Saturday, September 17, 2022

Prehistory of the Shroud (701-1000). Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Turin Shroud Encyclopedia
Copyright © Stephen E. Jones

Prehistory of the Shroud #17

This is "Prehistory (701-1000)," part #17 of my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia. See also 24Jul16. For more information about this series, see part #1 and part #2. As explained in the previous part #16, the primary purpose of these "Prehistory" and later "History" of the Shroud articles in my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia is to help me write Chapter 9, "Prehistory of the Shroud (AD 29-1354)" and Chapter 10, "History of the Shroud (1355-present)" of my book, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Sheet of Jesus!" I am using in-line referencing to save time in renumbering out-of-order footnotes. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Index #1] [Previous: Prehistory (AD 29-700) #16] [Next: History (1355-1400) #18]

Eighth century (701-800)
c. 710 Estimated completion during the reign of Justinian II (685-695, 705-711) of the eighth century Christ Pantocrator fresco[WS00, 110]

[Right (enlarge)[24Feb17a]: Bust of Christ Pantocrator from the Catacomb of Pontianus, Rome[CPW]. Note in particular the Vignon marking on this 8th century fresco[WI86, 105; SD91, 189, 191; IJ98, 152]: "(2) three-sided [topless] `square' between brows" [WI78, 82e]. See 25Jul07, 29Jul08, 11Feb12, 22Sep12, 14Apr14, 09Nov15, 15Feb16, ...]

in the style of Byzantine iconography[WI79, 102], found in the depths of the Catacomb of Pontianus, Rome[WI86, 105-106; SD91, 189], which had been closed since 820[WI79, 102].

But as can be seen below, this "topless square" is merely a flaw or change in the weave of the Shroud[SD91, 185; WI91, 166], which runs all the way down the cloth (see 22Sep12), and explains its "starkly

[Above (enlarge): Extract from ShroudScope "Face only Vertical" Shroud photograph showing outlined in red the `three sided' or `topless square' Vignon Marking no. 2, superimposed on the above 8th century bust of Christ in the Catacomb of Pontianus, Rome: ShroudScope and Wikipedia.]

geometrical" shape[WI86, 105; WI98, 159; WI10, 142]. Other Byzantine portraits of Christ which have the same `topless square' marking include the eleventh-century Daphni Pantocrator, the tenth-century Sant'Angelo in Formis fresco, the tenth-century Hagia Sophia narthex mosaic, and an eleventh-century portable mosaic in Berlin[WI79, 104]. And since this catacomb had been closed in 820 (see above) and only opened in 1619, a 14th century forger could not have known of the Vignon markings on this Pontianus fresco[WI91, 167, 169].

That the Shroud, as the Image of Edessa "doubled in four" (tetradiplon), is the original of which this early eighth century Byzantine icon was a copy, is evident in that it has at least eight[MR86, 77], and by my count eleven Vignon markings [18Mar12, 22Sep12 & 27Apr14]!

730 St. St John of Damascus (c.675–749), aka St John Damascene, in his De Imaginibus (On

[Left (enlarge)[24Feb17b]: A "himation was with the ancient Greeks ... a loose robe ... worn over [clothes] ... alike for both sexes"[HMW].]

Images), writing in defence of images at the outset of the Iconoclastic Controversy[OM10, 26, 30], mentioned "sindons" ("shrouds") among the relics of the Passion to be venerated on account of their connection with Jesus[BP28, 146; BA34, 52; AF82, 17; CN84, 16]. That John was referring to the Edessa Cloth/ Shroud is evident in that he cited the Abgar V legend [see "50"] in support of its significance as an image[OM10, 26.]. John also referred to the Edessa image as a "himation" (see above), a Greek outer garment [see imation in the following verses: Mt 5:40; 9:20-21; 14:36; Mk 5:27-30; Jn 19:2; Ac 12:8][ZS92, 773-774] about two yards (183 cms) wide by three yards (274 cms) long[DR84, 39; IJ98, 110; WI98, 152, 266; AM00, 132; WI10, 153; DT12, 186], which means that the full length size of the Eddessa Cloth/Shroud was known in the early 8th century[OM10, 27, 36]! Finally John referred to the Edessa Image as "the miraculously imprinted image" that it "has been preserved up to the present time"[DR84, 62].

754 A copy of the Image of Edessa/Shroud called the Acheropita, a

[Right (enlarge)[24Feb17c]: "The Acheropita 'holy face' that for at least twelve hundred years has been preserved in Rome's Sancta Sanctorum chapel, originally the popes' private chapel before papal residence shifted to the Vatican. The icon's cover is thirteenth-century, and its 'face' a crude over-painting, but beneath lies an intriguing though near totally-effaced original that dates at least as far back as AD 754"[WI91, 46C]. Note that the head is centred in landscape aspect, exactly as it is on the Shroud[WI79, 120; WI91, 141; WI98, 152; WS00, 111; WI10, 140] and the icon's proportions appear close to the Shroud's 4:1.]

Latinization of acheiropoietos[WI91, 143]("not made with hands" - Mk 14:58; 2Cor 5:1; Col 2:11) was in the Sancta Sanctorum Chapel of the Vatican's Lateran Palace by at least 754[WI91, 162]. That is because when Rome was threatened by the Lombards after their capture of Ravenna in 751, Pope Stephen II (r. 752-757) in 754 personally carried this Acheropita barefoot at the head of a huge procession in Rome, praying for this icon to be instrumental in the deliverance of their city[WI79, 144]. Yet it is probably much earlier than that, being reliably regarded as having been brought to Rome in the last years of the sixth century by Pope Gregory I the Great (r. 590-604)[WI91, 143]. Before he became Pope, Gregory had been the papal legate in Constantinople at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Tiberius II (r. 574-582), when interest in acheiropoietic images, after the discovery of the Image of Edessa in 544[WI91, 140] [see "544"], was at its peak in Constantinople[WI91, 143]. Tiberius II's throne had a majestic image of Christ, since destroyed, derived from the Image of Edessa, which had been set there by his predecessor, Justin II (r. 565-574)[WI91, 143]. It is therefore very likely that this Acheropita icon now in the Sancta Sanctorum Chapel in Gregory's Lateran Palace in Rome, was specially commissioned by Gregory before 590 for him to take back to Rome[WI91, 144]!

769 [24Feb17d] In his Good Friday sermon delivered in Rome at the Lateran Council of 769[IJ98, 110; SD02, OM10, 27], Pope Stephen III (r. 768–772), opposing the Iconoclast movement[SD89a, 318], spoke in favor of the use of sacred images[GV01, 4; SD02]. In that sermon, Stephen referred to the Abgar V legend [see again "50"] mentioning the Edessa towel with its miraculous facial image[SD89a, 318]. Stephen quoted Jesus' supposed response to Abgar's request for a cure:

"Since you wish to look upon my physical face, I am sending you a likeness of my face on a cloth ..."[SD89a, 318]
And as we shall see in a twelfth century updated version of Stephen's 769 sermon [see "pre-1130"[WI98, 270], a copyist had interpolated a reference to Jesus' "whole body" being visible on the Edessa cloth, reflecting the later discovery in Constantinople that Jesus' body was imprinted on the Edessa Cloth/Shroud, not just His face[WR77, 94; SD89a, 88.

787 [24Feb17e] The Iconoclasm of the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (r. 717–741), was continued by his son Constantine V Coproymos (741–775)[CD82, 27], and grandson Leo IV the Khazar (r. 775–780)[OM10, 30]. It was only after the death of Leo IV that the first period of iconoclasm was brought to an end in 787 by the Second Council of Nicaea[OM10, 30], the last of the first seven ecumenical councils of the whole Christian church, both East and West[SCN]. The Council debated the veneration of holy images[FM15, 54] and in particular about the Image of Edessa not having been produced by the hand of man[FM15, 54]. A different Leo, the Lector (Reader) of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia Cathedral, reported to the Council that he had visited Edessa and seen there "the holy image made without hands and adored by the faithful"[WI98, 267; OM10, 27, 30; WI10, 154]. The Council endorsed the veneration of images[GV01, 4], and in particular the Image of Edessa, the "one `not made by human hands' [acheiropoieton] that was sent to Abgar"[IJ98, 111; GV01, 4; OM10, 30]. It was the main argument used by the bishops to defend the legitimacy of the use of sacred images[GV01, 4] and to which the iconoclast bishops had no reply[GM69].

Ninth century (801-900)
c. 820 Stuttgart Psalter (see below), presumably painted by a

[Above (enlarge)[25Mar17a]: Extract from folio 43v of the 9th century (c. 820) Stuttgart Psalter.]

Byzantine artist during the Carolingian period (780-900), in the Aachen, Germany capital of Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (r. 800–814)[SPW]. Jesus is depicted fully naked from the back, being scourged with realistic bleeding scourge marks, realistically by two scourgers (as was discovered in the 20th century using the modern science of goniometry)[15Jul13], wielding two realistic three-thonged Roman flagrums[see below].

[Above (enlarge): Close-up of the left scourger's, three-thonged, metal ball tipped, Roman flagrum in folio 43v of the 9th century (c. 820) Stuttgart Psalter. Compare its historical accuracy with the flagrum at 27Dec21, which is a copy of one excavated in the 18th century from the Roman city of Herculaneum, which had been buried in the AD 79 eruption of Mt Vesuvius.]

Moreover, as pointed out by a cryptologist, Max Patrick Hamon, on Dan Porter's blog [see 21Oct13], the two scourgers' fingers closely match the shape of the `reversed 3' or Greek letter epsilon shaped bloodflow on the Shroudman's forehead (see 30Dec19 and below):

"And last but not least, by means of a very curious tailed-Epsilon hand sign each time, the executioner on the left seem to point with his left hand index finger to his own head while the executioner on the right does point to Christ’s head with his left hand index finger too. Both left hand signs cryptically echoe [sic] the tailed-Epsilon-shaped like small blood rivulet we can observe on TS man’s forehead, just above his left eyebrow."

[Above (enlarge): Fingers of the scourger on the left of Jesus on the Stuttgart Psalter (left); the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud horizontally flipped (because the scourgers' fingers are at the back of Jesus but the reversed 3 bloodstain is at the man on the Shroud's front) (centre); and the fingers of the scourger on the right of Jesus on the Stuttgart Psalter (right). As can be seen there is a close match between the shape of reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud and the fingers of the scourger on the right.]

So this unknown c. 820 artist must therefore have seen and studied up close the full-length Shroud, which was then in Edessa [see "544" and "944"]! Or as Hamon put it:

"... the bloodied body burial cloth now kept in Turin was already in existence early in the 9th CE. The Stuggart Psalter miniature Shroudlike Christ does predate the radiocarbon date [1260-1390 or 1325 ± 65] by no less than half-a-millennium [510-515 years]"!
And evidently by the 9th century, Edessan clergy were aware that behind the face-only Image of Edessa was the full-length Shroud!

842 [25Mar17b] The second iconoclast period (814–843) ended with the death of Emperor Theophilos (r. 829–842) in 842 and his two year-old son Michael III (r.842-867) succeeding him[MTW]. During Michael III's minority the Empire was governed by his mother, the Empress Theodora (r.842-855) [TEW], as his regent[MTW]. Theodora

[Above (enlarge)[MTB]: Solidus coin issued by Empress Theodora in 843, showing on the obverse (left) the face of Christ with Shroud-like "Vignon markings" features[PM96, 194] and on the reverse (right) Michael III and Theodora, indicating her regency during her son's minority.]

was an iconodule[TEW] and in 843 she reintroduced the minting of coins bearing the face of Christ, with Shroud-like features (above)[PM96, 194; FM15, 116-117].

Tenth century (901-1000)
943 [13May17a]. In the Spring (March-May) of 943, Byzantine usurper Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos (r. 920–944)[WI79, 255; WI98, 267; OM10, 31] sends an army led by his best general, John Kourkouas (fl. 915–946)[WI79, 148; WI98, 148], to Edessa to negotiate with its Muslim emir ruler for possession of the Edessa cloth[SD89a, 84; OM10, 31], to add to his collection of Christian relics[MR80, 36; SD89a, 84; DW99, 4]. In exchange for the Cloth, Kourkouas offered on behalf of the Emperor, a guarantee of perpetual immunity of Edessa from Byzantine attack, 12,000 pieces of silver and the release of 200 Muslim prisoners[MR80, 36; WI98, 267-268; AM00, 130; GV01, 4-5; TF06, 24; WI10, 300].

944a [13May17b] After lengthy consultations with his superiors in Baghdad[WI98, 148; AM00, 130; TF06, 24; OM10, 31; WI98, 158], in the Summer (June-August) of 944[WI79, 255; TF06, 24], Edessa's emir accepts Kourkouas' terms and Bishop Abraham of nearby Samosata[WI79, 149, 255; AM00, 130; TF06, 24; OM10, 32; WI10, 159], enters Edessa to receive the cloth, and despite the resistance of Edessa's Christians[WI79, 149-150, 255; OM10, 32; WI10, 159-160], he

[Above (enlarge)[SMW]: "The surrender of the Holy Mandylion" (the Image of Edessa), one of 574 miniatures, which may be copies of earlier Byzantine images, in the 12th Century "Madrid Skylitzes," which was based on the Synopsis of Histories by John Skylitzes (c. 1040s – aft. 1101)[JSW]. The persons on the left are wearing turbans and the buildings on their side have no Christian crosses, hence they are Muslims. The buildings on the right have Christian crosses, which means that the artist depicted both the Image being handed over by muslims in Edessa and its arrival in Christian Constantinople. Note that behind the face-only Image of Edessa is depicted the full-length Shroud! Res ipsa loquitur! So by at least the 12th century the Image of Edessa/Mandylion was known to be the full-length Shroud[SD91, 193-194; TF06, xxvii]!]

is satisfied that he has the original, as well as two copies of the Image[WI79, 255; AM00, 130; TF06, 24, 39] and Abgar V's letter from Jesus (see "50" and 08Jan19)[OM10, 32; WI10, 159-160]. After a short stay in Samosata[WI79, 255; TF06, 24], the bishop travels with the Image, escorted by Kourkouas' army[WI98, 148; WI10, 159] across Anatolia back to Constantinople[WI79, 149, 255; TF06, 24, 39; OM10, 32, WI10, 159].

944b [13May17c] On Thursday 15 August 944 the Image of Edessa arrives in Constantinople[MR86, 92; WI98, 268; GV01, 4]. It is carried in its framed portrait, fastened to a board and embellished with gold[WI79, 282; DR84, 35, 57; SD89a, 84; AM00, 131], through the streets of the city amidst great celebration[SD89a, 84; SD91, 194; WI10, 300]. The Image is then taken to the church of St Mary at Blachernae[WI98, 148-149, 268; GV01, 4-5], where it is viewed by members of the imperial family[WI98, 149, 268]. Romanos I's two sons Stephen (r. 924-945) and Constantine (also r. 924-945) find the face blurred and cannot distinguish its features[WI79, 116; MR86, 92; SD91, 192WI98, 268; AM00, 130; TF06, 25] (further evidence that this was the Shroud as its image is faint and difficult to see close-up[WI79, 116, 122; SD91, 192; AM00, 130]). But the legitimate Emperor, Constantine VII (r. 913-959), son of the late Emperor Leo VI (r. 886–912), is artistic and readily discerns the Image/Shroud's features[WR77, 94; SD91, 192; WI98, 268; TF06, 25; WI10, 300]. The Image of Edessa/Shroud is then taken to the Imperial (Boucoleon) Palace where it is placed overnight in the Pharos chapel[WI98, 149, 268].

944c [13May17d] The next day, 16 August 944, the Image is carried around the walls of Constantinople[WI79, 256; WI98, 149, 268], thereby establishing it as the city's new palladium (guarantee of a city's Divine protection)[CN95, 57; WI98, 149]. The Image is then taken to Constantinople's Hagia Sophia cathedral[WI79, 256; WI98, 149, 268], where it is placed on the "throne of mercy"[WI79, 256; MR86, 92; CN95, 57; WI98, 149, 268]. During that enthronement of the Image ceremony[RC99, 58], Gregory Referendarius (overseer of relationships between the Patriarch and the Emperor[GM09, 4]), Archdeacon of Hagia Sophia[SD91, 192; WI91, 143; OM10, 13], an eyewitness of these events[SD91, 192; DT12, 185], delivers a sermon[SD91, 192; WI91, 143; IJ98, 115; OM10, 13, 36; DT12, 185; FM15,56] in which he says that the Cloth bears not only "the sweat from the face of the ruler of life, falling like drops of blood" but also "drops from his own side ... [of] blood and water"[GM09, 85; OM10, 36].By "the sweat from the face of [Christ] ... falling like drops of blood" Gregory refers to Lk 22:44 which occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36; Mk 14:32)[WI98, 268]. But the "drops from his own side ... [of] blood and water" refers to Jn 19:33-34 which was after Jesus' death on the cross. Clearly the face-only Image of Edessa does not show the blood and fluid stained spear wound in Jesus' side that is on the Shroud[SD91, 192]. But Gregory could not have made that reference unless he had been aware of the wound in the side of the image and of bloodstains in the area of that wound[OM10, 36], and hence knew that the Cloth was full-length rather than merely a face-cloth[IJ98, 115; RC99, 58; OM10, 36]. And to know that, Gregory must have seen that under the Image of Edessa face was a full-length, bloodstained, body image of Jesus[SD98, 63; WI98, 268]. This is a further corroboration of Ian Wilson's insight that the Image of Edessa was the Shroud ("four-doubled" - tetradiplon)[SD91, 192; GV01, 5-6; TF06, xxvii.]!

944d [13May17e] In December 944, the co-Emperor sons of Romanos I, Stephen and Constantine, fearing their ~74 year-old father was going to confirm Constantine VII as his successor[RNW], forced him to abdicate[MR86, 92].

945a [13May17f] On 27 January 945, with the help of his wife, Romanos I's daughter Helena Lekapene (c. 910–961), Constantine VII exiled Stephen and Constantine (Helena's brothers!) and became sole emperor at the age of 39[WI79, 154; MR86, 92; TF06,164; WI10, 300; CVW]. Within weeks of his accession, Constantine VII had a new gold solidus coin struck[WI79, 154; MR86, 92; TF06, 164; WI10, 300], bearing a very Shroud-like Christ 'Rex Regnantium (King of Kings)

[Above (enlarge): "Coin ... [a gold solidus] minted in 945 under the reign of the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII. On the obverse, a bust of Christ similar to the Shroud face image; on the reverse, Constantine VII ... Notice ... the overall similarity of the facial representation with the face on the Shroud ... the left cheek of Christ, that is, the cheek that appears on our right, shows a clear protuberance, which is also on the Shroud. The beard and hair are also similar to the Shroud. Note the very peculiar lock of hair on the forehead. This is similar to the inverted '3' shape as seen on the forehead on the Shroud"[LM07].]

portrait, inspired by the recently arrived cloth of Edessa[WI98, 268.].

945b [13May17g] Soon after he became sole Emperor in January

[Right (enlarge)[DJ12]: King Abgar V (c.25 BC-AD 50) of Edessa is depicted in this 10th century icon at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai[AVW], receiving the Image of Edessa (the Shroud "four-doubled" - tetradiplon) from Jesus' disciple Thaddeus[WI79, 154-155] [see "50"]. Abgar's face is that of Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (r. 913-959)[WI79, 151,154].

945[WI79, 154; PH83, 8], Constantine VII commissioned a painting to commemorate the arrival of the Image of Edessa/Shroud in Constantinople on 15 August 944[WI79, 116,151,255; WI98, 148, 268; GV01, 4-5; TF06, 24; WI10, 165, 300]. That painting is now at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mt Sinai, where it survives as the top right-hand quarter of a diptych[WI86, 110E, 118] [see 13May17h]. It originally was a triptych with an icon of the Image of Edessa in the centre panel but only the two wings have survived[WI79, 154; WI91, 175].

945c [13May17i] After becoming sole Emperor, Constantine VII commissioned[WI79, 116-117; WI10, 167, 174] an official history of the Image of Edessa[WI79, WI79, 272; WI86, 112; WI98, 151, 268; OM10, 34], the "Narratio de imagine Edessena"[WR77, 95; WI98, 256, 268], or "Story of the Image of Edessa"[SH81, 207; AM00, 130; DT12, 185]. Indeed it may have been written by Constantine himself[WI10, 167, 174]! The Story is actually a sermon to be read to Eastern Orthodox congregations on each 16 August Feast of the Holy Mandylion, starting in 946[WI79, 155; AM00, 130], hence it is also known as the "Festival Sermon"[ DR84, 115]. The Official History states that the Image of Edessa "now to be seen" in Constantinople in 944, had in Edessa been fastened to a board and embellished with gold by Abgar V[WI79, 280; OM10, 34] This fits Ian Wilson's theory that the Shroud was folded and mounted in such a way ("four-doubled" - tetradiplon) that only the facial area was visible and accessible, so "every description of the Image of Edessa during the period in question is compatible with a viewing of the Shroud"[WI86, 112; WI98, 152-153; OM10, 34; WI10, 140, 174]. The Official History gives two mutually exclusive versions of the origin of Jesus' image on the cloth[WI79, 117, 256; WI98, 150, 268; WI10, 174-175]. The first version is the traditional explanation since the sixth century[DT12, 185], that Jesus washed his face in water, wiped it on a towel, and his likeness was impressed on the towel, which he then gave to Abgar V's servant Ananias, who in turn gave it to Abgar V[WI79, 117, 276-277; DR84, 35, 56; WI98, 150, 268; WI10, 174-175; DT12, 185].

The second version is that:

"... when Christ was about to go voluntarily to death ... he ... pray[ed] ... sweat dropped from him like drops of blood ... he took this piece of cloth which we see now from one of the disciples and wiped off the drops of sweat on it ... the still-visible impression of that divine face was produced. Jesus gave the cloth to Thomas, and instructed him that after Jesus had ascended into heaven, he should send Thaddaeus with it to Abgar ... Thomas gave the divine portrait of Christ's face to Thaddaeus and sent him to Abgar"[WI79, 117, 277-278; WI10, 175].
That is, the image was formed during Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane when His "sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Lk 22:44)[WI79, 117, 123; DR84, 35, 57; SD91, 190; WI98, 150, 153, 268; WS00, 111; WI10, 175]. See also Gregory Referendarius' sermon above. This second version would be inexplicable unless blood could be seen on the face of the Image of Edessa[WI79, 123; DR84, 35; SD89b , 315; SD91, 190; DT12, 185-186], as it is on the Shroud face[DR84, 35], but which could not be explained by the first version[SD89b , 315]. The Official History described the Image as "a moist secretion without coloring or painter's art"[WR77, 95; WI79, 115, 255, 273; SD91, 192; DT12, 185], "it did not consist of earthly colors ... and ... was due to sweat, not pigments"[WI79, 115, 279; WI98, 268 111]. This fits the Shroud image which is extremely faint[SD89b , 315]. It also explains why some thought the Image had been made in the Garden of Gethsemane when Christ's face was covered in sweat "like great drops of blood"[DT12, 187]. Wilson, who has seen the Shroud many times, agrees that these "water/sweat details" sound "uncannily like the characteristics of the Shroud's image"[WI98, 150]. Wilson also points out of the late 10th/early 11th

[Above (enlarge): The Image of Edessa (late 10th-early 11th century), Sakli church, Goreme, Turkey[WI10, plate 22b].]

century copy of the Edessa cloth, painted above an arch in the Sakli church in the Goreme region of central Turkey, that:

"... its general resemblance to the facial portion on the Shroud is really quite remarkable. There is the same sepia-coloured, disembodied, rigidly frontal face on the same landscape cloth. ... And when we know, as we do from the Official History, that this same Edessa cloth's imprint had the appearance of `a moist secretion without colouring or painter's art', then can we really believe that this could not have been our Shroud[WI98, 151]?
In his insistence that the Image was "... without coloring or painter's art," "did not consist of earthly colors" and "was [not] due to ... pigments," the author of the Official History "anticipat[ed] twentieth-century science by a full millennium"[TF06, 25], in that the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), after an exhaustive series of scientific tests on the Shroud, found that: "No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils"[SSC] (i.e. which form the image).

946 [13May17j] On 16 August 946, the first anniversary of the Image's enthronement ceremony in Hagia Sophia (see above) the "Monthly Lection" for that day, and on that day in each year thereafter, was a text that recounted the Official History of the Image of Edessa[DR84, 40]. In describing the Image's origins, the "Monthly Lection" stated that after Jesus had washed His face:

"...there was given to him a piece of cloth folded four times [rhakos tetradiplon]. And after washing, he imprinted on it his undefiled and divine face."[DR84, 40; IJ98, 105]
But Prof. Robert Drews' "folded four times" translation above is

[Left (enlarge)[DR84, 41]: Prof Drews' expanded side view reconstruction of the Edessa Cloth. The Edessa and Constantinople clergy could therefore see that the face-only Image of Edesssa was part of a longer cloth rhakos (Mt 9:16; Mk 2:21)[ZS92, 1259] that had been "four-doubled" tetradiplon.]

inexact. The Greek compound word "tetradiplon" means "doubled four times": tetra = "four" and diplon = "doubled" (see my 15Sep12). As Prof. Drews own diagram above left shows, the Edessa Cloth is the Shroud doubled and folded four times.

958 [13May17k] In a letter of encouragement to his troops campaigning around Tarsus in 958, Constantine VII told them that he was sending them holy water consecrated by relics of the Passion, including, "the sindon [shroud] which God wore"[SD89b , 317-318; WI91, 153; WI98, 268-269; WB06, 257; WI10, 169; DT12, 177]. This can only mean that by 958 Constantine VII had seen unfolded the full-length Shroud behind the face of the Image of Edessa[SD89b , 318]. Moreover Constantine made no mention of the Image of Edessa, despite his previous close identification with it[SD89b , 317-318; WI10, 169]. This is the first of several subsequent mentions of a burial sindon, or shroud, being among the imperial relic collection in Constantinople, with no explanation how it came to be there[WI91, 153; WI98, 26; WB06, 257; WI10, 169]. The arrival of the Edessa cloth in Constantinople in 944 had been accompanied by a great celebration (see above), so the arrival of the sindon, acknowledged as Jesus' burial shroud, ought to have merited at least the same level of celebration and ceremony, but there is no record of the sindon's arrival in Constantinople[SD91, 194-195]! This is inexplicable unless the Edessa cloth and the Shroud are one and the same[WI98, 269], more than three centuries before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud[DT12, 178]!

c. 960 [13May17l] The Image of Edessa is called a sindon in versions of a liturgical text called the Synaxarion, composed after its arrival in Constantinople and based on the work of Symeon Metaphrastes (c. 886-987), who saw the cloth in 944[WI10, 177; DT12, 186].

977 [13May17m] A group of refugee Greek monks, led by Sergius, exiled metropolitan of Damascus, set up a cult of St Alexis of Rome (d. 412) in Rome's near-abandoned Church of St Boniface[WI98, 269; ARW]. According to their version, the young Alexis was attracted to become a beggar at Edessa by hearing of its cloth bearing Jesus's imprint: "an image of our Lord Jesus Christ made without human hand on a sindon," the same word used in the gospels for Jesus's burial shroud[WI98, 269] (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53)! [see "c1050a"]

c. 980 [13May17n] Leo the Deacon (Leo Diaconus c. 950-992) was a Byzantine historian and a deacon in the imperial palace[LDW]. In Constantinople he wrote a history from the reign of Byzantine Emperor Romanus II (r. 959-963) to the early part of the reign of Basil II (r. 976-1025)[LDW]. Leo's history was based on his experiences as an eyewitness to events[LDW]. Leo, in late 9th century Constantinople, wrote of the Edessa Cloth as being a peplos, which was a long, rectangular cloth garment (see above)[WI98, 152; AM00,136; OM10, 36; DT12, 383 n.53]!

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]

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Posted 17 September 2022. Updated 24 April 2024.