Veil of Veronica
The Veronica

Veronica wiped Jesus' face

The veil of Veronica or 'Sudarian' (Latin for cloth) bears the likeness of the face of Jesus not made by human hands.

The most recent legend recounts that when Veronica--one of the women of Jerusalem who accompanied Jesus to Calvary--wiped Jesus' face with her veil His image was left on the cloth. The event is commerated in the Sixth Station of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross.

The story of Veronica is sometimes believed not to be historical because of the lack of recordings of it in Biblical writings. The Veronica story became a Central Icon of the Western Church in the Fourteenth Century.

Firm recording of the veil began in 1199 when two Pilgrims, named Giraldus Cambrensis and Gervase of Tilbury made two accounts of the existence of the Veronica at different times. In 1297 Pope Innocent III publically displayed the Veil of St. Veronica and granted indulgences to those who prayed before it.

During the sack of Rome in 1527 some writers recorded that the Veronica veil was destroyed. Some reports say the veil was passed around Rome. Other reports say it was never found by any looters. Many artists of that time created reproductions of the veil.

In 1616 Pope Urban III not only prohibited reproductions of St Veronica's veil (or the Veronica), he also ordered all existing copies of the veil to be destroyed. His edict declared those who did not turn their copies over to the Vatican would be excommunicated.

No history of the veil of Veronica after that time has been recorded.

On Passion Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Lent, after Traditional Vespers at 5 p.m., three canons display a heavy frame on the balcony abovr the statue of Saint Veronica. Vision of the Veronica veil from that distance is limited.

Definition of Indulgences

The full are partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins already having been forgiven. Indulgence is granted by the Church after someone has confessed his sins and received absolution. Belief, in general, is that indulgences draw from the merit acquired though Jesus' sacrifice and the penances of the saints.

Definition of Sin

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church mortal sin is grave and committed knowingly and freely. Mortal sin is the equivalent of refusing communion with God. The loss of eternal life that such rejection involves is referred to as 'the eternal punishment'. All other sins (not mortal) are defined as venial sins because turning from God in any way must be purified either here on earth or after death in Purgatory.

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St. Veronica Medals

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