of St. Peter’s, published also in an accompanying catalog done by the publishing house Electa (IV.63).
After a rapid and summary preliminary consultation, it could appear to be a copy – although expressly later (1635) – reporting practically the same graphic layout and the same text of the same cover page of the Opusculum of Grimaldi dated 1618 (or 1615).
But upon closer inspection the image of the Veronica is seen as completely different to the one of which is supposedly the direct copy, rather taking inspiration from the painting done around 1616 by the canon Pietro Strozza (the so-called “copy” of the Veronica).
The clearest difference is certainly constituted by the eyes, which are closed on the copy while they are open on the cover page of the original opusculum of Grimaldi.
This copy of the Opusculum, as it is called, was made in 1635 by Francesco Speroni, who signed himself on the margin as sacristan of St. Peter’s.
Why should the copy refer back to Grimaldi to sustain a reproduction clearly different from the original which what’s more, is found preserved in the Vatican archives?
In all probability we are dealing with a bald attempt set in motion to hide the disappearance of the relic no longer found in St. Peter’s, with the canon Jacopo Grimaldi himself, cited in the copy, having died many years prior in 1623.
A series of events which leads us to reflect more than just a little, especially in order to underscore that the little known appearances of these two different documents – until now secret and unknown even to the most authoritative scholars – do not threaten any more to spread new confusion for researchers and pilgrims. Rather their appearances constitute a decisive contribution in the search for the truth, which is certainly favored by the possibility of comparing the authentic representation of the Veronica with that which in the period immediately following was clumsily modified.
Monday, September 8, 2008
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness', who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ"
From the Apostle Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians chapter 4 verses 3 to 6
Saturday, September 6, 2008
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."
Mary, made Immaculate in the womb of good St. Ann, help us to see your Son with the eyes of faith as you were able to see Him.