Feast Day 12th July
is no biblical record of Veronica, but a tradition developed in
the Church surrounding a woman whose name, Veronica, is made up
from the Latin word 'vera' and the Greek word 'icon', meaning
together 'true likeness'. The story of Veronica is immortalised
in the 6th Station of the
story of Veronica
As Our Lord struggled along the road out of Jerusalem to Calvary,
bearing the heavy burden of the cross, his face was covered in sweat,
his eyes filled with blood streaming down from the crown of thorns.
A woman, who we call Veronica, was moved to pity for this poor,
wretched man, and pressed forward out of the crowd - probably at
great risk to herself, for Roman soldiers were a rough and intolerant
lot - and held out her veil to Jesus for him to wipe his face.
an everlasting memorial of this kind act, the Saviour imprinted
the image of his Holy Face on her Veil. This Veil has been treasured
by Christians ever since, and has been found to have mysterious,
miraculous powers to heal sickness and to convert unbelievers.
Veil itself became known as 'the Veronica', and a physical object
called 'the Veronica' is kept in Vatican. It was first seen in Rome
in the eighth century, and was installed in the Vatican in 1297.
this veil may well be a 'copy' of a previously known 'true likeness'
of the Holy Face called the 'Mandylion'. |
are 'copies' and 'copies'...!
When I say a 'copy', it is important to know that it is not 'just'
a copy. When it comes to holy relics, there is a scheme of things
in the Church. An object can gain holiness and power from being
in contact with another holy object.
For example, something which had had direct contact with, say, Saint
Francis, would be a 'first class' relic; but something which had
direct contact not with St Francis but with this first relic, would
be a 'second class' relic. Other objects, which had direct contact
with the second relic, would be 'third class' relics, and so on
- each one retaining some of the holiness and power of the first
relic. The Veronica may be a second-class relic; in other words,
it may have had direct contact with the Mandylion, which was the
actual cloth which directly contacted Jesus.
further possibility, however, is that the image on the Veronica
was itself mysteriously transferred to the 'veil' whilst that cloth
was in the presence of the Mandylion. The Mandylion image was apparently
capable of transferring itself in this mystical way to clay tiles,
wooden panels, cloth, etc., which were placed or remained near it.
surrounding the Veronica
It is known that in the early centuries of Christianity there were
several holy images purporting to be the 'true likeness' doing the
rounds, and this confuses the issue.
official line of the Catholic church is that the Veil in the Vatican
is the original image of the Holy Face imprinted on the veil Veronica
offered to Jesus. Catholic
Online web site gives the following account of Veronica and
Veronica: "The woman of Jerusalem who wiped the face of
Christ with a veil while he was on the way to Calvary. According
to tradition, the cloth was imprinted with the image of Christ's
Veronica bore the relic away from the Holy Land, and used it
to cure Emperor Tiberius of some illness. The veil was subsequently
seen in Rome in the eighth century, and was translated to St.
Peter's in 1297 by command of Pope Boniface VIII...
The term ('Veronica') was a convenient appellation to denote
the genuine relic of Veronica's veil and so differentiate it
from the other similar relics, such as those kept in Milan.
The relic is still preserved in St. Peter's, and the memory
of Veronica's act of charity is commemorated in the Stations
of the Cross."
of the Cross
In Catholic churches you will find 14 paintings
or icons around the walls, depicting various events which took place
on the road to Calvary as Jesus went to his crucifixion. These events
are called 'Stations of the Cross'. back