ICON MANDYLION OF EDESSA CLOTH OF VERONICA RUSSIAN 18c
Mandylion of Edessa (Allegedly a painting of the Holy Face at the time of Christ)
In the eastern Churches, a miraculous image of Christ, not created by human hands, is venerated, the Mandylion of Edessa. According to the legend, King Abgar of Edessa was sick and sent a letter to Jesus asking him to come to his city (modern-day Sanli Urfa in South Turkey) to help him. Jesus replied he had a mission to fulfill, but when the king's messenger arrived, Abgar was miraculously healed. Therefore he sent his messenger a second time to Jesus, this time to paint him. In the first version of the Doctrina Addai of the 4th century, he comes back with a painted portrait, in a later version, the Acta Thaddei, Jesus Himself miraculously created that Holy Image, by washing his face and drying it with a towel, on which His Likeness appeared.
Obviously there seems to be a connection between the story of the sweat cloth of Veronica healing the Emperor Tiberius and the handkerchief of Abgar´s messenger after the King's miraculous healing. Indeed, the Mandylion and the Veronika look so similar that it takes an art historian to define the difference between both in Church murals.
The alleged original Mandylion, a painted icon, dated by art historians to be of the 3rd Century AD and of Syrian origin, is today preserved in the Vatican, in the private chapel of Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater. It came to Rome originally in the 13th century, after the sack of Constantinople by French and Italian knights. With the permission of the Pontiff, it was shown on art exhibitions (and the Expo 2000) all over the world.