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The Manoppello Image is an image of a face on a cloth, and claims of its being related to the Veil of Veronica have been made.
In 1999, German Jesuit Father Heinnrich Pfeiffer, Professor of Art History at the Pontifical Gregorian University, announced at a press conference in Rome that he had found the Veil in a church of the Capuchin monastery, in the small village of Manoppello, Italy, where it had been since 1660. Professor Pfeiffer had in fact been promoting this image for many years before.
According to local tradition, an anonymous pilgrim arrived in 1508 with the cloth inside a wrapped package. The pilgrim gave it to Dr. Giacomo Antonio Leonelli, who was sitting on a bench in front of the church. The doctor went into the church and opened the parcel containing the Veil. At once he went out of the church but he did not find the bearer of the packet. The Veil was owned by the Leonelli family until 1608. Pancrazio Petrucci, a soldier married to a female member of the family, Marzia Leonelli, stole the Veil from his father-in-law’s house. A few years later, Marzia sold it for 400 scudi to Doctor Donato Antonio De Fabritiis to pay a ransom demand for her husband who was then a prisoner in Chieti. The Veil was given by De Fabritiis to the Capuchins who still hold it today. This history was documented by Father Donato da Bomba in his “Relatione historica” following researches started in 1640.
Professor Pfeiffer claims that the image is the Veronica itself, which he suggests was stolen from the Vatican during rebuilding that took place in 1506, before the Sack of Rome. He further suggests it is the cloth placed over Jesus' face in the tomb and the image was a by-product of the forces unleashed by the resurrection, forces he also believes formed the image on the Shroud of Turin. Additionally he has suggested a history of the veil going back to the first Century. His narrative though is unsupported by evidence and is indistinguishable from fiction. There is no official evidence connecting the cloth with Rome. However, some have observed bits of glass embedded in the cloth, suggesting a connection between it and its former glass container in St. Peters, said to be smashed open when the cloth was stolen. Nevertheless, the cloth has received much publicity in recent years and Pope Benedict XVI visited the veil on 1 September 2006.
The cloth has been claimed to be made of a rare fiber called byssus, which is a natural fiber coming from a bivalve mollusc Pinna nobilis, woven into sea silk, and used by ancient people mainly around the Mediterranean coasts . Paul Badde, the Vatican Correspondent for Die Welt, claims this is a kind of fabric which would usually only be found in the graves of Egyptian pharaohs, but byssus fabric (or sea silk) has never been exclusive to ancient Egyptians and was considered a high quality fabric made by the Phoenicians, Greek, the Romans, but also during the Middle Ages by Frenchmen, Italians and even still today by Sardinians. However a sample for the laboratory tests that could confirm this material has never been allowed to be taken, and a recent paper concludes that linen must be regarded as the most probable material.
Some researchers state that despite claims of divine origins, the face on the veil at Manoppello conforms in appearance to the characteristics of a man-made image, and that stylistically it is similar to images dating to the late Middle Ages or early renaissance. During the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, held at the ENEA Research Centre of Frascati in 2010, proponents of the painted image theory said the image (and other related copies) is typical of representations of the human form from a given period, and is imperfectly executed, with numerous stylised features, showing that the artist either did not understand, or did not wish to comply with the basic principles of proportion that apply to realistic renderings of the human form apart from some features, such as the crooked nose, which might show the beaten, bruised and human Christ that people would expect to see in an actual divine image.
A further objection, advanced by Ian Wilson, is that because the image does not bear a familial resemblance to known copies (see above), it cannot be the version of the Veronica that was venerated in the Middle Ages. However, author Paul Badde in his 2010 book The Face of God, shows that Wilson's claim is incorrect. He shows illustrations of images made prior to 1608 of an open-eyed and open-mouthed man just like the Manoppello image. After 1608, most copies of the image changed to show closed eyes and a closed mouth. Badde contends that around this time is when the true image was stolen from the Vatican while it was to be moved to a new chapel which was under construction. Badde also points out that the original case with broken glass is on display at the Vatican museum and that it had glass on both sides. Only the image of Manoppello is visible from both sides of the cloth, thus the original case must have contained a cloth visible from both sides.
Fanti and Jaworski claim in a paper (article) that the face on the Manoppello Image has numerous "interesting analogies" (citation from page 1) with the face presented on the Shroud of Turin although "their shapes and sizes are not identical" (on page 5). They claim that 3D properties of the Manoppello Image (similar to that of the Shroud, but weaker) have been discovered. They also conclude that the characteristics "speak in favor of the Acheropita image", (still on page 1) in other words the theory of the image being not made by human means, which is in contradiction with the studies by R. Falcinelli who is an expert in photography and claims instead that the Manoppello image is rather a manmade painted artifact that would be reminiscent of existing iconography.
Gian Marco Rinaldi from the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CICAP) goes as far as to say that the theory according to which there would not be any trace of pigment on the Manoppello Image is nothing but an "urban legend", which takes its roots from internet sites and blogs as well as from the public statements of religious authorities in Italy and many articles from Paul Badde in Die Welt, all of whom have extrapolated dubiously the works of Donato Vittore and Giulio Fanti. Fanti, although being pro-authenticity, has never claimed that there weren't any traces of pictural pigments, he only stated in his papers that the manner in which the image was made is not known to him and that the image has not been made by weaving "colored thread". Fanti and his collaborators claimed that certain parts did contain pigments but when zooming to a certain extent between the fibers, pigments were not found between them but only on the fabric's surface, due to the intrinsic characteristics of the extremely fine byssus fabric, according to them. Rinaldi insists upon the fact that Fanti and his associates never said in any paper whatsoever that the Manoppello Image corresponded "exactly" to the Turin Shroud, and that such an extrapolated statement has only been made public by sister Blandine Schlömer, a Trappist nun from Manopello in charge of communicating with the medias. Rinaldi shows that Fanti changed many times his theory, claiming pigments were absent, then only visible in particular zones such as the eyes and finally that yes it contains pigments but only the manner they were deposited ion the byssus is unknown to him. These never-ending adjustments of the pro-authenticity arguments may have led some to extrapolate to such a degree, according to Rinaldi.
- Acheiropoieta: images "Not made by Hands"
- Depiction of Jesus
- Relics associated with Jesus
- Shroud of Turin
- Sudarium of Oviedo
- Veil of Veronica
- http://holyfaceofmanoppello.blogspot.com/2008/05/fr-heinrich-pfeiffer-sj-teaches-about.html Excerpt of Il Volto Santo di Manoppello (The Holy Face of Manoppello), published by Carsa Edizioni in Pescara (page 13) access date March 2013
- Ian Wilson, Holy Faces, Secret Places, page 161
- Phyllis Tortora & Robert Merkel (Editors), 1996, Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, page 82
- Inside the Vatican October 2004
- Tr. Laufer 1915:109
- link from the french ministry of culture, showing a 14th century cap in byssus http://www.culture.gouv.fr/fr/arcnat/saint-denis/fr/vignet_fich1.htm
- Tr. Bretschneider 1871, p. 24
- Maeder, Hänggi, and Wunderlin 2004, pp. 68-71.
- Jaborski, J. S., "Properties of byssal threads, the chemical nature of their colors and the Veil of Manoppello", 2010, end of "Conclusions" in di Lazzaro
- "Il Volto Santo di Manoppello", article from the review "Hera", num. 68, september 2005
- "The face of Manoppello and the veil of Veronica:new studies" http://www.acheiropoietos.info/proceedings/FalcinelliManoppelloWeb.pdf
- The International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images (IWSAI) , full report of the event held at the ENEA Research Centre of Frascati, Italy, May 4 through May 6, 2010. http://old.enea.it/produzione_scientifica/volumi/V2010_12-Acheiropoietos.html
- The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, Igantius Press, Paul badde, 2010.
- The Third Dallas International Conference on the Shroud of Turin, Dallas, September 8–11, 2005
- "La legenda del colore che non c'era" (the legend of the non-existent paint) by G.M. Rinaldi, member of CICAP, http://www.cicap.org/new/stampa.php?id=273382
- di Lazzaro, P. (ed.), Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientic approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA, 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9
- Sudarium Christi The Face of Christ online audio visual featuring texts by sudarium expert Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlömer et al.
- The Rediscovered Face - 1 first of four installments of an audiovisual presentation relating the holy image with a number of ancient predecessors, YouTube, access date March 2013.
- The Holy Face of Manoppello, Francesco Barbesino published originally in Italtian (Cristianità n. 311, 2002) translation by Raymond Frost, University of San Francisco
- Volto Santo di Manoppello, The Holy Face by Juliusz Maszloch.