Holy Face by Bodasinki, Maciej & Dokowicz, Leszeck & Gorny, Grzegorz
During a thunder and lightning storm a small group of pilgrims prays before the Holy Face. The Rector of the Shrine, Fr. Carmine Cucinelli, OFM, Cap., describes the story of Fr. Donato da Bomba regarding the arrival of the Holy Face in Manoppello in 1506 through a mysterious pilgrim to the Church of San Nicola. Fr. Cucinelli summarizes how the Capuchins have provided for the veneration of the Holy Face since the 16th century. Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, Paul Badde, Redemptorist Fr. Andreas Resch,Fr. Antonio Tedesco give their expert analysis of the Holy Face. Sr. Blandina, who was the first person to widely promote the idea of the complete match between the Holy Face of Manoppello and the Shroud of Turin, noticed the "identical symmetry of the faces on the Veil and the Shroud" and that there is "geometrical analogy between the wounds on both cloths". Fr. Andreas Resch states that "there is a 100% correspondence in structure and dimensions" and that "both images present one and the same person". Fr. Carmine describes how the veil has never been examined nor touched by anyone, and has never been studied by invasive techniques. He noted how the image disappeared when the glass panes were removed several hundred years ago and only re-appeared when the panes were put back as they were before. However there have been non-invasive studies conducted using infrared and ultraviolet photography. Fr. Antonio Tedesco, curator of the Roman Pantheon, alerts us to the fact that the image is not painted, that there are no traces of color. The fabric of the veil is in fact byssus which can not absorb paint. The veil is as thin as nylon but is well over 400 years old. Paul Badde states that byssus, or sea silk, is the most ancient and most expensive material which we know of as having come down to us. It is made from the threads of the mollusk coming the Mediterranean Sea. A narrator with beautiful film of an underwater diver harvesting the mollusks, describes how byssus was mentioned 46 times in the bible and that it is as thin as spider web and not commercially available for 2000 years. Byssus today is woven in only one place in the world, the island of Sant'Antioco off the coast of Sardinia. Chiara Vigo, the world's most proficient weaver of byssus, tells some of the characteristics of byssus. It can last for 5,000 years, it can not be painted but only dyed. It is resistant to fire and to moths. The veil of Manoppello has a rainbow like transparency and the image completely disappears from view in direct light. The image of the Holy Face changes expressions depending on when it is viewed from different angles and in different light. Paul Badde speaks about the burial of Jesus which he says "was worthy of a king although he died like a dog, a criminal". He theorizes that it was Mary Magdalen who covered the face of Jesus with the veil which came from her wardrobe. It was her "final farewell" for one whom she loved so much. Raphael's work of art shows Mary Magadalen holding a cloth of byssus, with no facial image, pressed into Jesus's cruficied hand while he is being carried in a linen cloth to the tomb. The papal ritual for burial was changed by Pope John Paul II to include the placing of a face cloth on the dead pontiff. Cardinal Dziwisz made this gesture during the funeral rites for John Paul II. Pope Benedict was informed by Cardinal Meisner about his visit to Manoppello which helped to encourage the Pope to also make this visit. Cardinal Meisner after his visit said "today I have met the risen Christ".