HOLY FACE OF MANOPPELLO – TRUE ICON – Signs from the Resurrected Lord

The image on the veil is not easily visible as shown in the photo by Paul Badde. Pope Benedict XVI himself venerated the image. When superimposed over the face in the Shroud of Turin, the the two images form a perfect match.

– Miguel Augusto (*)

Last Easter Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection of the Lord. The evangelist John report in the Gospel that the tomb was not indeed completely empty. He and Peter saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head, rolled up separately from the burial cloths. What they probably did not know is that these relics contained the image of the body and face of Our Savior, immortalized for eternity. Based on the studies of the writer Paul Badde, we discover the Lord’s veil – today known as the Veil of Manoppello – in which a miraculous image of Jesus’ face is left. Like the miraculous images of the Shroud and of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Veil of Manoppello has defied science, which does not find answers as to how the image was imprinted on the fabric (mussel silk).

The German theologian Klaus Berger has said of the historian and journalist, Paul Badde: “Nobody has ever dared to go deeper into the Holy Sepulcher than Paul Badde.”

The Veil of Manoppello is the sudarium of Christ, asserts Badde. This is the mysterious second cloth from the tomb of the crucified Christ that John the Evangelist discovered together with another linen sheet, which is today preserved in Turin. Badde associates the term sudarium with the Veil of Manoppello, which has an image of Jesus’ face, alive and with His eyes wide open.

He argues that the Shroud and the Veil present us with two witnesses to the reality of the Resurrection, the two witnesses required by Jewish law. One shows us Christ dead and the other Christ alive.

Christ’s tomb was not empty on the first Easter morning. There was nobody in it – that is true. Christ was no longer lying there. Yet in the decisive passage (John 20:5), it says of the disciple, the one Jesus loved, that stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on Jesus face, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. So the tomb was not empty. And it is unthinkable that John should have bothered himself with irrelevant details at this point.

That is why Turin Shroud and Manoppello Veil belong together in a unique way. These two cloths, so very different from each other, both show miraculous images, and that is particularly important. They are both incredible.

The Shroud, of course, bears an image of the whole body of Jesus, bloodied and wounded, majestic in death – a large four-meter long linen sheet, but dim in its outlines and detail. The Veil, on the other hand, is a delicate, transparent piece of expensive material, measuring just 28 cm by 17 cm, in which the face of Jesus seems to float in light, even to store light.

These miraculous images reflect nothing less than the miracle of the absolutely inexplicable Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. They are not photos or paintings; they are themselves marvellous new creations by God. The two images are as inexplicable as life itself.

Badde describes the Shroud and the Veil as “the first pages of the Gospel,” written during the very night of the Resurrection, not by man’s hands though, and written in images rather than words.

The Shroud turned up in France and was first publicly displayed in Lirey in 1356. From then on it gained increasing attention, while the Veil faded into obscurity.  This Veil turned up in 1508 when it was brought to the little town of Manoppello by an unknown stranger, and is now housed in a reliquary above the altar of the Capuchin monastery there, visible to all who visit. The shrine is known as the Volto Santo, or Holy Face.

When the Capuchin custodian of the Manoppello shrine, Fr. Domenico da Cese, in 1977 took a large photograph of the Veil to a Eucharistic Congress in nearby Pescara, the world began to take notice.

Badde highlights that the fabric (byssos – fabric made from mussel silk), for instance, is the most precious fabric you can imagine – and it is a fabric that absolutely cannot be painted on. It seems to be painted with light somehow and is therefore changing from every angle, in every different light, in different seasons, daytimes…

When laid upon the face of the Shroud of Turin they both form a perfect match.

Pope Benedict XVI chose to visit the shrine at Manoppello as one of the first trips of his pontificate. Badde revealed that “he chose to travel there immediately after he had read my book, of which I had sent my very first copy to him on October 1, 2005.”

Benedict XVI, on September 1, 2006, visited the shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello. This was the first journey of his pontificate inside Italy upon which he himself had decided.

“This was a turning point in the story of the Holy Face, after which there was no turning back,” recalled Badde.

Veil of Manoppello vs Veil of Veronica

The Veil of Manoppello is often confused with the veil of Veronica who allegedly had wiped Jesus’ Face on his way to Calvary. The account, however, does not appear in the Gospels, and has come down to our days by the tradition of the Church. Her name contains, however, one of the real and true names of this veil: “Vero-Ikon”; this is: “True Icon”.

The so-called Veil of Veronica, however, was preserved and revered, not in Manoppello, but in Saint Peter’s in Rome, in the mightiest church in Christendom, unlike the “Holy Face” of the little Capuchin church in Manoppello.

There were reports about this mysterious image (Veil of Veronica) dating from as early as the sixth century: reports of a portrait of Christ on a delicate veil, said to be “not painted by human hands.” It was “drawn from the water,” said the earliest Syriac source. No one had ever been able to explain how it came into the world.

The term sudarium has long been taken to refer to the Shroud of Turin, but it is only one of the “gravecloths” (othonia in Greek, which means “wrappings”). Others are the bloodied cloth preserved at Oviedo, in Spain, and another a headband, kept in Cahors in southern France.

What is of great significance is that the Veil of Manoppello was first publicly displayed in Rome in 1208, and up to that time, icons and paintings of Christ bear a close resemblance to the features on the Veil – even to a tiny lock of hair on the forehead. Why would an artist put that there if he was not copying the Veil?

Paul Badde as said: “What I know, however, is this: It is going to change the face of the world as soon as Christianity realizes fully that God has indeed left not only the testimony of a good number of reliable witnesses (in the Gospels for instance) but also a material image of himself on earth. It will change the world sooner rather than later – at least in a way that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has changed the map and history in Mexico after she had appeared and left her image there on December 12, 1531.”

Badde’s research over a number of years are contained in two books: The Face of God and The True Icon.

(*) with excerpts from Paul Badde book “The Face of God”. Inside the Vatican (magazine). National Catholic Register (a service of EWTN) and Zenit.

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