There are the six images which claim to be the original veil
or a direct copy of the Veronica
The Holy Face of Alicante.
The Veil of St. Veronica kept in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome
was revered in the middle ages and is stored behind the balcony
in the southwest pier supporting the dome.
The Veronica Veil is displayed on the fifth Sunday of Lent (known
as Passion Sunday) above the statue of Saint Veronica holding
the veil displaying the face of Jesus.
There are also several pictures (and/or paintings) displaying
St. Veronica holding the veil with the crown of thorns.
The word "icon" derives from the Greek "eikon"
and means an image, any image or representation.
Christian images first appeared about the third century. Even
though the representations of holy figures and holy events increased
in number, traditionalists clung to the Second Commandment fearing
any deviation from it would lead to heresy or idol worship.
In 726, the Emperor Leo III and a group of overzealous 'puritans'
or traditionalists, banned all pictures and began the systematic
destruction of holy images known as the 'period of iconoclasm'.
The Fourth Ecumenical Synod (Council) in Chalcedon (451) defined
that in Christ the two natures, human and divine, are united without
confusion and without separation. The 'iconoclasts' rejected the
images of Christ declaring they were simply material images and
therefore offenses against the Second Commandment.
St. John of Damascus (675-749) and St. Theodore of Studios (759-826)
wrote extensive treatises explaining the reasons for and the importance
of icon veneration. The Damascene argued that "it is not
divine beauty which is given form and shape, but the human form
which is rendered by the painter's brush. Therefore, if the Son
of God became man and appeared in man's nature, why should his
image not be made?"
The Studite defended icons on the basis of the ideas of identity
and necessity: "Man himself is created after the image and
likeness of God; therefore there is something divine in the art
of making images. . . As perfect man Christ not only can but must
be represented and worshipped in images: let this be denied and
Christ's economy of the salvation is virtually destroyed."
Iconoclasts, having rejected all representations of God, failed
to take full account of the Incarnation. If one does not allow
Christ's humanity one betrays the Incarnation and the belief our
body and our soul must be saved and transfigured. Iconoclasm was
not only a controversy about religious art, but about the Incarnation
and the salvation of souls. The Empress Irene suspended the iconoclastic
persecutions in 780. Seven years later the Seventh Ecumenical
Synod in Nicaea reaffirmed the veneration of icons.
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