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Author Topic: The Holy Napkin
Tom
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So...Veronica is a saint of the ancient church. How is she portrayed? I frequently see her with the Holy Face but is that true or accurate? Or did someone mix metaphors a long time ago. Is there some, more ancient, tradition to her portrayal? Would it be better to show her bending or bent and touching the hem of the Lord?

I mention this because the publishers of the Sunday bulletin seems to have a mixed story as well.

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Tom

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Jill
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quote:
In the Orthodox tradition, the Holy Napkin has nothing to do with Veronica. In the Orthodox Church, Veronica was cured from the issue of blood I believe I was told.

The story of the Holy Napkin is much different and is usually painted alone, not with someone holding it or with king Abgar holding it. It has to do with King Abgar and a cure for leprosy.

I found this interesting since this also appeared in the weekly church bulletin a few years back as the story of Veronica rather than the story of King Abgar.

Anyone have clarity?


My dear John, I was addressing Tom's concerns as he expressed them above. He is an Orthodox Christian, therefore I have provided the Orthodox tradition of the origin of the Mandylion. He is alo correct to mention that the Veronica of Orthodox tradition is the woman who touched the hem of Christ's garment and was healed from the issue of blood.

More on the origin of the name Veronica, and on the history of these divergent stories surrounding the Mandylion:

Eusebius (c. 263 – c. 339) in his Historia Ecclesiastica (vii 18) tells how at Caesarea Philippi lived the woman whom Christ healed of an issue of blood (Matt 9:20). Legend was not long in providing the woman of the Gospel with a name. In the West she was identified with Martha of Bethany; in the East she was called Berenike, or Beronike, the name appearing in as early a work as the "Acta Pilati," the most ancient form of which goes back to the fourth century. The name "Veronica" itself is a latinization of Berenice, a Macedonian name, meaning "bearer of victory" (corresponding to Greek: phere-nikē). Folk etymology has attributed its origin to the words for true (Latin: vera) and image (Greek: eikon).

It is interesting to note that the fanciful derivation of the name Veronica from the words Vera Icon (eikon) "true image" dates back to the "Otia Imperialia" of Gervase of Tilbury (1150-1228), who says: "Est ergo Veronica pictura Domini vera."


From this, we can see that the tradition involving the healing of King Abgar predates the story of the woman on the Via Dolorosa by more than 800 years. The etymology of the name Veronica is also made clear, with the original Greek meaning being supplanted in the 13th century.

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John_Curran
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Veronica in Latin would be "true image."

I cannot quite understand Jill's insistance on Orthodox tradition at the expense of Roman tradition, as seen here regarding Veronica, for example.

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Jill
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As Tom said, Orthodox tradition holds that the Mandylion (also known by the respective Greek and Slavonic names Acheiropoeitos and Nyerukotvorniy, meaning Not Made By Hands. The Veronica story is not part of Orthodox tradition. It certainly does not appear in any of the liturgical texts of Holy Week, nor of the feast of the translation from Edessa to Constantinople of the Mandylion (August 16). Here are some selections from the Translation feast:

Sessional hymn, Matins:

The king of Edessa, recognising You as King of all things, who does not offer sceptre and army, but with a word multitudes of wonders, implored You, the God-man, to come to him. But seeing Your impression on the towel, he cried out, ‘You are Lord and God’.

Ode 5:

Small was the city that first prepared Your reception, O Christ, which the coming of Thaddaios set free from diseases, the writing of Your hand and the depiction of Your face.

The gifts of Your graces have been multiplied, O Christ; for the things which before Edessa held in its bosom as its boast, New Rome receives with rejoicing.


From the Synaxarion, read at Matins:

When our Lord and great God and Saviour Jesus Christ was, in His goodness, working many wonders, as it is recorded in the sacred Gospels, and when His reputation was spreading everywhere, Agbar the Ruler of Edessa heard of them and wanted to see Jesus Christ with his own eyes, but was unable to do so because he was suffering from incurable diseases. For a black leprosy had burst out over all his body and had consumed him, for this reason he was unapproachable and unseen for all his subjects.

Around the time of the Passion of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, he wrote a letter and sent it by a certain Ananias, ordering Him to depict with absolute accuracy His height, His hair and His face, and, in short, His whole bodily appearance, and to bring him the form of Christ; for Ananias was a skilled painter.

The letter was as follows, word for word:

"Abgar, Ruler of the city of Edessa, to Jesus Saviour, the good physician, who has appeared in Jerusalem, greeting!

I have heard about You and about Your cures, which are done by You without medications; for example, You make the blind see again; You make the lame walk; You cleanse lepers; You drive out unclean spirits; You heal those who have been tormented by disease over long periods. Having heard all this of You, I had one of two ideas: either that You are Son of God, who does these things, or that You are God. So then I write to You and ask You to come to me to cure the suffering I have, and then to be with me; for I have also heard that the Jews murmur against You and wish to do You ill. My city is very small but distinguished and adequate for both of us to live here in peace."

Ananias left for Jerusalem and having given the letter to the Lord he gazed intently at Him, but, since he was unable to get near Him because of the surging crowd, he climbed up onto a small outcrop of rock, and at once began to move his eyes while pressing his hand to the paper, and he began to copy the appearance of what he saw, but he was quite unable to capture His form, because it appeared now with one, now with another appearance and with differing aspect. But the Lord, who knows what is hidden and searches hearts, knowing his intention, revealed what was happening secretly. For He asked to wash, and while doing so He was given a cloth folded in four, and when He had washed, he wiped His most pure and divine face with it. Thus His divine form and appearance were imprinted — O, the wonder! — on the cloth. This He gave to Ananias, saying, Go, give this back to the one who sent you’. He also gave him a letter in the following terms:

"Blessed are you, Agbar, who have believed in Me, though you have not seen Me. For it is written of Me that those who have seen Me do not believe in Me, so that those who have not seen Me may believe and live. As to what you wrote about My coming to you, it is necessary that I accomplish all that I was sent out to do and, after I have accomplished it, to be taken up to the Father who sent Me. And when I have been taken up I will send you one of My Disciples, named Thaddaios, he will heal your disease and grant you and those with you eternal life and peace, and he will make your city such that no enemy can prevail against it."

At the end He fixed seven seals in Hebrew letters, which, when translated, mean: Picture of God Divine wonder. [In Greek, a play on words: Theou thea theion thavma]

Agbar received Ananias with great joy and fell down and venerated the holy and most pure Icon of the Lord with faith and much love, and he was instantly healed of his disease. Only a small patch of leprosy remained on his forehead. After the saving passion of Christ and His assumption into heaven, the Apostle Thaddaios reached Edessa and brought Agbar and all those under him to the font, baptiding them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When Agbar came out of the water he had been cleansed of the small remaining trace of leprosy.


Ode 7:

The faithful king, seeking with his whole soul an impression of Your form, Lord, as he sought so he found, discovering the fitting fulfilment of his godly longing.

Regarding the meaning of the name Veronica, while I have seen references to it meaning "true icon", a far more plausible explanation is that it means "true victory" (Vera = truth, Nike = victory). Alternative spellings for Veronica are Berenice or, more commonly, Bernice.

[ 27. June 2009, 02:47 AM: Message edited by: Jill ]

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John_Curran
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Before coming to this site, I knew (from RC background) only of Veronica's Veil, which as you said, was used to wipe the sweat from His brow.

Further reading made me wonder, as surely "true image" is the meaning of "Veronica."

This icon, the Holy Mandylion has become a favorite of mine as well.

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Tom
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The Holy Mandylion or Holy Napkin is one of my favorite icons.

I was recently on a site that had some drawings of icons and the young lady had drawn an icon of St. Veronica with the Holy Napkin. I know that at the stations of the cross in the Roman church a lady is supposed to wipe Christ's face on the road to Golgatha and she must be referred to as Veronica. But I have also heard that "vera icona", true image, is how that came about from the interpretation of the Greek.

In the Orthodox tradition, the Holy Napkin has nothing to do with Veronica. In the Orthodox Church, Veronica was cured from the issue of blood I believe I was told.

The story of the Holy Napkin is much different and is usually painted alone, not with someone holding it or with king Abgar holding it. It has to do with King Abgar and a cure for leprosy.

I found this interesting since this also appeared in the weekly church bulletin a few years back as the story of Veronica rather than the story of King Abgar.

Anyone have clarity?

--------------------
Tom

Posts: 428 | From: Omaha, NE | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged


 
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