This weekend we celebrate Easter. For those in the northern hemisphere, Easter is synonymous with Spring! After a long winter season, flowers and trees are blooming, birds are singing. Easter also means bunnies and baskets of candy. Of course, Easter has another meaning . For Christians throughout the world it is the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ following his death by crucifixion as ordered by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prelate.
Many believe that certain textiles have intrinsic powers, not merely symbolic, that provide protection or bring good fortune. One such textile is the Shroud of Turin.
The earliest legend concerns the “Image of Edessa”. The king of Edessa (Turkey)
wrote to Jesus asking him to come and cure him of leprosy. Unable to visit, Jesus sent a miraculous self-protrait imbuded with curative power. Some equate this story with the Shroud of Turin, however the shroud’s linen cloth bears the image of the entire front and back impressions of an apparently crucified man. There has been controversy on whether this textile is the burial shroud of Jesus Christ or a medieval fabrication. Results of carbon-dating posed the age of this textile to be no older than the 1200’s. Others suggest the actual date cannot be determined due to contamination by centuries of manipulation. The 14 ½ foot of linen fiber is owned by the pope, but it is in the care of the archdiocese of Turin, Italy. The Catholic Church does not make any claims toward its authenticity and has long acknowledged that there are disagreements and questions that have not been successfully addressed.
There are other “miraculous” portraits of Jesus, one of which is known as the Veronica Veil. Veronica, it is said, was a wealthy woman of Jerusalem who witnessed the journey to Golgatha that Christ made with the cross. She wiped his face with her veil and his visage was imprinted upon it. There were many “originals” of the textile and it was assumed that they had been painted, however the legend asserts that the image could duplicate itself miraculously.