The Veil

The “Holy Face” is a very tenuous Veil that measures 6,70 inches by 9,45, stretched between two framed panes of glass. In order to avoid running the risk of damaging the mysteriously impressed Image, the Veil has not yet been removed from the reliquary to verify scientifically the kind of staple that at a glance seems to be an ancient sea-byssus fibre, a precious “marine silk” also found inside some sarcophagi of the Egyptian pyramids, the “fine linen” mentioned forty-six times, neither more nor less, in the Bible.

The horizontal threads are rather wavy and the structure of the material is simple, so weft and warp intersect in the usual way as in a normal texture. The fabric is so thin that the Image is visible before and behind the shrine and so transparent that a newspaper, put behind it, could be read even at a distance. There is the effigy of a long-haired man with broken nose, bloodstained forehead (Mr 15, 17 – Mt 27, 29) and swollen cheek (Jn 18:22); his half-open mouth seems to be about to utter the word LOVE (1Jn 4:8 “God is Love”) and his light red lips seem to annul every material aspect.

The contrasting shades of brown flatten by candlelight so the dark bruises covering his hit face become visible (Jn 19, 1-3). His eyes look very intensely upward so we can see the white of the eye under the iris. His pupils are completely open, but in an irregular way. His glance is amazed but also benevolent and consoling as really Jesus loves us so much that, even after his Passion, He said to the disciples: “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28, 20).

Prof. D. Vittore from Bari and Prof. G. Fanti from Padua, not only by enlarged digital photographs but also by ultra-violet rays confirm that there is no paint on the Veil. The expert iconographer B. Paschalis Schlömer evidenced the truth of her assertion by placing both diapositives (of the Holy Face of Manoppello and the Holy Shroud of Turin) one upon another: their transparent data-points fit together perfectly and Prof. A. Resch declares that the wonderful identity, moving us to tears, confirms the authenticity of both Relics as without any doubt it can’t be mere chance: Our Lord’s Face appears in his Resurrection from the dead on the third day after his Deposition from the Cross (Lu 9, 22).

Heinrich Pfeiffer, professor of iconography and history of Christian art at the papal Gregorian university, affirms that the Veil was considered also in times past “ảχειροποίητος”, i.e. not a human work of art and this sacred Image was the model for the later representations of the Holy Face, included the portraits painted in the Roman catacombs during the IV century. Furthermore, he asserts that Our Lord gave us not only his Word by means of the Holy Scriptures, but also his Image formed in the tomb when a supernatural radiant energy maybe illuminated (1 Jn 1, 5 “God is light”) the “fine linen” soaked in aloes and myrrh, photosensitive “spices” (John 19, 39-40), leaving the impression of the immense event, the divine evidence of the Passion, Resurrection and everlasting Glory of the Redeemer (Mt 28, 7 – Lu 24, 51 – Acts 1, 9).

The Holy Face

“…and the napkin*, that was about his head, not lying with the linen cloths**, but rolled up in a separate place”. (Jn 20, 7)


* ”Soudarion” – the Holy Face of Manoppello, venerated in times past in Rome and named Veronica “vera icona” = true icon. (H. Pfeiffer)
** ”Othonia” – the Holy Shroud of Turin: superimposed, this Image and the Veil of Monoppello coincide perfectly. (B. Paschalis Schlömer)