Of all the miracles associated with Jesus the single most amazing one is that we even know his name. The facts of his life are few. He died a gruesome death, falsely accused and convicted. Yet, on the Sunday following his death the world was forever changed. Jesus became Christ, risen to a life eternal that we may understand the truth of our relation to the divine.
Now in two extraordinary books published by Ignatius Press, German author Paul Badde, Vatican correspondent for Die Welt, tells the spellbinding story of two burial cloths left behind in the empty burial chamber.
THE FACE OF GOD: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, reads like a mystery, cleverly weaved, well spun indeed as is the sea silk, byssus, cloth enshrined in the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manopello, Italy. Embossed on a twelve by eight inch cloth is a face thought by local legend to be that of Jesus. Byssus is spun from delicate strands harvested from sea mussels found beneath the Mediterranean near Sardinia. Should we be surprised to discover that the mussel was an ancient metaphor for Mary Magdalene?
How is it that this face, which once seen can never be forgotten and which has resided since the 1500’s in the Abruzzi region of Italy, could be proclaimed by all to be the True Face of Christ?
The publication of THE FACE OF GOD will become the seminal moment in Christianity’s third millennium.
That this story is told today is due to the clairvoyant vision of Sister Blandina Paschalis. In 1979 Blandina was safely ensconced in a Trappist convent in Germany. A talented artist she had been a student of sacred art and the Turin Shroud for many years. Then a fellow nun gave her a magazine article about the Manopello face. Despite an initial resistance she could not escape the gaze of the eyes following her throughout the day. She was hooked.
So hooked she became a one woman crusade determined to authenticate the Santo Volto, the Holy Face. By overlapping transparencies in a process she calls “superimposition” she proved beyond doubt that not only the Turin Shroud and the Santo Volto were the same face but the Manopello face is the source of all Christ images we know today. The Icon of Icons, the burial cloth lovingly placed over the face of Jesus in his burial tomb.
The True Icon, Badde’s most recent book recounts the Shroud and Manopello story with some vivid recounting of the dramatic moment which begins early Easter Sunday with Mary Magdalen’s visit to the tomb. The photos alone make this book a must companion to The Face of God.