Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Miracle of the Holy Face Told by Padre Antonio from Poschiavo (1714)

How the image disappeared and then reappeared

by Antonio Bini -

The testimony given to us by Padre Antonio from Poschiavo - written on August 12, 1714 - deserves to be remembered, not least of all in relation to the question of doing research by opening the reliquary which holds the Holy Face.

Padre Antonio, the father guardian of the shrine at that time, wanted to render the reliquary more sumptuous by providing a new silver frame and so took up a collection of donations of money and objects of gold and silver which were given to the shrine by the faithful who had received graces.

During the changing of the frame, Padre Antonio, who had been given permission for this work by his Ordinary (religious superior) and by the Bishop of Chieti, opened the little internal wooden frame which enclosed the Holy Face between two panes of glass, the one which had been made by fra Remigio from Rapino, who must have been an expert artisan. Fra Remigio had been called to Manoppello by Padre Clemente from Castelvecchio, the first father guardian from the time when the convent of the Capuchins was still under construction.

According to what is told in the Relatione Historica (Historical Report) of Padre Donato from Bomba, the Holy Face at that time (1618) was still in the possession of Antonio De Fabritiis, who had given his consent that Padre Clement should put in order the Holy Face which "was in the middle of a veil...maltreated and badly cared for, (which) was all wrinkled, lined and eaten by moths and worms", eliminating the ruined surfaces around the face and placing it in between two panes of glass. Such a solution took into account not only some of the exceptional characteristics of the image - the transparency of the extremely fine fabric and the fact that the face could be seen present on both sides of the cloth -- but also served to permit the veil to be laid out and secured after having been damaged by the rough folding which even today is able to be seen in part by the naked eye.

Upon opening the internal frame Padre Antonio was thrown into a panic, according to what he writes in his report, as the image vanished and there remained only the silken fabric. In his confusion he tried to look a number of times at the veil which he held in his hands and not understanding what had happened he then decided to put everything back the way it was before. The image then reappeared, to the great relief of the father guardian who added that probably the Lord wanted to put him to the test, demonstrating for him "the divine nature" of the Veil, which he had previously thought "might have been a print". It is also interesting the evaluation regarding the type of fabric - silk - which the religious perceived while holding the Veil and turning it in his hands, which reveals on the tactile plane, beyond that of the visible plane, the texture of the threads.

Padre Antonio realized the urgency of documenting the episode for times to come -- drawing up the "relatione" (report), which is described on the front cover of the document as "Relatione del Volto Santo - del miracolo fatto dal Volto S. in tempo della guardiana del P. Antonio da Poschiavo", (The Report on the Holy Face -- on the miracle performed by the Holy Face during the time of the guardianship of Padre Antonio from Poschiavo), in which the names appear of some of the persons who had reason to be present, among whom was Nicola Valignani, belonging to the noble Teatine family. Certainly there was also present the goldsmith De Laurentiis of Chieti, who was dedicated to the production of the new frame.

Padre Filippo from Tussio in his history of the Holy Face (1875) reports at length on the episode and also reports briefly on an event quite similar which happened in 1703, whose protagonist was Padre Bonifacio from Ascoli, of whom there is lacking at this time any trace among the documents of the archives of the Convent.

It is a fact that since 1714 the Capuchins have not opened the internal frame of the reliquary; there is no reason to do so today for the irreparable damage that the extremely fine fabric might suffer. After three centuries of adhering to the panes of glass, the fabric may have become one with the glass. At the same time, the presence of the panes of glass does not impose any barrier to scientific research through recourse to modern technologies, which it should be noted have been in recent years applied including the use of digital microscopes, laser machines, infrared photography, etc.

There is little known about the life of Padre Antonio, the Capuchin who came down to Abruzzo from the valley of Grigioni in Switzerland, leaving the splendid alpine scenery of the Bernina for the spirituality of the Majella. We know that his family name originally was Costa, and that after Manoppello he was the the father guardian of the Convent in Chieti, the city where he died on July 16, 1742 at the age of 71, after 48 years in religious life. In the necrology of the Order of Friars Minor of Abruzzo, published in 1948, the Capuchin, whose swiss origin is there confirmed, is remembered as having been "charitable and prudent".

Thanks to some research which was done in the parish registers by the present day Pastor of the parish of Poschiavo, Don Cleto Lanfranchi, we learn that the family name Costa is common in the area and that the parish registers show that among the children baptized in 1671 there were four males with the last name Costa: Jacobus, Laurentius, Franciscus and Antonius. Unfortunately we don't know the baptismal name that Padre Antonio left behind after having taken his religious vows. For, ever since the earthquake of April 6, 2009 it has become extremely difficult to access the archives of the Province of the Capuchins following the transfer of their records from L'Aquila to Giulianova.

In the long line of humble capuchin friars who have accompanied the extraordinary history of the Holy Face of Manoppello, Padre Antonio, the friar come from afar, should be remembered for his witness of profound human emotion -- which one finds in his "Relatione" -- and which we believe ought to be transcribed in its entirety in order to facilitate its reading -- in coming face to face with an event which still today should give us pause to reflect.


Report on the silver frame of the Holy Face and how it was made

I, Fra Antonio from Poschiavo, being guardian of this place of Manoppello in the year 1714, with the permission of my superiors and of his Excellency Monsignor Archbishop of Chieti, a collection for the Sacred Reliquary of the Holy Face was taken up among the faithful who donated some rings of gold and silver because of the many and varied graces which they had received.

Through the efforts of the goldsmith Signore De Laurentiis from Chieti, they were turned into a silver frame which the goldsmith had arranged come from Naples, a frame which presently adorns the Sacred Reliquary of the Holy Face.

While the frame was being worked on, the Signore Camerlengo with some others of the governing council of Manoppello, said to me that the council would like to donate 60 ducats and as much as needed for the completion of the frame, also the members of the Preti family indicated that they would also each like to give a donation; while I was considering whether to accept these offerings, Signore Nicola Valignani also said that it would be for the greater propriety of the Holy Reliquary for the council also to provide and keep a special key for the door of the tabernacle where the Holy Face is kept. Having understood this, I refused all of their offerings, and thanked them for their good spirit and devotion.

The frame in question was made with the simple donations taken from the rings of gold and silver, with the addition of twenty ducats from the offerings of the convent and thus was spent the sum of sixty three ducats for the frame and for the working in silver by the honorable goldsmith.

After I had removed the Holy Face from the wooden frame where it previously had been between its two crystal glass panes, in order to put it in the silver frame, the figure disappeared, and there only remained the simple silken veil and after looking and looking again many times I was not ever able to see the figure, then I remained confused and beside myself, not knowing whatever I might do nor with whom I could consult.

But God then made me realize that this Sacred Image was not a human work but that it was truly divine, and to more strongly confirm me in the devotion to this Image as previously I had supposed that it might have been a print.

As soon as I put the said panes of crystal glass back together upon it(the Image)appeared as beautiful as it can be seen at the present time.

May all this be for His greater glory, and to confound me first of all I have set this down in the current year 1714.

Manoppello, 12 August 1714

Fra Antonio from Poschiavo
Guardian of the Capuchins

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frascati Conference Papers Now Available On-Line Thanks to Dr. Di Lazzaro the complete text of the Frascati Conference papers are available on-line. What a treasure trove of material! Papers from this scientific conference include ones on the Holy Face of Manoppello by Heinrich Pfeiffer, J.S. Jaworski, Roberto Falcinelli and Andreas Resch. Hopefully at the next such conference a scientist from the United States will be able to contribute a paper on the Holy Face of Manoppello, as a number have done at this conference in historic Frascati for the Shroud of Turin and the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frascati Conference Papers Published

The papers from the International Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images held in Frascati Italy in May of this year is now available from the ENEA italian national research institute which sponsored the conference

Below are the details on the publication taken from the Shroud of Turin blog of Dan Porter who says of the publication:

"A quick glance at the contents (topics and the presenters) should convince every serious Shroud of Turin scholar that this is a must"


Proceedings of the IWSAI 2010 International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images

Paolo Di Lazzaro
Chair / Editor

4 – 6 May 2010 Frascati, Italy

Organized by ENEA Italian National Agency for New Technologies,Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

vi Conference Committee
vii Foreword
ix Letter by B. Schwortz
x Verse


3 Sub-micrometer coloration depth of linens by vacuum ultraviolet radiation. (Invited paper)
— P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, A. Santoni, G. Baldacchini

11 Shroud-like experimental image formation during natural electrostatic discharges.
— G. de Liso

19 A scientific comparison between the Turin Shroud and the first handmade whole copy.
— T. Heimburger, G. Fanti


31 Sight and brain: an introduction to the visually misleading images.
— D. Murra, P. Di Lazzaro

35 Construction of a quantitative image of the Turin Shroud for details recognition.
— G. Fanti, C. Privitera

47 New image processing of the Turin Shroud scourge marks.
— B. Faccini, G. Fanti

55 ShroudScope, a web tool to analyze high-resolution photographs of the Shroud of Turin.
— M. Latendresse


63 Dislocations in plant fibers and in Turin Shroud fibers.
— L.G. Thygesen

67 List of evidences of the Turin Shroud.
— G. Fanti, J.A. Botella, F. Crosilla, F. Lattarulo, N. Svensson, R. Schneider, A. Whanger


79 Akeldama repudiation of Turin Shroud omits evidence from the Judean Desert.
— (Invited paper) D. Fulbright

87 Documenting the Shroud missing years. (Invited paper)
— D. Scavone

95 The “missing years” of the holy Shroud.
— A. Piana

103 Were sixth-century natural disasters factors in the transfer of relics from Palestine?
— D. Fulbright

111 Edessan sources for the legend of the holy Grail.
— D. Scavone

117 An unknown hideaway of the holy Shroud?
— A. Piana

123 Two unpublished letters of Secondo Pia about the 1898 Shroud photography.
— R. Falcinelli

129 Did Jesus give his Shroud to the servant of Peter?
— D. Fulbright

133 Why Jesus did not bring the patibulum but the whole cross.
— C.M. Glori


139 The promise (and threat) of the Shroud. (Invited paper)
— P.H. Wiebe

147 The brightest light of all.
— A. Silverman, N. Kerner


155 The copies of the Shroud.
— E. Marinelli, M. Marinelli

161 Crux mensuralis of Grottaferrata and Shroud of Turin.
— G. Baldacchini, F. Baldacchini, L. Casarosa, G. Falcone


171 The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin. A question of authenticity. (Invited paper)
— J.L. Fernandez Sanchez


181 Medical and forensic aspects of the man depicted on the Shroud of Turin. (Invited paper)
— N. Svensson

187 A medical study of the surface anatomy of the image and a medical forensic evaluation of the
blood marks of the Shroud of Turin in relation to image formation.
— G. Lavoie


197 The Tilma of Guadalupe. (Invited paper)
— J.C. Espriella Godinez

203 The concept of acheiropoietos, the icons of the likeness of Christ and the Veil of Manoppello.
— H. Pfeiffer

209 Properties of byssal threads and the chemical nature of colors of the Veil of Manoppello.
— J.S. Jaworski

217 The face on the Shroud and on the Veil of Manoppello.
— A. Resch

227 The face of Manoppello and the veil of Veronica: new studies.
— R. Falcinelli


239 Can contamination be detected on the Shroud to explain its 1988 dating? (Keynote lecture)
— M. Antonacci

249 A robust statistical analysis of the 1988 Turin Shroud radiocarbon dating results.
— (Invited paper) G. Fanti, F. Crosilla, M. Riani, A.C. Atkinson

255 Production of radiocarbon by neutron radiation on linen.
— A.C. Lind, M. Antonacci, G. Fanti, D. Elmore, J.M. Guthrie

263 Two archaeometric methods for cellulosic textile finds using enzymatic test.
— L. Campanella

267 A critical review of the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. ANOVA – a useful
method to evaluate sets of high precision AMS radiocarbon measurements.
— R. Van Haelst

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dr. Di Lazzaro, Organizer of Frascati Scientific Conference, Visits Shrine of the Holy Face

by Antonio Bini

Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro chief researcher at the Excimer Laser laboratory of the Italian national institute ENEA recently visited the Shrine of the Holy Face.

Di Lazzaro is well known for having conducted research by means of an impulse of ultraviolet light of just a few billionths of a second within a very restricted interval of the values of energy and density of power that has been able to color the surface of a linen cloth, with the same chromaticity as that of the image on the Shroud of Turin.

The results of the research, to which Professor Giulio Fanti, instructor at the University of Padua and expert on the shroud and the Holy Face also contributed, were presented in 2008 in the United States.

Dr. Di Lazzaro also organized last May, at the research center of ENEA in Frascati, an authoritative international scientific workshop on the images known as "acheropite": the Shroud of Turin, Tilma of Guadalupe, Holy Face of Manoppello. See

The scientist, who is shown in the photo above at the Shrine while in discussion with Sr. Blandina and with Dr. Francesca Esposito Bini of the Radiology Department of the General Hospital in Pescara, has affirmed that according to the research that has been conducted, the Holy Face presents characteristics which in themselves are unexplainable.

Friday, December 10, 2010

American Hearts in Manoppello part two

Sr. Blandina kneeling in adoration, in all simplicity, before the Holy Face

Diane joyfully experiencing the Holy Face

David and Diane Fincher's Story of Their Pilgrimage to Manoppello continued

At first I thought, "the mouth looks funny". Then I applied my medical knowledge
to the image and realized that there is evidence of gross trauma and swelling
around the mouth. Those "wrinkles" are from the swelling around the mouth.
Oh, what he endured for us!

There is a wonderful exhibit comparing the early icons of Christ done by Sr. Blandina. Don't miss it. It is to the left of the main altar out in another building. Also, don't fail to go upstairs to see the Volto Santo items, including a painting of blessed Padre Domenico.

St. Padre Pio came to the sanctuary (by bilocation, as he was known to do) and asked the prayers of Padre Domenico, caretaker of VS at the time, on the last day of his life. Pio also is reported to have told one of his Capuchin brothers that the Holy Face/Volto Santo was the greatest miracle they possessed.

The image of Christ we were allowed to freely see (that the Emperor himself could only glimpse once a year, for a short time, on his knees, IF he had confessed his sins and received Holy Communion). (The byssus is see-through and cannot be painted on.)

We noted the marks of the crucifixion, now mostly healed. Some bruising, swelling (especially around the mouth and cheeks) and scars remains. The ears were not visible. This surprised me. But I should have known, that as a Torah observant Jew, He did not cut the edges of his beard, and so, of course his ears cannot be seen!
It's a perfect match to the Shroud of Turin (which captured his image in death), and is believed to be one of the linens from around his head at the time of the Resurrection. But this one captured his image after being made alive!

From Manoppello we went about an hour away to Lanciano, site of the Eucharistic miracle in about 700 A.D., and on to Loreto and a number of other holy sites. We have received wonderful graces in our lives throughout the entire trip.

Along the way, in the middle of no-where, we stopped at a little building with a bus stop sign and discovered it to be a wonderful little place of prayer. It's like nothing we know here in America! May our story inspire someone to do the same.

Zenit Has Article on Holy Face of Manoppello Inspired by the Publication of The Face of God

Edward Pentin has published an article on the Holy Face which is a good summary of Paul Badde's book with a number of interesting quotes from the author, see the article at

Pentin's article originally appeared on the December 9 daily feed of Zenit, a Catholic news service, which I highly recommend Catholics should subscribe to. The subscription is free.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

American Hearts in Manoppello

In October of this year David and Diane Fincher of Tennessee made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. I am so happy to be able to share with you the story of their journey, in installments, with their hope that others will also be inspired to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Face.

David and Diane's
Pilgrimage to Italy - October 23-31 2010

This was our 3rd attempt to embark to Europe. We were stopped once by an earthquake in nearby Aquila and the 2nd time by a distant volcanic eruption that sent clouds of ash into our flight path. The 3rd time there was a terrorism related travel warning, but that only assisted us in obtaining better "space-available" up-grade seats. Sleeping was priority in our minds since we would arrive at 7:45 AM Rome time (which would have been 3:45 AM east coast time). We were advised to skip dinner and take 2 Tylenol PMs as soon as the flight started and to sleep as long as possible. We slept quite nicely and this kept us going (until 4 PM when we took a short nap). We didn't have much "jet lag" this way. Diane had wanted to travel to the Abruzzi for several years after hearing about Mary's home in Loreto, in which she is believed to have grown up, and in which the angel announced Christ's arrival. Christ was believed to have lived there for some time himself. It had been transported from Nazareth, and now resided in Loreto, Italy near Ancona.
But even more, she wanted to see the image of Christ preserved in a small Capuchin church in Manoppello, near Chieti. For certainly more than 400 years, and possibly 500, this image of Christ on Byssus (fine linen derived from the extremely rare silk of sea mollusks) had rested in this church. There is good reason to believe that this is the ancient "sudarium" or "Veronica" , an image of Christ that had at one time been considered the greatest treasure of the ancient church, along with the Shroud of Turin. St. Peter's in Rome (Vatican) was literally designed around a main pillar that, with great security, would house this sacred image. It is believed to be an authentic picture of Christ. It matches the image of the Shroud of Turin perfectly when the 2 images are overlaid. shows the match well.

Well, we saw all that, and so much more.
Our international experience started in Newark, NJ the day before our international flight. We were driven to church by a Haitian man named Marcel, to an area of Newark,NJ that surely must be named "little Portugal". The neighborhood had signs in Portuguese. The beautiful church, Our Lady of Fatima, was absolutely packed--- standing room only, with maybe 40+ standing in the rear.

The service was in English, but we could tell that for many this was, at best, a second language.
The young priest was a warm and wonderful teacher. The church had a beautiful light fixture that was a crown for our Lord, who ruled the universe, even while nailed to the cross.

After a good nights sleep, we headed for the airport… and that evening to Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport! We arrived at 7:45 A.M.Rome time and picked up a little Fiat Punto (Diesel, 5-speed) and headed out into Rome's Monday morning rush hour traffic.

All I can say is WHOA! Our walk with God was strengthened by praying constantly as we drove. It was magnitudes crazier than anything I'd ever driven in. Well, they probably are all relatives of Mario Andretti, one way or another.  I had been warned and was mentally prepared and we were equipped with a wonderful GPS that told us where to turn and even pronounced the names of streets and towns for us. It also told us speed limits and our current speed, though I think the drivers around us interpret the speed signs in MPH and not KPH. They were flying!

We headed out following A25 toward Pescara, the larger city near medium sized Chieti and tiny Manoppello.
Note: Don't confuse Mannoppello with nearby LettoManoppello and Manoppello Scalo. (To be continued)

Jay Fadden interviews Paul Badde on's This is the Day

Face of God interview on CatholicTV

Great interview with Jay Fadden the co-host of "This is the Day" program on Paul speaks about the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Face of Manoppello as sources we can rely on for our faith in Jesus. Jay and Fr. Robert Reed were obviously greatly moved by what Paul told them. The entire program is well worth watching. Right after Paul's interview there is a meditative report by a young student in Boston on the martyrdom of the Iraqi Catholics several weeks ago in the Cathedral in Baghdad.