The "Veronica Veil" of Manoppello, a transparent square of rare silk spun from mussel shells with an arresting imprint of the face of a living man, has been tucked away in an Italian village for centuries. Its fascinating, fragmented history, recalled in Paul Badde's book The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, begins with the apostle St. Jude Thaddeus carrying it from Jerusalem to heal the sickly King Abgar of ancient Edessa. Unlike the famous Shroud of Turin, the reputed burial shroud of Christ, few know of this image. It was a Roman friend of mine who has assisted in archeological research on this veil who brought it to my attention. The image, depicting a living, wounded man, with his eyes open, can be matched point by point to the Shroud of Turin. Also fascinating is the fact that this image was possibly viewed and imitated by medieval artists, with striking likenesses in masterpieces by Pietro Cavallini and Robert Campin, Master of Flémalle, which are shown in the book. This well-written chronicle and travelogue is neither pietistic nor overly technical. While many questions remain, the author's musings come from a genuine faith and fascination in the miraculous image.
(For more, see my review on ilsussidiario.net.)