Home > Guest Posting, History > Wilson & Shroudies vs Academia: Another Guest Posting by O.K.

Wilson & Shroudies vs Academia: Another Guest Posting by O.K.

January 18, 2014

Shroud/Mandylion in 958 letter of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus
Wilson & ‘Shroudies’ vs ‘Academia’ scholars.

PDF Version

imageThe identification of the Mandylion, brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944, with the Shroud of Turin, is matter of a heated debate. While widely accepted among the Shroud historians, beginning with 1978 book of Ian Wilson at least, nevertheless it is usually ignored or often contested (if not rejected outright) by many Byzantinists and art/Church historians, on various basis (usually on a statement that it has been not accepted by “serious” authorities in that branch of science–Wilson is not considered one of them).

One of the arguments against, is the widely held view that Mandylion is distinct object from all the relics of the Christ’s Passion, stored in the famous Pharos Chapel in Boukoleon Palace in Constantinople. This was raised by Yannick Clément on the recent discussion about Mandylion and Wilson’s ideas on this blog.1 Here I want to show on example of Emperor Constantine VII letter, that the matter is not so simple, as most members of the infamous narrow-minded ‘Academia’ think.

What is this letter? I think the best way is to quote here a fragment of Daniel Scavone’s paper on sources about presence of the Mandylion/Shroud in Constantinople:2

DOCUMENT IV. LETTER OF CONSTANTINE VII 958

A letter of the same Constantine VII to encourage his troops campaigning around Tarsus in 958 is the first explicit introduction of the burial shroud icon of Jesus in this context. The letter announced that the Emperor was sending a supply of holy water consecrated by contact with the relics of Christ’s Passion which were then in the capital. No mention is made of the recently acquired Mandylion: as a relic of Jesus’ ministry it would have been out of place among the relics of the Passion. Reference is made, however, to the precious wood [of the cross], the unstained lance, the precious inscription [probably the titulus attached to the cross], the reed which caused miracles, the life‑giving blood from his side, the venerable

tunic, the sacred linens (σπάργαvα), the sindon which God wore, and other symbols of the immaculate Passion. 20

The term used here for “sacred linens,” spargana, usually means infant’s “swaddling cloths,” but here must mean burial linens, as it does in several other texts. The precise identity of this sindon has been enigmatic, since no mention exists of the arrival in the capital of Jesus’ burial sheet, but it acquires some clarity with Zaninotto’s recovery of Doc. III. Just as in the Gregory Sermon, the words of this text may suggest that the Byzantines could see “blood” from the side of the figure depicted on a cloth.

Document III is strong evidence that the Edessa icon was indeed a larger object, harmonious with the words sindon and tetradiplon of the Acts of Thaddeus, and was seen to be stained red in the correct places. It must thus have been unfolded in Constantinople sometime after its arrival in 944. A possible unfolding is evidenced by the imperial letter of 958 (Doc. IV), where suddenly, without fanfare, Jesus’ sindon is first announced. At the time of its arrival in 944, the status of the Edessa icon must, it seems, be understood as follows: Still enframed or encased as described earlier and as seen by artists, and still generally considered to be the towel of the Abgar narratives, and in the treasury of the Byzantine emperors it was inaccessible to the public (as it had been in Edessa). Its size (larger and folded in eight layers) and nature were not fully known and not often pondered. Certainly its possible identity as Jesus’ bloody burial wrapping was not immediately recognized or, if it was, then by only a few intimates and not generally broadcast. The Byzantines were too much under the spell of the Abgar cycle to have considered the implications of the side-wound. The evidence for this last point is the absence of any hint of a shroud in Gregory’s sermon (Doc. III), though his words hint strongly that he was looking at the entire body on the Edessan cloth. With the Mandylion folded in eight so as to expose only a facial panel, the chest‑with‑side wound section might have been available to the view of Gregory, upside-down on the opposite side, without requiring a complete unfolding with consequent recognition. 21 Footnotes:

20 See A. M. Dubarle, Histoire Ancienne du linceul de Turin jusqu’ au XIII siècle (Paris: O.E.I.L. 1985) 55f. See too Carlo Maria Mazzucchi "La testimonianza piú antica dell’ esistenza di una Sindone a Costantinopoli," Aevum, 57 (1983) 227‑231, which provides the original Greek of the salient portions of the letter of 958. Though the burial cloths emerge quietly and without fanfare or ceremony in the capital from 958 with no mention of an image, the large or main shroud is described with image in the texts of Mesarites and Clari (Documents XI and XII). 21 See above, n. 10. The manner of displaying the Edessa cloth, in a frame wider than it is tall may have been the result of folding the actual burial wrapping in half three times and sealing it in a frame to remove from view the blood and nakedness of the body. In this form it came to Constantinople where only gradually did the Byzantines become aware that a far greater relic was present, one which derived from the actual (Biblical) burial of Jesus, and not from the Abgar story, a mere apochryphal and anachronistic aetiological legend. Indeed, the fact that the arrival in the capital of the burial wrappings, so prominant in the relic collection, was not heralded by the usual great processions and viewings, seems to support a rather unorthodox discovery.

In opinion of Scavone, the cloth mentioned in the document τής θεοφόρου σινδόνος (t s theofórou sindónos) is nothing else than the burial shroud, moreover it is the Shroud of Turin, in contrast to the other burial cloths, (σπαργάνων, sparganon) stored in Constantinople. Scavone claims that No mention is made of the recently acquired Mandylion: as a relic of

Jesus’ ministry it would have been out of place among the relics of the Passion, and further discusses Wilson’s ideas how Mandylion after the transfer to Constantinople in 944 became the Shroud. We wiil not be discussing this, instead mentioning only that Scavone didn’t say us the most interesting thing, we will go to the opinion of another scholar.

Her name is Marta Tycner-Wolicka. In 2009, while she was making her Ph.D. in the Institute of History at University of Warsaw, she wrote a book titled ‘Opowieść o wizerunku z Edessy’:

clip_image002

It is a literary exegesis of The Narratio De Imagine Edessena, written by (or on behalf) of the Emperor Constantine VII, after arrival of the Mandylion in Constantinople in 944 (it was included as Appendix C in Wilson’s 1978 The Shroud of Turin). While Tycner-Wolicka’s academic dissertation is not actually about the Shroud, it is indirectly related to that issue, and in fact useful in many ways. While Tycner-Wolicka may be called part of the ‘Academia’, she obviously has to express negative views towards Wilson in her book, even though she does not dismiss them outright, and claims that she is not interested what the Image of Edessa actually was. Nevertheless, let’s quote her views about Wilson (she mentions him, his title, or the Shroud maybe 3 times through the whole book):

On pg. 15, about the translations of the Narratio:

„Jako pierwsze powstało tłumaczenie na język angielski, załączone jako aneks do, niezwykle skądinąd bałamutnej, książki Iana Wilsona o całunie turyńskim, której autor najwyraźniej nie wiedział o istnieniu lepszego wydania.” (w przypisie: „Książka, do której załączony został przekład zawiera wiele do tego stopnia kontrowersyjnych tez, że większość badaczy odmawia jej statusu pozycji naukowej. Tłumaczenie jest jednak osobną całością i jest całkowicie wiarygodne”)

Translation: „The first translation was the English one, included as an Appendix in, otherwise extremely confused/misleading/delusory, Ian Wilson’s book about the shroud of turin, the author of which seemingly was unaware about existence of better edition” (and in footnote: “The book to which that translation is included, contains many theses controversial to such a degree, that most scholars deny it a status of scientific book. The [polish] translation however is a separate whole, and is completely reliable”) On pg. 47-48 in footnote:

“Teza Wilsona zdobyła licznych zwolenników wśród osób zajmujących się „tajemnicą całunu” (por. zwłaszcza artykuły D. Scavone na łamach internetowego czasopisma Collegamento pro Sindone) i nielicznych zwolenników wśród naukowców:”

"Wilson’s thesis has gained many supporters among people dealing with "mystery of the shroud "(cf. especially D. Scavone’s articles published in the pages of online magazine Collegamento pro Sindone) and few supporters among scientists:” and next she mentions three of those supporters (A-M. Dubarle, D. Freedberg, J. M. Fiey), and interestingly, no opponents. At least we know she is familiar with Scavone’s ideas (and that ‘ scientists’ and ‘the people dealing with "mystery of the shroud "’ are two different groups). And why Wilson is bad? Because he is bad, obviously, and no explanation needed!

Those are the last words Tycner-Wolicka has to say about the Shroud in her book. Or… maybe not. While making her exegesis, she mentions 958 letter of Constantine VII, and the list of relics included in it. She analyzes the meaning of terms σπαργάνων/sparganon, and τής θεοφόρου σινδόνος/t s theofórou sindónos. While she concludes that the first term refers to the burial cloths (just as Scavone does), the identification of the second item may surprise, after all what was told about her supposed attitude towards Wilson’s ideas. The first thing is the meaning of the words t s theofórou sindónos. While Scavone translates them as the sindon which God wore, Tycner-Wolicka translates it in a much more inspiring way: bogonośna chusta – God-carrying cloth. And she writes further on pg. 172:

Skoro zatem pierwsze z badanych określeń to chusty grobowe, to czym jest owa „bogonośna chusta”? Nie ma chyba większych wątpliwości, że musi chodzić o nasz mandylion. Trudno zresztą wyobrazić sobie, żeby podobny zestaw relikwii, sporządzony w imieniu Konstantyna Porfirogenety (czy też przez niego) pomijał tak ważny dlań przedmiot. […] Ciekawy jest i sam zestaw relikwii, świadczący o tym które z nich uznawane były za pomocne w walce: są to relikwie męki pańskiej. […] I tu zaskoczenie –mandylion został potraktowany jako relikwia, w dodatku relikwia pasji. Jest to zestawienie bardzo ciekawe, które pozwala inaczej spojrzeć na fragment Opowieści mówiący o powstaniu wizerunku w Ogrójcu. [przypis: interpretacja, ze jest to jeszcze jedna z chust grobowych, np. ta która okrywał twarz Chrystusa (przedmiot ten bywa, choć rzadko, wspominany jako osobna relikwia) nie wydaje się być uzasadniony.

Nie wiadomo bowiem wówczas, co mialby znaczyć przymiotnik „bogonośny”.]

So if the first from analyzed terms refer to the burial cloths, then what is that “God-carrying cloth”. There are no greater doubts that it must be our mandylion. It is hard to imagine that similar set of relics, written on behalf of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (or by himself) omitted an item so important for him. […] The set itself is an interesting one, testifying which were considered as helpful in combat: the relics of the Lord’s Passion.[…] And here, surprise –the mandylion has been treated as a relic, in addition a relic of the Passion. This is a very interesting statement that allows for a different look at a fragment of Narratio talking about the creation of the image in the Garden of Gethsemane. [footnote: interpretation that it is another burial cloth, for example the one covering Christ’s face (this item is, although rarely, sometimes mentioned as a separate relic) seems not to be justified. It is unknown what the term “God-carrying” might have referred to then.]

Reading those words written by a scholar who is sceptical to the Wilson’s ideas –

PRICELESS. Because she was one step from the same conclusion as Wilson –and had she only been able to recognize what the term “God-carrying” might have referred to… It is obvious for any ‘Shroudie’ on this planet –the image on the Shroud of Turin. A relic of the Passion. The burial Shroud of Christ. And the Mandylion itself!

At the end of this article it is worthy to mention some other text. In Narratio we have following fragment:

When Christ was about to go voluntarily to death . . . sweat dripped from him like drops of blood. Then they say he took this piece of cloth which we see now from one of the disciples and wiped off the drops of sweat on it

This fairy-tale about creation of the Mandylion in the Gethsemane is a proof that there was a blood on the Mandylion, which everyone could see. We should notice, however that the presence of the blood itself is not directly mentioned –and this is deliberate, as the Narratio gives two accounts of the story creation of Mandylion, traditional one (before the Passion events), and a new one, connected with blood-sweating in Gethsemanne, without actually giving a preference to any of them (thus there couldn’t be a direct mention of the presence of blood, because it would give a clear answer to a reader which version is the correct one).

In another text the sermon of Gregory Referendarius delivered on the day of the arrival of Mandylion in Constantinople (16 August 944), we read:3

This reflection, however–let everyone be inspired with the explanation–has been imprinted only by the sweat from the face of the originator of life, falling like drops of blood, and by the finger of God. For these are the beauties that have made up the true imprint of Christ, since after the drops fell, it was embellished by drops from his own side.

The above is the original Guscin’s translation, following Dubarle, however he later revised his opinion, writing: The thrust of the text is that the sweat of agony (like drops of blood) adorned the Image, just like blood from its side adorned the body from which the sweat had dripped, i.e. two different events at two different times.4

Anyway, although the text is confusing (again, deliberately!), it gives an allusion of the presence of the side wound on the Mandylion (perhaps suggesting to the audience, that the blood from the side wound had been later, perhaps in miraculous way, transferred on that cloth). Just like the story in Narratio, and the description in the Constantine’s letter, this is definitely not accidental! The Emperor and the top hierarchs of the Byzantine Church (theological disputes and conspiracies for power were daily bread for Byzantines) knew perfectly the meaning of the words, and how to choose them. Thus those allusions say for themselves. It is clear what the Mandylion was. There is virtually no room for any conclusion other than that the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944 are one and the same object.

There is no other viable explanation of those coincidences. For the ‘Academia’ pseudoscholars – blinded, prejudiced, immersed in their dogmas, lacking any imagination – no chance, I think. But as always, I can be mistaken, and someone may come with some brilliant and unexpected solution…

Footnotes:

1 See thread: Yannick Clément on the Letters Between Jesus and King Abgar https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/06/yannickclmentonthelettersbetweenjesusandkingabgar/and the comments below.

2 Daniel C. Scavone, Acheiropoietos: Jesus Images in Constantinople: the Documentary Evidence http://shroudstory.wordpress.com/about/acheiropoietosjesusimagesinconstantinoplethedocumentaryevidence/

3 Mark Guscin, THE SERMON OF GREGORY REFERENDARIUS http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/guscin3.pdf

4 ADDENDUM TO TRANSLATION OF SERMON BY GREGORY REFERENDARIUS http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/guscin3a.pdf

Categories: Guest Posting, History
  1. January 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    There is much to digest here. Thanks for the excellent article OK.

  2. Charles Freeman
    January 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    ‘There is no other viable explanation of those coincidences. For the ‘Academia’ pseudoscholars – blinded, prejudiced, immersed in their dogmas, lacking any imagination – no chance, I think. But as always, I can be mistaken, and someone may come with some brilliant and unexpected solution…’

    Can I object to this? When there are so many problems with the tortuous Mandylion route to Lirey and there has as yet, so far as I know, been no serious research on the much more direct, documented routes of relics from the ‘Lord’s Tomb’ straight to northern France, this is an unjustified comment. I think myself that the blind prejudice lies in sticking to one possible, but extraordinarily unlikely, solution so dogmatically that one is not even able to consider others.

    • Matthias
      January 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Charles – there is blind prejudice on both sides of this argument.
      I think OK’s comment IS justified, and speaking from experience as a PhD student, much of academia IS entrenched in dogmatic positions.
      But as I say, to be fair we must acknowledge some blind prejudice on the Shroudie side too.

      Further, I don’t necessarily think the Shroud’s route to Lirey was that torturous, occurring as it did over a long period of time and in quite logical sequences.

      BTW, given the lack of serious research on your alternative idea, and given your profession as a historian, will you be investigating this further?

      • Charles Freeman
        January 19, 2014 at 4:38 am

        I would love to but I am already fully committed to other projects this year and I don’t have the expertise to work in early medieval French documents. We simply know that northern France had large early relic collections, that it was the custom to tag relics as a mark of authenticity and that we have collections of relics tagged as coming from Jerusalem including some said to be from the Lord’s Tomb that ended up very close to Lirey. So there is important work to be done here to expand on this but sadly I am not the one to do it.
        What one can’t do is present the Mandylion version without saying that it was only one of several alternative ways in which the Shroud might have come to do Lirey.

  3. Louis
    January 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Wilson did his best and has been honest in admitting that there are difficulties along his route,he is not fooling anybody, and I would go further and say that he is the best scholar to weigh the evidence in the realm of Shroud studies. There has been a lot of destruction in history and in this case it began in Edessa (Urfa today). It is possible that doors may have been opened in the Church for further research if the right hand had known what the left hand was doing in Shroud websites and publications. As commented earlier, a change in direction is needed.

  4. daveb of wellington nz
    January 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Excellent posting O.K. Many thanks, timely for me! I’m now up to slide 60 in the presentation series I’m planning, have just reached the “Quest for a History” section, Edessa-Constantinople-Mandylion theory, I’ll be making use of it. Your earlier comment on John Curcuas’ besieging of Edessa and the concessions he made merely for the sake of an icon also remains as a powerful argument.

    The Shroud Arcaulf saw in Jerusalem was said to have been given to Charlemagne in 797AD, and may have been the “Shroud of Compiegne” in the south near Toulouse, and destroyed during the French Revolution. It eludes me why any Passion relics should be taken direct from Jerusalem to ancient Gaul. Later, Mahomet and Saladin’s domination of the East would likely have destroyed any remaining Christian relics, and any in France would more likely have come from Constantinople. Likely, any such would also have been destroyed in the Revolution along with the records, and the trail would now be hopelessly cold. That may be the reason why the matter has not been seen as a fruitful area for research. There’s little doubt that there are significant errors in Wilson’s complete theory, but it seems to me that something very like the Mandylion story remains as the best shot still available, if indeed provenance can still be definitely ascertained. And yet the Shroud survives!

    • Charles Freeman
      January 19, 2014 at 5:03 am

      ‘It eludes me why any Passion relics should be taken direct from Jerusalem to ancient Gaul.’ Well, it is well documented from tags on the relics themselves that they were- see my earlier postings about relics from ‘the Lord’s Tomb ‘ that are known in collection close to Lirey. Northern France was avid for relics and there were large collections, including those of Charlemagne, early on. They were added to by the Crusades. As the Shroud is first documented in northern France, overwhelmingly the most likely source of its origin lies somewhere within these collections but, as I have said above, I have not the skills or time to do the research that is needed for this. It may have been captured by de Charny in the wars with the English that devastated this area and must have involved the looting of relics from the collections that had been there for centuries.

      I can only repeat that to stick to the Edessa theory without even mentioning more plausible alternatives for the arrival of the Shroud in northern France is simply bad history. A historian starts,BEFORE researching , going through ALL the possible routes of which, of course, there are many through which relics made their way from Jerusalem to northern France, and picks out the most likely for further research. If I did have the time to do the research, the Edessa theory would be very low down on my list indeed, partly because specialist scholars in Greek texts and Byzantine relic cults have always rejected it. ( Wilson does not even read Byzantine Greek!!)

      Although it is still not that likely, the most interesting alternative for me would be to chart the well-documented collecting of relics from Jerusalem by Pulcheria, the sister of the emperor Theodosius II, in the early fifth century. The reason for this is that her collection was housed not in the imperial palace but in the Blachaernae church on the outskirts of Constantinople and it was, of course, there that Robert de Clari , saw a shroud with an image that might have been one of her fifth century imports brought directly from Jerusalem. Again, going for the Edessa theory without even mentioning this possibility is bad history.

      You need to start by listing all the possibilities and then you may well find that the actual truth is concealed from us because the documentation surrounding the early history of the Shroud has been destroyed anyway in the medieval Anglo-French wars in northern France, in the French revolution or in the sacks of Constantinople by the crusaders and Ottomans! Sadly that is usually the case and we simply have to say ‘we don’t know’! That is why I am usually sceptical of people who are certain that they know what happened ( and proud of it!).

  5. Louis
    January 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    It goes without saying that Wilson’s Mandylion/Image of Edessa/Shroud theory overrides the gaps. Without that there would be no Shroud websites, no Shroud books, no Shroud conferences, no Shroud papers,no Shroud blogs.

    • Charles Freeman
      January 19, 2014 at 6:06 am

      No it doesn’t override the gaps. It provides no explanation of where the Shroud was in those crucial first five hundred ( repeat five hundred) years before the sixth century and again does not fill in the gap after 1204. Then again the chance that the Image of Edessa and the Shroud are the same is extremely tenuous – and this is being generous !
      Once one begins to look at the alternatives, the Edessa theory fades quickly out of the picture as a likely possibility.

      • Matthias
        January 19, 2014 at 6:46 am

        I don’t think lack of written record for the first 500 years is fatal to this theory at all. Aren’t there numerous examples of things within history where there has been lack of written record?
        How much was written about the shroud between the mid 1300s and 1800s? Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that there is not a huge amount of written material during this period, despite the Shroud’s reputation, public showings etc.

        Maybe there was a lack of written record, maybe there was written record but its been lost / destroyed over time.

        Maybe written record was destroyed during iconoclasm?

        Who knows????

      • Louis
        January 19, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Wilson’s starting point is that no one other than Jesus is known to have left his likeness on cloth and it is from there that he develops his theory. He has never been dogmatic and has said more than once that a lot more research is needed, therefore the need to read all the books he has published on the topic, not forgetting “Holy Faces, Secret Places”, which is about other images that could be related to the Shroud.

        We must not forget the mosaic discovered not long ago in Turkey and, yes, there is another gap to fill after 1204, where the Templar connection can help and hopefully some more evidence will surface soon.

        I have published two interviews with Wilson, one a full-page interview-article in a major daily and a third one, stored in a drawer, is yet to be published. We did have extremely frank discussions, and agreed about everything, which is what prompted me to place a lot of hope in his work.

        But, unfortunately, there have been problems in Shroud research. In my view, it is wrong to concentrate on making the Shroud known as much as possible, occasionally publishing rubbish in the process. As I said more than once, crucial research inside churches has come to a standstill because the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in the realm of Shroud studies, particularly in websites and publications, where generally only chummies have had doors opened to them. Of course, it is part of Shroud politics, it is a sort of closed circle, and is that conducive to progress? That apparently is the reason why people blowing their tops with articles criticising the attitudes of prelates on websites, petitions to the Pope and so on have been ignored. The clerics in Turin and Rome are not blindfolded, they do know what is going on.

      • Louis
        January 19, 2014 at 10:59 am

        See # 11

    • Charles Freeman
      January 19, 2014 at 6:17 am

      ‘Without that there would be no Shroud websites, no Shroud books, no Shroud conferences, no Shroud papers,no Shroud blogs.’
      Surely not true. The Edessa theory seems to have stopped people pursuing more fruitful research on the possible origins of the Shroud. By now there would be conferences, papers and books, on relic cults in Northern France and early links to Jeruaalem galore and it would be a much more open and fruitful field of study.

  6. Anonymous
    January 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    This post by O.K. (along with the opinions of Scavone and Tycner-Wolicka) proves what I always say: in historical research, you can make all kinds of extrapolations…

    Let’s avoid any kind of extrapolation for a second… Here’s what we can take out of the list of relics included in the 958 letter of Constantine VII:

    1- The list include the words “spargana” (normally meaning “small cloths” or “linen strips”) and “sindon” (normally meaning “shroud” in the context of such a list of relics of the Passion), which are often found together in many lists of relics from Constantinople (dated between the middle of the 11th century and the beginning of 13th century) as well as in the list of relics of the Passion that we found in the manuscript entitled De Imaginibus writen by St John Damascene in 726 or 730. This is not at all unusual to see both terms in a list of relics of the Passion and there is not a single one of those list that contain one specific term or mention to suggest that the sindon can be the same thing as the Mandylion (or even just related to the Mandylion or the Abgar legend in some way).

    2- The expression “which God wore” (Scavone translation) or “God-carrying cloth” (Tycner-Wolicka translation) should not be seen as a clear and direct reference to the presence of an image on the cloth. To remain prudent and rational, it is much more probable to understand Constantine’s expression as a way to say that this sacred shroud (sindon) was a cloth that covered the body of Christ in the tomb for some time after his death.

    3- This list of the relics of Christ’s Passion made by Constantine VII DOES NOT INCLUDE A SPECIFIC AND CLEAR MENTION of the Mandylion.

    4- Since the terms “Mandylion” and “Image of Edessa” were well-known in Constantinople at that time, there is no good reason why Constantine VII would not have used one of them in his list if he would really have wanted to include the Mandylion in his list of relics of the Passion.

    5- The fact that Constantine’s list of relics doesn’t contain a specific mention about the Mandylion is very interesting because we can find EXACTLY the same thing in the Damascene manuscript I mentioned above! Effectively, if we compare the list of Damascene and the list of Constantine VII, we find out that they are VERY SIMILAR in their content and that they DOESN’T mention specifically the Mandylion as being a relic of the Passion. And what is very important to note is that the Damascene manuscript talk also specifically about the Mandylion and the Abgar legend but in another section (another book to be exact), which means that, for St John Damascene, the Mandylion had NOTHING TO DO with a relic of the Passion, which is something we can also find in the Acts of Thaddeus (with a specific mention to the burial cloths in the lost tomb in a part of the story that has nothing to do with the miracle of the imprint of Jesus face on a towel).

    Rational conclusion (which try to avoid to make any wild extrapolation or speculation): We have a list of relics made by Constantine VII in 958 that doesn’t talk specifically about the Mandylion (even though this great relic arrived in his city just 14 years earlier), but that specifically mention the same burial cloths associated with Jesus’ Passion as many other later lists of relics from Constantinople, as well as a previous list made by St John Damascene in 726 or 730. And since Damascene’s list is very similar to the list of Constantine VII, we have to conclude that they most probably refers to the same “batch” of relics of Christ’s Passion. Now, is it still possible that the Mandylion could have been present in those lists, even though none of them made a specific mention of that cloth (in some hidden way or because some of them used some vague terms to talk about it)? We have to say “no way” to this question. Effectively, we can be confident to say this for the good reason that it was clear for Damascene (as well as for the author of the Acts of Thaddeus) that the Mandylion had nothing to do with a burial cloth of Christ’s Passion… So, since it was clear like this for Damascene and since his list refers probably to the same “batch” of relics as the one of Constantine VII, we can conclude that Constantine’s list most probably doesn’t refer at all to the Mandylion and therefore, we can also conclude that the Mandylion and the Shroud of Christ were 2 separate cloths and that the Mandylion was not a relic of the Passion of Christ (just like we can see for ourself in every known depiction of the Mandylion).

    Seriously, once we compare this list of relics made by Constantine VII to the one made by Damascene and once we understand that, for Damascene, the Mandylion had nothing to do with a relic of the Passion, we can therefore consider this 958 letter writen by Constantine VII as another good piece of evidence to support the conclusion that the Mandylion was a different cloth than the Shroud of Christ and that this shroud had nothing to do with the Abgar legend in any way.

    Of course, with lots of speculations and extrapolations, people can come to a different conclusion (Scavone and Tycner-Wolicka’s point of views are there to prove this), but if we avoid to do those kind of wild spéculations and extrapolations (like I think I have just done so), then we must conclude that the Mandylion was most probably a different cloth than the Shroud of Christ and that it had nothing to do with a relic of the Passion of Christ.

  7. Anonymous
    January 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Complementary note: All along my researches on the subject, I have not found a lot of reference concerning this 958 letter of Constantine VII. For example, many scholars said that the first references to the presence of a shroud of Christ in Constantinople was dating of the middle of the 11th century and was found in a list of relics… To be honest, I came to know this letter only via the paper of Scavone and the fact that another scholar talk about it (Tycner-Wolicka) seem to confirm its authenticity. Nevertheless, because of this low number of references, I would like to know the opinion of real historians (like M. Freeman or someone else) on this subject. In other words, can M. Freeman or someone else can confirm to me, without any doubt, the authenticity of this 958 letter? Thanks.

    • Charles Freeman
      January 19, 2014 at 4:42 am

      Well, you need to find a specialist in Greek texts of this period to advise you – find a university department specialising in Byzantium and see if anyone can answer your query.
      I am doing some work in Constantinople/Istanbul this year ( and in fact was there in November) – leading two study tours – but I am concentrating on the buildings and classical history and Greek texts are not my specialist area.

      • Matthias
        January 19, 2014 at 4:59 am

        nice work if you can get it!!!!

  8. Charles Freeman
    January 19, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Matthias- well it is my profession and I chose it so that I be out and about in the Mediterranean as much as possible!

  9. Matthias
    January 19, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Yannick, Charles, others – thoughts on this (from WIkipedia):

    A 10th-century codex, Codex Vossianus Latinus Q 69[13] found by Gino Zaninotto in the Vatican Library contains an 8th-century account saying that an imprint of Christ’s whole body was left on a canvas kept in a church in Edessa: it quotes a man called Smera in Constantinople: “King Abgar received a cloth on which one can see not only a face but the whole body” (in Latin: [non tantum] faciei figuram sed totius corporis figuram cernere poteris).[14]

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Matthias, here’s one question for you: If you are an historian and you have 100 authentic ancient documents in front of you and 99 of those are talking specifically about the imprint of the face only of the living Christ… Would you throw all those references to the garbage and only keep the one that is different?

      By doing so, you would prove as much non-profesionnal and completely biased as the ones who only take the C14 dating result of 88 to disprove the authenticity of the Shroud!

      My advice for you: please don’t fall into that trap! The document you mention is the only one I know (along with maybe another one writen later on) that mention specifically the presence of a full body image on the Mandylion, while there are tons of ancient manuscripts who are talking specifically about a simple image of the face of the LIVING CHRIST. Don’t you think these 2 “outsiders” references to a full body image could simply be due to a mistake on the part of their authors (who were probably not eye-witnesses of the relic) in the understanding of the reality of the Mandylion, maybe caused by the presence of a full body image of Christ’s body on another Sacred cloth related to Christ, namely his burial cloth? I think this is a rational and fair assumption…

  10. Louis
    January 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

    #11 was addressed to Charles Freeman.

    • Charles Freeman
      January 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Louis’ No.11. Seen and read. I have checked up sources used by Wilson too many times to find that they do not say what he says they say to be impressed. I am not going to repeat them because apparently we all have to treat him with kid-gloves.

      One day someone will write a book beginning:

      ‘ If the Shroud is authentic, hence originating in Jerusalem c. 30 AD, and yet is first documented in Lirey in the 1350s, then are several routes by which it may have got there. Any serious historian is going to explore them all before assessing which are the most likely. We would start with the early relic collections in northern France as several were close to Lirey and contained relics that were said to have come directly from the ‘Lord’s Tomb’ in Jerusalem. We may not be able to find documentation to support this but no serious historian can discount this possibility as it provides the simplest explanation. It is quite possible that these relic collections were looted during the wars between the English and French in the fourteenth century and the story that the Shroud was ‘a spoil of war’ won by Geoffrey de Charny, although later, might be true….’

      • Louis
        January 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm

        Thanks, Charles. I understand what you mean, so here we go, trying to fill the gaps…

  11. January 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

    It seems it is now my turn to answer some of the opinions expressed in this thread:

    Charles:

    When there are so many problems with the tortuous Mandylion route to Lirey and there has as yet, so far as I know, been no serious research on the much more direct, documented routes of relics from the ‘Lord’s Tomb’ straight to northern France, this is an unjustified comment.

    We simply know that northern France had large early relic collections, that it was the custom to tag relics as a mark of authenticity and that we have collections of relics tagged as coming from Jerusalem including some said to be from the Lord’s Tomb that ended up very close to Lirey. So there is important work to be done here to expand on this but sadly I am not the one to do it.

    ‘It eludes me why any Passion relics should be taken direct from Jerusalem to ancient Gaul.’ Well, it is well documented from tags on the relics themselves that they were- see my earlier postings about relics from ‘the Lord’s Tomb ‘ that are known in collection close to Lirey. Northern France was avid for relics and there were large collections, including those of Charlemagne, early on. They were added to by the Crusades. As the Shroud is first documented in northern France, overwhelmingly the most likely source of its origin lies somewhere within these collections but, as I have said above, I have not the skills or time to do the research that is needed for this.

    A week ago or so, I bought a new academic book by Jerzy Pysiak, from the University of Warsaw, titled Król i Korona Cierniowa: Kult relikwii we Francji Kapetyngów (“The King and the Crown of Thorns: Cult of the relics in Capetian France”) http://www.wuw.pl/ksiegarnia/product_info.php?products_id=5002 . Although I have to read it yet, but after a brief look it seems like a mine of the sources about relics, both from Carolignian and Crusade eras. However, there seems to be no word about the Shroud at all. There is no mention of Lirey, nor Geoffrey de Charny or any related people in the book Index.

    It is hardly possible that there had been no serious research on transfer of relics directly to France, after over 100 years of studies on history of the Shroud, begining with Chevalier, who traced its history back to Lirey. The only results were findings of some other alleged burial cloths, and some fragments of others. This way seems fruitless, and gives rather no promise for the future. It is only demagogy of yours Charles, to distract attention from the Wilson’s Mandylion theory (which gave some positive results), using logically flawed appeal to the future arguments.

    Although it is still not that likely, the most interesting alternative for me would be to chart the well-documented collecting of relics from Jerusalem by Pulcheria, the sister of the emperor Theodosius II, in the early fifth century.

    This was briefly suggested in R. Hynek’s 1937 book. The 14th century Byzantine historian Nikefor Kallisto claimed that sindonon kai othonion were already stored in the Blachaernae church in Pulcheria times, the problem is how much this late source is reliable. And still we can be certain there were more than a single burial cloth in Byzantine collection. Nevertheless this track seems to be abandoned by the scholars, for some reasons.

    No it doesn’t override the gaps. It provides no explanation of where the Shroud was in those crucial first five hundred ( repeat five hundred) years before the sixth century and again does not fill in the gap after 1204.

    Provides an explanation -the Shroud was hidden inside the walls of Edessa, for 300-500 years. Many other relics (Tunic of Argenteuil, Titulus Crucis) shared similar fate for large part of their histoy.

    Then again the chance that the Image of Edessa and the Shroud are the same is extremely tenuous – and this is being generous !

    Nonsense.

    Once one begins to look at the alternatives, the Edessa theory fades quickly out of the picture as a likely possibility.

    Again.

    I can only repeat that to stick to the Edessa theory without even mentioning more plausible alternatives for the arrival of the Shroud in northern France is simply bad history.

    A bad history is what you and the ‘Academia’ do.

    I think myself that the blind prejudice lies in sticking to one possible, but extraordinarily unlikely, solution so dogmatically that one is not even able to consider others.

    You seem to dogamtically reject the possibility of Wilson being right, clutching at straws just to discourage the people to it.

  12. January 19, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Now time to adress Yannick:

    This post by O.K. (along with the opinions of Scavone and Tycner-Wolicka) proves what I always say: in historical research, you can make all kinds of extrapolations…

    Of course…

    4- Since the terms “Mandylion” and “Image of Edessa” were well-known in Constantinople at that time, there is no good reason why Constantine VII would not have used one of them in his list if he would really have wanted to include the Mandylion in his list of relics of the Passion.

    Reminder: the term Mandylion itself first appears around 990 in a biography of a monk Paul from Mt. Latros (although I saw claims of earlier apperance) -and is quite rarely used. The Mandylion is described in various sources as mantile, himation, tetradiplon,cheiromaktron, manutergium among others.

    Effectively, if we compare the list of Damascene and the list of Constantine VII, we find out that they are VERY SIMILAR in their content and that they DOESN’T mention specifically the Mandylion as being a relic of the Passion.

    All the lists about the relics of the Passion are very similar, because the set of items was well known, and it not necessarly mean that all those relics were in possesion of Emperors at given time. Some lists include even the Holy Sepulchr itself!

    Of course, with lots of speculations and extrapolations, people can come to a different conclusion (Scavone and Tycner-Wolicka’s point of views are there to prove this), but if we avoid to do those kind of wild spéculations and extrapolations (like I think I have just done so)

    It is impossible to avoid wild speculations here and you hadn’t done so. Your reasoning has several hidden assumptions, of which you are maybe not even aware. For example you assume that John Damascene knew the true nature of the (contemporary version) of the Mandylion in Edessa, which is not certain, he probably knew only legendary version of it. You also assume that Constantine VII shared Damascene views, which is another assumption. And so on.

    A few words to Dave:

    The Shroud Arcaulf saw in Jerusalem was said to have been given to Charlemagne in 797AD, and may have been the “Shroud of Compiegne” in the south near Toulouse, and destroyed during the French Revolution.

    We don’t know whether it was the same Shroud. Perhaps, or perhaps not. There is a document, mentioned by Waliszewski and van Haelst, suggesting that in the 9th century the Shroud was still in Jerusalem. There is another latin document from 1190 suggesting that some shroud, or copy of it, along wit some fragments of the Crown of Thorns were given to Charlemagne (confused with Charles the Bald). The matter is extremely complex there. It seems also that the Shroud of Compiegne and Sindon Munda from Kornelimünster, which exists up to this day, were two halves of the same cloth, 4 metres long, 1 wide.

    And BTW: Compiegne is in the northern France. Perhaps you confused it with the Shroud of Cadouin, almost certainly a fake from the 1st Crusade times.

    There’s little doubt that there are significant errors in Wilson’s complete theory

    There are no significant errors in Wilson’s theory, although some minor details are debatable. Except that Wilson omitted (or rather deliberately skipped) one thing, that may be the key here…

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      O.K., the best response I can give to your post can be found in this new comment of mine: https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/18/wilson-shroudies-vs-academia-another-guest-posting-by-o-k/#comment-73748

      After reading this, I hope we could keep on a nice and productive exchange!

      Nevertheless, I would like to make some specific comments to what you said here:

      You said: “the term Mandylion itself first appears around 990 in a biography of a monk Paul from Mt. Latros (although I saw claims of earlier apperance) -and is quite rarely used. The Mandylion is described in various sources as mantile, himation, tetradiplon,cheiromaktron, manutergium among others.”

      My answer: Honestly, I cannot tell if you’re right or wrong here, but one thing I know (because I have read a lot of ancient sources on the subject): Almost everytime you find a reference in an ancient source about the Mandylion (or the Image of Edessa), you also find a pretty clear reference to the Abgar legend! Taking this into account, I remind you that, in this 958 letter of Constantine VII, there is no specific mention about the Mandylion, the Image of Edessa or simply about the Abgar legend. Therefore, any conclusion that maintain that there is a real reference to the Mandylion in this letter of Constantine is a pure speculation that have no solid historical or textual base. This is exactly what I meant by “WILD SPECULATION”.

      You also said: “All the lists about the relics of the Passion are very similar, because the set of items was well known, and it not necessarly mean that all those relics were in possesion of Emperors at given time.”

      My answer: Because those lists are so similar (this is true for the lists mentioned by Damascene and Constantine VII, as well as for many other later lists of relics from Constantinople), I think the most rational conclusion we can draw is to assume that they were both talking about the same “batch” of relics of the Passion. Effectively, I have a real hard time to believe that, around the same era, there could have been 2 different batch of relics that could have included all those same items that we find in the lists mentioned by Damascene and Constantine VII. Of course, we can’t be 100% sure about this, but the most rational conclusion is certainly the one I just draw… Look at the description of both list I made in my new comment and you’ll see that the number of similar items is very high and, therefore, push in favor of my conclusion: https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/18/wilson-shroudies-vs-academia-another-guest-posting-by-o-k/#comment-73748

      One last thing about this: In order for my analysis and conclusion to work all right, it is not important if the “batch” of relics described by Damascene were already kept in Constantinople or were kept elsewhere (in Jerusalem for example) at the time he was writing. The only important thing to note is the great similarity that exist between both lists, which indicate a high probability that both authors were talking about the very same “batch” of relics of the Passion…

      You also said: “It is impossible to avoid wild speculations here and you hadn’t done so. Your reasoning has several hidden assumptions, of which you are maybe not even aware.

      My answer: There’s a huge difference between making the most rational assumption you can do (without any bias in favor or not of Wilson’s hypothesis and only based on what we can find in ancient sources) and the kind of wild speculation I just mentioned…

      You also said: “For example you assume that John Damascene knew the true nature of the (contemporary version) of the Mandylion in Edessa, which is not certain, he probably knew only legendary version of it.”

      My answer: What I assume (and this is only based on what we find in the texts) is this: For Damascene, AS WELL AS FOR THE AUTHOR OF THE ACTS OF THADDEUS, the Mandylion was a completely different cloth than the Shroud of Christ and had NOTHING TO DO with his Passion, death and burial. And such views of these 2 ancient writers is in total agreement with all the known artistic depictions of the Mandylion. I think it’s fair to say that when you put all those solid references and pieces of evidences together, it is not hard at all to conclude that the Mandylion was not the same cloth as the Shroud of Turin… This is how the historical method should be used. I hope M. Freeman can back-up my statement here!

      You also said: “You also assume that Constantine VII shared Damascene views, which is another assumption. And so on.”

      My answer: Because of the high similarity of both lists of relics of the Passion (see again: https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/18/wilson-shroudies-vs-academia-another-guest-posting-by-o-k/#comment-73748), it’s pretty fair to assume that both writers were talking about the same “batch” of Christ’s relics. And taking this probable fact into account, here’s my thinking: since it was very clear for Damascene and for the author of the Acts of Thaddeus (as well as for many authors who made lists of relics of the Passion in Constantinople between the middle of the 11th Century and the 13th Century) that the Mandylion was a completely different cloth than the Shroud of Christ (and his other burial cloths), then it is pretty fair to conclude that the spargana and the sindon mentioned in the list of Constantine VII also doesn’t refer at all to the Mandylion.

  13. January 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    And now it seems, that neither Charles, nor Yannick, despite speaking many truisms and arguments that are good but irrelevant here, refuted the main argument presented in the article above. They rather tried to avoid it, directing discussion on other tracks.

    So to the point: the set of the documents from Constantine VII epoch is an extremely interesting one, as it gives us through various allusions the characteristics of the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944. Reading between the lines (the ability which ‘Academia’ certainly does not possess) one can guess what this item was.

    And here we have:

    * reference to image created by sweat and blood in Getsemanne in Narratio, clearly showing there was a blood on the Mandylion, and that the image was extremely faint, like sweat imprint.
    * the same in the sermon of Gregory Referendarius, along with the allusions to the side wound, leaving little doubt that it was actually there (why otherwise would he have even mentioned this?)
    * previously unmentioned Chronographia by Symeon Magister, who wrote that contrary to Constantine, his two brothers-in-low, sons of usurper Romanos I Lekapenos, didn’t see the image (thus they were unworthy to wield power in God’s eyes). This is commonly reported trait of the Shroud, if you are too close, you cannot see anything.
    * Some vague expression in 958 Constantine VII letters to his troops, suggesting that perhaps there was an image of Christ on one holy cloth in possesion of the Emperor, something previously unmentioned -compare with Robert de Clari’s realation.

    I know only one object that fits all of those characteristics: the Shroud of Turin.

    Now two simple straightforward questions to Charles, Yannick, and any other opponent of Wilson’s ideas.

    1. Could the Mandylion transferred to he Constantinople in 944 be anything else other than the Shroud of Turin? Yes or No.

    2. If Yes, then what it was?

  14. Charles Freeman
    January 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    1. Could the Mandylion transferred to he Constantinople in 944 be anything else other than the Shroud of Turin? Yes or No.
    2. If Yes, then what it was?
    Answer to One. Certainly yes.It needs enormous distortions of a few texts usually by people who are not specialist in the Greek religious texts of this period to suggest anything other.
    Answer to Two, The Mandylion was an image probably created in the late sixth century and fitted into the Agbar legend which was then embellished to present it as an image created by Christ when alive so as to boost the arguments that Christ himself supported representations of himself.
    That seems the summary of current Byzantine scholars as I understand it.

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      I agree 100% with M. Freeman. My long inquiry on the subject convinced me that all he said here is most probably the truth.

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

      There’s just one addition I would like to make versus the comment of M. Freeman who said that, most probably, the Mandylion was forged during the 6th Century.

      In regard of all the known ancient sources (particularly the Doctrine of Addai and a testimony of the 5th century), I think there is another interesting possibility… I think it is possible that the Mandylion was originaly created (painted) around the time the Doctrine of Addai was written (around 400 A.D.) in order to back-up the fact that, in this legendary text, there is a mention of a portrait of Christ made by the artist of king Abgar, which was supposedly taken back to Edessa and given to the king, who placed it in his palace.

      So, how about this: Could it be possible that, at first, the Image of Edessa was not considered at all as a Holy relic with a miraculous imprint of Jesus face on it, but simply as a painted portrait of Jesus that would have been made by an artist of king Abgar, during Jesus lifetime (which is what we got in the doctrine of Addai) and, later on, probably during the 6th or maybe the 7th century, the Byzantine Church (with the help of the Acts of Thaddeus and the manuscript of Evagrius Scholasticus) made believe that this painted portrait of Jesus was not at all a manmade portrait but was truly a miraculous imprint of his face? Note that this “change” of nature would have occurred at least 150 years or maybe more after the creation of the painted portrait of Jesus and I think it is possible that a gradual fainting of the portrait’s colors could explain the later idea that such an image had been miraculously created by Jesus with the help of his sweat. Again, this is just a possibility that I throw to all of you for your personal reflection…

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Additional note : The switch of nature that would have been made by Church for the Image of Edessa would certainly have been done for theological and teaching purpose (especially to fight against all the various and numerous heretic groups that were present in the Middle East at that time). A sort of pious fraud (which would certainly not have been the first or the last done by the Church over its long history!)…

  15. Louis
    January 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    There is a lot of text, so how about an illustration?
    http://www.banknote.ws/COLLECTION/countries/ASI/ARM/ARM0054.htm

  16. daveb of wellington nz
    January 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    The Mandylion, whatever it was, first emerged in Edessa ~540AD. From this time on, several churches notably in Georgia begin to display icons depicting Christ, with facial features that bear striking resemblances to the Shroud image. They usually claimed to be based on the Mandylion image of Edessa. Edessa at this time had become a major centre of Syriac Christian scholarship. If the Mandylion was not in fact the Shroud, it would seem to have at least been based on it. However it was also claimed to have been “not made by human hands”, a description which readily fits the Shroud image.

    As for there being no references to such images before the 6th century, it is just that Byzantine scholars are not adequately equipped to read pre-Constantine Christian code. We have for example the inscription of Avercius Marcellus, bishop of Hieropolis ~180-200: He describes his return journey from Rome having seen all the cities of Syria, in the company of one Palut, the name of one of the first bishops of Edessa, thus:

    “Faith everywhere led me forward, and everywhere provided as my food a fish of exceeding great size, and perfect, which a holy virgin drew with her hands from a fountain and this it ever gives to its friends to eat, it having wine of great virtue, and giving it mingled with bread.”

    The “fish of exceeding great size” is clearly not meant to be the eucharist, separately referred to at the end of the paragraph, but represents something else. It is during Avercius’ time as bishop that Abgar VIII becomes Christian, probably being baptized by Avercius, with the “fish of exceeding great size” as a visual aid, and hinted at in the pseudonymous allegory commissioned by Abgar VIII to mark the occasion, which became known as the doctrine of Addai. Avercius very likely returned the “fish of exceeding great size” to its place in Antioch, but it was subsequently brought back to Edessa, upon the impending destruction of that apostolic city.

    • January 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      The fish of great size is another fascinating tidbit. The Shroud would indeed be a Christ-relic (fish) of great size. The biggest I’d imagine both literally and figuratively. But might the wine of great virtue be a reference to blood (the blood on the linen) and the bread with which it is mingled being the image of Christ itself — the living bread?

  17. Anonymous
    January 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I would like to add a comment versus the assumption that because we can find a version of the miraculous imprint of Jesus’ face in Gethsemane in the Narratio, that means there was some bloodstains on the Mandylion.

    Sorry, but this is another pure extrapolation made by people who desperately want to back-up the hypothesis of Wilson. First of all, in the Narratio, we can find 2 versions of the same legend and one of them still locate the action before the Passion of Christ (which can be seen as the “traditional” version of the legend). This is important because if the second version was due to a better understanding of the hypothetical bloody nature of the Mandylion, it is highly probable that the author of the Narratio would have only kept the new version (while putting the focus on the presence of blood in the sweat, which is not the reality), while leaving aside the “traditional” version of the legend.

    Secondly, and this is more important, the location of the action in Gethsemane is probably due to the presence of the word “sudarium” in another previous manuscript of the legend, which is used to describe the cloth that was used to Jesus to wipe his face, leading to the miraculous imprint. This previous manuscript if called “The letter of the three patriarchs to Emperor Theophilus of Constantinople”, which is dated to the first half of the 9th century. Even though this text used the word “sudarium” to describe the cloth with the miraculous imprint, it still located the action BEFORE the Passion of Christ (the letter specified that the miraculous imprint happened “while the Lord and Saviour was on earth”), which is similar to the “traditional” version of the Abgar legend, which locates the miraculous imprint some days before the beginning of Jesus’ Passion! In fact, it most probably used that term “sudarium” simply because the author of the text said that it was Christ’s sweat (instead of the water he used to washed his face, which is found in the first versions of the legend) that was used by him to produce the miraculous imprint OF HIS FACE ONLY (the text is specific about the fact that Jesus only wiped his face with the cloth). Note that, in this version, the sweat of Christ had NOTHING TO DO with the bloody sweat described by St Luke in the story of the Passion…

    Taking all those information into account, I think it’s fair to conclude that this new version that we find in the Narratio (which locate the action in Gethsemane) is only an extrapolation that originate from the previous use of the word “sudarium” by the author of “The Letter of the three patriarchs to Emperor Theophilus of Constantinople” and his idea that the miraculous imprint was done by Jesus with the use of his sweat (again, normal sweat in this version and not the bloody sweat described by St Luke in his Gospel). What reinforces this assumption is the fact that we can find a direct reference to this particular letter in the Narratio! It is also possible that such a change of location was also inspired in some way by some theological views of the Church of Constantinople, which we can possibly found an echo in Gregory Referendarius’ speech (which, as Guscin told us in a paper he wrote some years ago, can’t be taken in any way as a clear and direct reference to the presence of bloodstains on the Mandylion)…

    On this subject, it is very interesting to note that, in his speech, Gregory refers also directly to this letter of the three patriarchs, which shows the great influence this manuscript (and the reference to the sweat used by Christ to form the image on the cloth) had in Constantinople at the time the Mandylion came to this city (which is the same era in which the Narratio was written). In such a context, it is highly probable that the development of the second version of the Abgar legend we see in the Narratio (which located the action in Gethsemane and talk about the bloody sweat of Christ), as well as the speech of Gregory, was mainly influenced by this letter of the three patriarchs and his reference to a sudarium and the sweat used by Christ to form the image on that cloth (again, a normal sweat and not the bloody sweat of Gethsemane).

    Again, to understand an important change in the legend of Abgar, it’s very important to understand the historical context and to take into account the previous texts that talk about the Abgar legend and the story of the miraculous imprint of Jesus’ face.

    One last note: In the second version of the legend that we find in the Narratio (which locate the action in Gethsemane), the focus is put in his sweat (which he would have wipe out with a cloth, thus producing the miraculous imprint), and not on the blood that could have been present in his sweat.

    Taking this new version that is found in the Narratio and extrapolate that this is a clear piece of evidence that there were bloodstains on the Mandylion is just something any good and honest scholar would never do… Once we put things in the right context, such an idea is clearly a wild extrapolation, just like the idea that Gregory Referendarius’ speech contains a direct mention to the presence of bloodstains on the Mandylion.

    • Charles Freeman
      January 20, 2014 at 3:55 am

      Good to see someone who knows the texts contributing to the debate!

      • Anonymous
        January 20, 2014 at 9:31 am

        Thank you very much M. Freeman! I just want to share the information I get over my long inquiry on the subject…

      • Anonymous
        January 20, 2014 at 10:12 am

        And to share also my long reflection on the subject from the point of view of someone who believe the Shroud is authentic but who became convinced that the Mandylion cannot be the same thing as the Shroud…

  18. Anonymous
    January 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Just to emphasize what I said about the great similarity that exist between the list of relics of the Passion that we find in the manuscript « De Imaginibus » writen by St John Damascene in 726 or 730 and the list of relics of the Passion we can find in the letter of Constantine VII written in 958, here’s the details of both lists:

    Damascene’s list:

    – The wood of the cross
    – The lance
    – The sponge
    – The reed
    – The nails
    – The sacred linens (spargana, which can be translated as “small cloths” or “linen strips”)
    – The shroud (sindon)

    Constantine’s list:

    – The wood of the cross
    – The lance
    – The titulus of the cross
    – The reed
    – The sacred blood of Christ
    – The tunic
    – The sacred linens (spargana, which can be translated as “small cloths” or “linen strips”)
    – The shroud (sindon)

    I hope this is enough for you to conclude, like me, that both authors were most probably referring to the same “batch” of relics of Christ’s Passion. Effectively, it is highly improbable that, between Damascene and Constantine time, there could have been two separate “batch” of relics of Christ’s Passion so similar in their content. But since Damascene doesn’t tell where those relics were kept, it is impossible to know if they were already kept in Constantinople at the time he was writing his manuscript. Nevertheless, the fact that he made a clear separation between those relics of Christ’s Passion and the Abgar legend (including the Mandylion) must be considered with great care when it’s time to analyze the content of Constantine’s list, because the relics mentioned by this Emperor of Constantinople were most probably the same relics as the ones mentioned by Damascene some 200 years earlier…

    Note that because of the proximity in time between the testimony of Arculf (who saw a shroud of Christ in Jerusalem in 670) and the manuscript of Damascene (726 or 730), it’s truly possible that the Shroud mentioned by Damascene was the same as the one Arculf saw in Jerusalem and, therefore, it is also truly possible to think that this shroud of Christ was still kept in Jerusalem at the time Damascene was writing his manuscript. This assumption is reinforced by the fact that Damascene included many Holy places of Palestine (he mention, among other places, Mont Sinai, Nazareth, Bethleem, Golgotha, the Holy sepulchre, the mount of olivier, the garden of Gethsemane, etc.) along with his list of relics of Christ’s Passion…

    To summarize all I said in all the posts I made on this topic, I would say this: IF (the “if” is important of course) the burial cloths mentioned by St John Damascene in his list of relics of the Passion are the very same cloths as the ones mentioned by Constantine VII in his own list of relics, then we have to conclude that Constantine’s list doesn’t contain any reference to the Mandylion as being a relic of the Passion of Christ and, therefore, the Mandylion was not the Shroud of Christ and had nothing to do with his Passion, death and burial, which would be totally consistent with the vast majority of the versions of the Abgar legend and totally consistent also with all the known artistic depictions of the Mandylion.

    And to conclude, I want to say this: Because I’m convinced that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, I would like to find as much as you a rational historical path for this cloth from the moment it was found empty in the empty tomb to the time it get to Lirey, France in the middle of the 14th century. Nevertheless, because of my long inquiry on the subject, I am profoundly convinced that the Mandylion’s trail is not the right path to follow in order to build a rational history for the Shroud before his arrival in Lirey. The only value I’m ready to give to the Mandylion is the probable fact that such a depiction of the face of the living Christ was based (directly or, more likely, indirectly) on the image of the face of Christ that we see on the Shroud of Turin. No more, no less than this.

    And for the Shroud’s ancient path, to remain prudent, I like to think that it was quietly transferred directly from Jerusalem to Constantinople at some unknown date (possibly before the transfer of the Mandylion, if the letter of Constantine VII is authentic). After all, from ancient sources, we know that other relics of Christ’s Passion (like the lance, the sponge, the wood of the cross, the crown of thorns, etc.) were transferred that way directly from Jerusalem to Constantinople for their protection, without ever spending one day in Edessa… Question: Why those transfers are known and not the transfer of the Shroud? Maybe because this relic was more important than the others (which would have made it more attractive for the enemies of the orthodox Christians like the Arabs, the Persians or some heretic group). Consequently, for its protection (and maybe to avoid some invasion thread of Constantinople), it was better not to tell anything about such a transfer and keep it secret. Of course, this is just a possible explanation and others can be put forward… But in the end, whatever the reason, I still believe that, in the light of all the known historical sources concerning both the relics of the Passion and the Mandylion, a direct transfer from Jerusalem to Constantinople without a séjour in Edessa is the most rational and prudent hypothesis we can draw for the Shroud of Turin. I hope that even the most fanatical of Wilson’s fan out there will at least recognize that such a hypothesis is POSSIBLE (I don’t say probable, just possible).

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Note: I just realize that there are 2 words in French in my previous post:

      Mount of olivier: Read “Mount of Olives”
      Séjour: Read “stay”.

      Sorry.

    • Charles Freeman
      January 20, 2014 at 3:59 am

      ‘Of course, this is just a possible explanation and others can be put forward (HURRAH!!]… But in the end, whatever the reason, I still believe that, in the light of all the known historical sources concerning both the relics of the Passion and the Mandylion, a direct transfer from Jerusalem to Constantinople without a séjour in Edessa is the most rational and prudent hypothesis we can draw for the Shroud of Turin. I hope that even the most fanatical of Wilson’s fan out there will at least recognize that such a hypothesis is POSSIBLE (I don’t say probable, just possible).’
      Hear hear, Good sense coming into the debate- but we must look at the possibility of a direct transfer from Jerusalem to northern France as well as we know such trade in relics existed. All in all there is scope for a good book on the Shroud which examines all these possibilities. If only we can persuade people that the Wilson theory is just that and has diverted too much attention away from other important areas of research then one could actually move on in Shroud studies.

    • Matthias
      January 20, 2014 at 4:56 am

      “Question: Why those transfers are known and not the transfer of the Shroud? Maybe because this relic was more important than the others (which would have made it more attractive for the enemies of the orthodox Christians like the Arabs, the Persians or some heretic group). Consequently, for its protection (and maybe to avoid some invasion thread of Constantinople), it was better not to tell anything about such a transfer and keep it secret.”

      Yes, maybe. After all, it would be very easy to fake the other relics, and (assuming the Shroud is authentic) very difficult if not impossible to fake the Shroud.

      “I hope that even the most fanatical of Wilson’s fan out there will at least recognize that such a hypothesis is POSSIBLE (I don’t say probable, just possible).”

      Yes I think it is possible. I am far from a fanatical Wilson fan, l although I think his Mandylion theory has a lot of merit.All of these theories involve speculation.

      • Charles Freeman
        January 20, 2014 at 7:46 am

        ‘All of these theories involve speculation.’
        Yes and this is where professional historians BEGIN their work – to see whether these speculations have any support. As this has never been done in the case of the Shroud, so far as I know, with regard to the more obvious routes along which relics travelled from Jerusalem either to northern France or to Constantinople they will remain speculations until the research has been done by professionals able to read and assess the original sources.
        As there are records of sets of relics associated with the Passion, crucifixion and burial of Christ recorded as coming into Constantinople as early as the fourth century and into northern France by the seventh and eighth, the balance of probabilities is that one of these would be the route the Shroud would have taken.
        Linen would certainly not have lasted long bricked up in a wall!!

  19. Matthias
    January 20, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I’ll throw another option into the fire…

    Maybe the Shroud face image – proposed to be one and the same as the Mandylion – didn’t originally have blood on it?

    So maybe the face image of the Shroud did just appear as a sweaty (but not bloody) imprint as the Mandylion?

    I for one have never been convinced that all the blood on the Shroud is authentic (although I think elements might be).

    And a question for Yannick and other skeptics – what better way to talk of the Shroud image than as a sweaty imprint?

    • Matthias
      January 20, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Charles, correct me if I am wrong but are you not a believer in a medieval origin for the Shroud? In which case, where are you coming from with your proposed Jerusalem to France “direct route” idea?

      • Charles Freeman
        January 20, 2014 at 8:16 am

        Because I am open-minded to all possibilities and I get frustrated to find that so little research has been done about so many aspects of the Shroud!

      • January 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm

        Charles: Because I am open-minded to all possibilities and I get frustrated to find that so little research has been done about so many aspects of the Shroud!

        Except the Mandylion theory of course.

        Ladies and Gentlemen:

        The more nonsense Charles puts in this thread the more convinced I am that Mandylion theory is correct. Because, instead of facing the arguments presented in article directly, he is going with some gibberish talk about ‘direct routes from Jerusalem to Lirey’ -knowing well that there are none. Because the Shroud was nothing else, but Mandylion brought to Constantinople in 944. That’s deadly threat to Charles believes in medieval provenance of the Shroud, and that’s why he tries to turn historical research into a way with unavoidable dead end.

        Open minded… rather dishonest, and desperate.

        Yannick, I will address some of your thoughts later on.

      • Anonymous
        January 20, 2014 at 3:24 pm

        Why don’t you start by answering the very good question (which I’m really not sure you ask yourself before) that can be found at the end of this comment of mine: https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/18/wilson-shroudies-vs-academia-another-guest-posting-by-o-k/#comment-73832

      • Anonymous
        January 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        O.K., I don’t say this to be mean, but simply because this is a question that I rarely see asking regarding this issue of the Mandylion, while, to me, it’s the most important question of them all…

      • Charles Freeman
        January 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm

        Reply to 47. ‘Because, instead of facing the arguments presented in article directly, he is going with some gibberish talk about ‘direct routes from Jerusalem to Lirey’ -knowing well that there are none.’

        Excuse me. These routes are well documented by Michael McCormick in Chapter Ten of his Origins of the European Economy, Cambridge UP, 2001, the definitive book on the subject of early medieval trade. The relics (which ended up in shrines close to Lirey) are tagged as coming from Jerusalem and McCormick sees them as part of the reviving trade routes in the Mediterranean after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

        I can excuse your complete ignorance of the various trade routes of relics from Jerusalem across the Mediterranean because you were clearly not aware of them but for those of us who do study these things we do not take kindly to being called ‘dishonest’ when we feed in the findings of internationally recognised experts in this area to this discussion.

  20. daveb of wellington nz
    January 20, 2014 at 5:01 am

    I’m certainly prepared to consider facts when they’re presented. At present state of knowledge, alternative routes: direct Jerusalem to Constantinople, direct Jerusalem to northern France or else via Constantinople, or even by way of Serbia can only be speculations for which such evidence there might be is only slight. On the other hand there are several persuasive albeit not conclusive, pieces of evidence that suggest the Mandylion theory or something very like it has legs. No other theory proposed comes near it in terms of present evidence. The Threnos scene at Klosterneuberg, Vienna, 1181, and the Pray manuscript illustrations Hungary 1191 are still a long way from northern France! But a few western travellers had seen the relics in the Pharos chapel at Constantinople. Generals such as John Curcuas on a winning streak with overwhelming forces, are unlikely to make the the kind of concessions he did for some old painted icon! He could have easily taken it without so much as a “By your leave!”

    • January 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      That Curcuas story is very, very intriguing.

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Dave, I salute your open-mindedness versus other hypotheses than the one proposed by Wilson, but I have to say that I disagree with you about your idea that his hypothesis (or something close to this) has some chances to be correct, especially when we take into account all the pertinent data (ancient sources, known artistic depictions, theological and religious context of the time in which the numerous changes to the original Abgar legend took place, etc.). Sorry but there are too many problems with this hypothesis (no matter if it’s one of the only hypothesis available out there) and, on the other hands, there are too many pieces of evidence that exist to show that the Mandylion was only showing the face of the living Christ without any bloodstains or injuries that, if we want to remain serious and honest, we must at least put the tag « highly doubtful » (if it’s not the tag « proven wrong ») over it.

      In the end, the most important question we must ask ourselves in order to judge of the validity of Wilson’s hypothesis is this one : Does the numerous changes we see in the Abgar legend, which occurred over the centuries are due, as Wilson think, to a better understanding of the real nature of the Mandylion (which would have occurred progressively) or wouldn’t it be due instead to some progressive changes in the socio-cultural, religious and theological context in the Middle East (especially concerning the great fights of the orthodox Church against the various heretic groups out there at the time)? After my long inquiry on the subject, I highly favor this later possibility…

  21. Louis
    January 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Abgar is part of the Orthodox Church’s liturgy.

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Which can be seen as a good piece of evidence that such a legend, along with the Mandylion, had often been used by this orthodox Church for various purpose, including his fight against heretic groups… Of course, everything is a matter of how we interpret all the pertinent data surrounding this Abgar legend and the Mandylion, including the historical context of the Byzantine Church in the era prior to the arrival of Mandylion in Lirey.

  22. Louis
    January 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    That’s correct.

  23. daveb of wellington nz
    January 20, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Anonymous’ Freudian slip: “… in the era prior to the arrival of MANDYLION in LIREY” Oh, indeed??!!

    Orthodox Church use of Mandylion to bolster its own position: That in my view says little about the true nature of the Mandylion. It may equally come from a better perception and understanding of its true nature, put to good use.

    Contemplate this: What would have been the reaction to the early church if the Shroud had been fully exposed and known? Would it have been a source of wonder and amazement, as it it is today among modern authenticists? Or would it have been seen as an unclean object? A burial cloth used to wrap a dead body, an executed criminal, containing unclean blood. Or again would it have been seen as tangible evidence of Christ’s resurrection, and so a target for Christian enemies to snatch! There were plenty of reasons to conceal its true nature. So maybe that’s what happened, and it was effective, as there is ample evidence from the sources quoted by Scavone that there is only a slow dawning of the recognition of what the reddish stains were, the revealing of the wound in the side, only from a faint impression of the image as quoted by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, even his step brothers the Lecupuni couldn’t see it.

    Where is the evidence for other explanations? There is none, only speculations from those who think they know better, blinded by their own doctrinaire positions from the “received wisdom” of Academia.

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Shroud… He he ! A big lapsus…

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      What I really meant was in Constantinople…

    • Matthias
      January 21, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Yannick, Charles
      I think Dave has provided quite compelling reasons why the Shroud may have been “disguised” as the face only Mandylion.
      Would be interested in your views on this, and why you might argue these are not compelling reasons?

      • Charles Freeman
        January 21, 2014 at 10:05 am

        Matthias. You are making the mistake of accepting the Wilson hypothesis and then trying to explain any objections (of which there are many) to it.

        Try starting the other way round and say ‘ If the Shroud is authentic and has arrived in Lirey by 1350, then let’s consider the most likely routes through which it may have made its way there.’ (See also ‘Anonymous’ below who is thinking like this so there is at least someone prepared to take things on.)

        Perhaps one of the more opulent Shroudies could finance someone to do a PhD on the subject- it does need three years concentrated work in the archives from someone who knows the right languages.

        My own take is that a C14 date will probably come up with a medieval result but I will wait and see. It is also likely that someone who has never studied the Shroud but who is working on one of the other medieval linens that survive, using technology that is way ahead of anything known in 1978 or 1988, comes up with some findings about images on the medieval linens which can be applied to the Shroud. That is how breakthroughs often take place. I haven’t seen anything in these debates that suggest anyone who has worked with medieval linens at all but it is a growth area in art history even if I have seen nothing that can be directly applied to the Shroud.

      • Matthias
        January 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        that’s cute Charles! I don’t think I’ve made any mistake. All I was doing was acknowledging that there are quite good theological / historical / social / cultural reasons why the Shroud might have been disguised as the Face only (and serene and peaceful and mysterious looking) Mandylion, as opposed to displayed as a full, bloody, beaten, defeated and naked image.

  24. January 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Now Yannick, I will adress what I think are the most important issues you raised in your posts:

    Almost everytime you find a reference in an ancient source about the Mandylion (or the Image of Edessa), you also find a pretty clear reference to the Abgar legend!

    Not true, there are no references to Abgar nor even Edessa in the Robert de Calri’s version for example. And the lists of relics while mentioning an item that could be either Mandylion or the Shroud, rarely give precise description what is it, or references to Abgar legend. Thus confusion sometimes. See Scavone’s paper http://shroudstory.wordpress.com/about/acheiropoietos-jesus-images-in-constantinople-the-documentary-evidence/ For example: “In 1200 the inventory of Antonius of Novgorod similarly names two linen cloths: linteum and “linteum representing the face of Christ” Riant, Exuviae 223: . . . monstrantur in aedibus aureis Caesaris: Crux veneranda, Corona [spinea], Spongia, Clavi, iterum Sanguis, Chlamys purpurea, Lancea, . . . linteum faciem Christi repraesentans . . .; quae omnia in sola ecclesia parva B. Dei Genitricis reperiuntur.

    Is it the Shroud or the Mandylion?

    After all, from ancient sources, we know that other relics of Christ’s Passion (like the lance, the sponge, the wood of the cross, the crown of thorns, etc.) were transferred that way directly from Jerusalem to Constantinople for their protection, without ever spending one day in Edessa… Question: Why those transfers are known and not the transfer of the Shroud?

    Not all of those transfers are known -the transfer of the lance or the Crown of Thorns are unknown, for example.

    Sorry, but this is another pure extrapolation made by people who desperately want to back-up the hypothesis of Wilson. First of all, in the Narratio, we can find 2 versions of the same legend and one of them still locate the action before the Passion of Christ (which can be seen as the “traditional” version of the legend). This is important because if the second version was due to a better understanding of the hypothetical bloody nature of the Mandylion, it is highly probable that the author of the Narratio would have only kept the new version (while putting the focus on the presence of blood in the sweat, which is not the reality), while leaving aside the “traditional” version of the legend.

    No, he couldn’t.

    Remember, this is Byzantium. Despotic Eastern society. Some things cannot be related there directly, but only in a hidden, suggestive way. You must read between the verses to understand the proper meaning of the message.

    Imagine such situation: the long awaited legendary Mandylion arrives in Constantnople, and then suddenly comes some high-ranked priest and shows them the relics, and tells to the people: “Sorry guys, the whole traditional version of the Mandylion legend that your grandmas told you while you were children is simply a bulls&*%^. It was not created before the Passion, look there are bloodmarks visible. Moreover, contrary to the false old version, it is not the image of the face, but the burial shroud. The whole hitherto tradition was nothing but a bunch of lies.”

    Of course such scenario was impossible. And so it was impossible to discard the traditional version. Instead, a new version was suggested. But only suggested, with a subtle indication (but only indication!) that it is the correct one! Read that part of Naaration, and you understand. It clearly states that this version was “previously unknown”, and that it is “not unbelievable or lacking witnesses” Those are only suggestions. There is not even directly mentioned that there are bloodmarks on the Mandylion (which would discredit the “traditional” version) -but there are clear allusions to them, and everyone knows the point!

    It is a mastery of composition of the text. And no word is used there without a reason. Thus there cannot be the slighest doubts to the presence of bloodmarks on the Image of Edessa.

    Secondly, and this is more important, the location of the action in Gethsemane is probably due to the presence of the word “sudarium” in another previous manuscript of the legend, which is used to describe the cloth that was used to Jesus to wipe his face, leading to the miraculous imprint. This previous manuscript if called “The letter of the three patriarchs to Emperor Theophilus of Constantinople”, which is dated to the first half of the 9th century. Even though this text used the word “sudarium” to describe the cloth with the miraculous imprint, it still located the action BEFORE the Passion of Christ (the letter specified that the miraculous imprint happened “while the Lord and Saviour was on earth”), which is similar to the “traditional” version of the Abgar legend, which locates the miraculous imprint some days before the beginning of Jesus’ Passion! In fact, it most probably used that term “sudarium” simply because the author of the text said that it was Christ’s sweat (instead of the water he used to washed his face, which is found in the first versions of the legend) that was used by him to produce the miraculous imprint OF HIS FACE ONLY (the text is specific about the fact that Jesus only wiped his face with the cloth). Note that, in this version, the sweat of Christ had NOTHING TO DO with the bloody sweat described by St Luke in the story of the Passion…

    No chance Yannick. The allusions are clear, and I see no other possibility than the real presence of the bloodstains on the Image of Edessa. Otherwise, the whole story of Gethsemane wouldn’t have been even invented -for what damn purpose?

    And my advice: forget all those fairy tales, about creating the Mandylion before the beginning of Jesus’ Passion. Forget the “traditional” story, forget the Gethsemane version, forget the Damascene or Acts of Thaddeus for a moment. It is all eyewashing. It is all irrelevant here, at this moment. The only important thing is what Byzantines saw on the so called Image of Edessa, when it was brought to Constantinople on 16 August 944, and went into procession through the whole city.

  25. Anonymous
    January 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Anything I can say here is a total waste of time. People are so biased in their view that it makes me sick.

    I quit.

    • Anonymous
      January 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      I highly recommand to Wilson’s fans to buy every books of Dan Brown. If you love Wilson’s crazy ideas, you’ll also love Brown’s own fantasies… Don’t you realize that if every credible scholars would think like you do, the true ancient history of the Shroud would never have any chance to be found one day?

  26. Anonymous
    January 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Explanation: If people wonder why I’m so tired of this endless debate, it’s because I can’t stand seeing how much people in the pro-Shroud world are willing to do or believe anything at all cost in order to save a hypothesis so weak as the one proposed by Wilson (or something similar involving the Mandylion). In any unbiased circle, such an hypothesis would have been set aside since a very long time and people would have tried hard to find a better solution. Sadly, this is not at all what I see in the pro-Shroud world and this bad situation is going on for years now. Disgusting. It’s pretty evident that the solution for the Shroud’s ancient past lies elsewhere but most people around here are simply not ready to admit it.

  27. Anonymous
    January 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Last important note : I don’t pretend I have to answer for the Shroud’s ancient history but at least, I’m not willing to buy Wilson’s crazy and weak stuff simply because « this is the only credible (SIC) hypothesis we got to explain the Shroud’s ancient past ». I think I gave you some interesting possibilities that would need to be explored properly and I’m sure other interesting road to explore could be draw by other people. But sadly, I doubt that such a thing will be seen around here… Time to go now.

    • Dan
      January 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Take a day off. Take a couple of days. Things are going to get crazy around here shortly and you’ll want to be around. And we want you around.

      • Anonymous
        January 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        I think you’re right Dan…

      • January 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm

        Cryptic teaser there, Dan. Can you say more?

      • Matthias
        January 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        Chill brother Yannick, your opinions are valuable, none of us have a monopoly on the truth especially vis a vis the Shroud

  28. daveb of wellington nz
    January 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Another aspect seldom raised: Given the demands of cultural modesty of the time, Would the early Church hierarchy consider that the fully naked body of the Lord and Saviour be a proper object for the public gaze, by even the faithful? Yet another reason for concealing the true nature of the Shroud image, right up into Byzantine times! Even the 12th c. painted Threnos scenes of the burial often include some type of modesty cloth, crossed hands notwithstanding!

    • Matthias
      January 20, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Dave, as you have outlined there are several good reasons why the body image may have been concealed

  29. Louis
    January 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Ian Wilson is unnecessarily becoming the object of ridicule in this thread and, in fact, much of what he said in his book(s) is being repeated in the blog as though it is the commenter’s own research. As commented earlier, If it were not for him, there would be no shroud websites,books, papers, conferences, congresses and…. this shroudstory blog.
    Rome is aware of the gaps and the controversy and there is a commission to check the provenance.

    • Charles Freeman
      January 21, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Louis.’Rome is aware of the gaps and the controversy and there is a commission to check the provenance.’
      This is fascinating. Please tell us more.
      I agree with you that one should not quote Wilson as if his work is your own, better to check out the original sources that he provides. When he started writing it was very difficult to track down these sources – I remember well ploughing my way through large volumes of 1890 translations of the Church Fathers for my own research – now he can be checked up on the web.

      • Louis
        January 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

        Charles, I got this tip from a Shroud website and it is not surprising. The Church is very careful and very slow when it comes to many matters and relics are secondary, they will not help tackle other, more urgent, issues that have arisen lately. I dislike having to sound like a broken record, however I must insist that prospects for better relations between the realm of Shroud studies and Turin are and will continue to be bleak. You can write down what I am saying. Just read what has been posted on Shroud websites and published in Shroud publications and you will understand why.

        I think Wilson did his best with the sources at his disposal and at least he was the first scholar to establish a link between history, in the form of traditions, legends, some ancient sources, recording Jesus having left his likeness on cloth and the Turin Shroud. At least some of his contentions could have been been verified with help from Rome and if this did not take concrete shape it has been largely due, again, to what has gone on in the realm of Shroud studies. I have to say it again: the clerics in Rome and Turin are not blindfolded.

  30. Chesterbelloc
    January 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    >>I for one have never been convinced that all the blood on the Shroud is authentic (although I think elements might be).<<

    Matthias, may I ask why not? Heller and Adler seem to have identified it as blood. Do you think McCrone may have been right when he said it was possible that an artist enhanced an authentic burial cloth(that was his position before he decided it was a flat out forgery).

    • Matthias
      January 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      I think there is the possibilty that some of the blood – or a mix of blood and something else – was applied

  31. daveb of wellington nz
    January 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Louis: “As commented earlier, If it were not for him (Wilson), there would be no shroud websites,books, papers, conferences, congresses and…. this shroudstory blog.” Agree completely! The impact of Wilson’s 1978 first book on awakening sindonic interest among Anglophiles can only be compared to Peter Rinaldi’s 1934 article in “The Sign” in the USA. But Publishers’ deadlines and the real world can sometimes compromise the academic rigour preferred by specialists, when the only real need is to communicate the essential message.

    • Louis
      January 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

      David: If I understood you correctly then, yes, the essential message is at the core. Books by academics always have to be given preference, however I have noted that, at least in the area of philosophy, there are academics who make things more confusing and the original sources, that is, the philosophers themselves, are more clear.

      Worse, sometimes academics like to distort the truth, guided by emotion and prejudice. In my view that has been the case with Walter Kauffman, of Princeton, when it came to Nietzsche. He also had to defend Freud by attacking Adler and Jung, ignoring the fact that while there may have been some contradictions in what Jung wrote many of the Freud files are still not available for scrutiny and these would help in clarifying the many doubts in the battle that is raging in the realm of studies in the field of psychoanalysis.

  32. Chesterbelloc
    January 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    >>Things are going to get crazy around here shortly and you’ll want to be around. And we want you around.<<

    Another C14 test in the works?

    • Dan
      January 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Not that crazy.

  33. Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I just want to let everyone knows that I made a little mistake in on of my previous comment. Effectively, I told you that we could found a reference for the transfer of some relics of the Passion directly from Jerusalem to Constantinople. I mentioned the wood of the cross, the sponge, the lance and the crown of thorns. This is where we can find my mistake! In fact, there is no reference anywhere concerning the transfer of the crown of thorns, even though there are references for the presence of this relic in Jerusalem and, later on, in Constantinople… This is important because it seems to be the same thing for the Shroud. And concerning the 3 other relics (the wood of the cross, the sponge and the lance), there really is a reference about their direct transfer from Jerusalem to Constantinople. I found it in a very interesting paper entitled “Sacred relics and Imperial Ceremonies at the Great Palace of Constantinople” that was written by Helger A. Klein in 2006. In this paper, we learn that this transfer happened in 629 and was reported in the manuscript “Chronicon Paschale”.

    Taking all this into account, I’ll leave you with this question: If there really were a direct transfer of some relics of the Passion from Jerusalem to Constantinople before the transfer of the Mandylion from Edessa to Constantinople, why wouldn’t it be the same for the crown of thorns and the Shroud? After all, based on ancient sources, these are the only 2 places that we know for sure (without having to use wild speculations and extrapolations) where those 2 relics were kept before the sack of Constantinople of 1204. In my mind, if we really want to base a hypothesis about the Shroud’s ancient history on solid ground, I think that a direct (but undocumented and maybe secret) transfer from Jerusalem to Constantinople is truly the most prudent path to follow.

    • January 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

      And concerning the 3 other relics (the wood of the cross, the sponge and the lance), there really is a reference about their direct transfer from Jerusalem to Constantinople. I found it in a very interesting paper entitled “Sacred relics and Imperial Ceremonies at the Great Palace of Constantinople” that was written by Helger A. Klein in 2006. In this paper, we learn that this transfer happened in 629 and was reported in the manuscript “Chronicon Paschale”.

      Yannick, amy I ask you what relics are you talking about? We know from Arculfus relation that the lance was still in Jerusalem in 670 AD.

      • Anonymous
        January 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

        I gave you the reference: I found it in a very interesting paper entitled “Sacred relics and Imperial Ceremonies at the Great Palace of Constantinople” that was written by Helger A. Klein in 2006. In this paper, we learn that this transfer happened in 629 and was reported in the manuscript “Chronicon Paschale”.

        In this paper, I think the author tell us that those relics were first transferred to Constantinople in 629 for their protection during the Persian thread on Jérusalem and then they were brought back to Jerusalem and, later on, they were transferred again to Constantinople. I will check out the paper to see if I can find dates for these other transfers… So, it is possible that the lance seen by Arculf was the same as the one transferred to Constantinople in 629. I need to make a check on the dates…

  34. Charles Freeman
    January 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

    ‘We know from Arculfus relation that the lance was still in Jerusalem in 670 AD.’
    I think ‘a’ lance is probably more accurate – a completely different one was unearthed during the First Crusade and there are number of the ‘originals’ around as is typical of relics of the Passion.

    • Anonymous
      January 21, 2014 at 10:15 am

      This is another true possibility… It’s surely not impossible that there were at least 2 Holy lances in the Middle East during the 7th century…

    • January 21, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Charles, this is the same lance as in Constantinople. Arculfus reports:

      Arculf also saw that spear of the soldier with which he smote through the side of the Lord as He hung on the Cross. The spear is fixed in a wooden cross in the portico of the Basilica of Constantine, its shaft being broken into two parts: and this also the whole city of Jerusalem resorts to, kisses, and venerates.

      http://faculty.colostate-pueblo.edu/beatrice.spade/seminar97/arculf/arculfus.htm

      The shaft of the Constantinople lance (later transferred to Vatican) had also broken shaft -a part of which was sold to Louis IX,

      As to the lances, there were 6 or 7:

      1. The Holy Lance from Jerusalme, later transferred to Constantinople, and the shaft to Paris, finally transferred in 1492 to Rome.
      2. The Holy Lance from Vienna -the alleged St. Mauritius lance (the other legend). It was only in medieval times the two lances (longinus and St. Mauritius) became combined into one.
      3. The Holy Lance from Kraków. A copy of Vienna Lance
      4. The English Wikipedia claims that another copy was sent to Hungary around the year 1000.
      5. The Holy Lance of Antioch. Most probably a fake, introduced to boost morale of the Crusaders. Some claims that it was transferred to Byzantium
      6.Holy Lance of Echmiadzin. Definetly not authentic. Polsih Wikipedia claims it is the same as the Holy Lance of antioch, but this is unsourced and highly doubtful.
      7.The Holy Lance of İzmir (Smyrna). The Polsih Wikipedia claims (again without sources) it to be a copy of Echmiadzin Lance. Perhaps the Holy Lance of Antioch?

      Charles , can you stop dishonestly spreading nonsense, please?

      • Charles Freeman
        January 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

        O.K. I have every right to object to being called ‘dishonest’.

        It seems that you use the term of anyone who has happened to have studied the issues more deeply than you have and has access to much more relevant material in the search for understanding whether the Shroud is older than 1350 and, if so, what its history may have been before then.

        With the refusal of so many so-called ‘ Shroud researchers’ to examine any possibilities outside the Wilson hypothesis it is more and more likely that the ‘mystery ‘of the Shroud will actually be solved by an outsider working in an associated field, say medieval linens or the Mediterranean relic trade. There is very little evidence that any ‘researcher’ here (and I include myself) has the needed skills to do the archive work which is why I have suggested someone finances a PhD student with the right languages to do it.

      • Anonymous
        January 21, 2014 at 11:39 am

        And even then M. Freeman, good luck to find real solid pieces of evidence to build a real history of the Shroud from the empty tomb all the way to Lirey, without an interruption! I seriously believe that the Shroud had been kept hidden for centuries before he came to be known publicly. If I’m right, no way someone can find any reference for this cloth during maybe the first 4 or 5 centuries after the Resurrection of Christ. And even after this time, we got a lot of references to a Shroud of Christ (a few in Palestine and a lot in Constantinople), but each one of these (except the testimony of de Clari) doesn’t mention any image on it… In such a context, it’s very hard to tell if all those early references are talking about the Shroud of Turin or another shroud (or other shrouds).

  35. Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I think the hypothesis of M. Freeman is the most probable… I have made a quick check in Klein’s paper and he only talk about many transfers back and forth between Jerusalem and Constantinople concerning the wood of the cross. At first, I thought he was speaking of the 3 relics I mentioned in my previous comment… So, I think the most rational explanation concerning Arculf testimony is to believe there were more than one Holy lance in the Middle East during the 7th century… Nevertheless, it is not impossible that there could have been some transfers back and forth between Constantinople and Jerusalem for the lance also, while those would not have been recorded on paper. But since we don’t know this for sure, I prefer M. Freeman’s hypothesis in the case of the Holy lance.

    By the way, if you want to read Klein’s paper, here it is: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/faculty/Klein/Sacred-Relics-and-Imperial-Ceremonies.pdf

    Great paper!

    • January 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Thanks, Yannick.

  36. Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 at 10:27 am

    In the end, what really matters is this : It is a PROVEN FACT that there were transfers of Holy relics related to the Passion directly from Jerusalem to Constantinople without a stay in Edessa before the transfer of the Mandylion in 944 and the letter of Constantine of 958. So, why not thinking this could also have been the case for the Shroud, but in a more quiet way that would not have been recorded? By the way, the same possibility is also there concerning the crown of thorns…

    • Anonymous
      January 21, 2014 at 10:55 am

      The possibility I raised above is not at all in contradiction with the idea that Arculf’s shroud could have been the real shroud of Turin and that it could have been transferred after 670 directly from Jerusalem to Constantinople during an unrecorded and quiet transfer… If this would be the case, then we could think that the sindon mentioned in Constantine’s letter could be the very same cloth and that the Mandylion would have nothing to do with it. Of course, this is impossible to prove such a thing, but I think this is an interesting hypothesis.

      • January 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        Of course, this is impossible to prove such a thing, but I think this is an interesting hypothesis.

        Yes, interesting hypothesis, that I considered (see my previous post https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/14/arculfus-shroud-a-guest-posting-by-o-k/ -the only difference is that I related Savio’s view, who, apparently unaware of the 958 letter, considered the transfer of the Shroud around 1050). I am glad, that I helped you in coming to the similar conclusions.

        The only problem is that the arguments for the Shroud of Turin being the Mandylion transferred from Edessa in 944, are far too powerful. And neither you nor Charles gave any serious answer why in the documents concerning that transfer there are clear allusions to the blood, sweat, and side-wound and the possibility that the image may be unnoticed in certain circumstances.

        Those arguments were of course first suggested by Wilson, Dubarle and others, not by me.

        So we have at least 4 common traits with the Shroud:

        1. Allusions to the blood on the image.
        2. Allusions to sweat-like, colorless image
        3. That image may be unnoticed by some observers in certain circumstances
        4. The allusions to the side wound.

        How many more coincidences are needed to prove that the Shroud and the 944 Mandylion are one and the same object?

      • Anonymous
        January 21, 2014 at 4:50 pm

        First of all OK, I must say that the hypothesis I have describe in my recent posts is something I have in mind for some years now! This doesn’t come from your own comments…

        And concerning your fixed idea that the Mandylion was the Shroud, I don’t understand why you gave so much credit to some posterior development of the legend, as they were due to a progressive discovery of the real nature of the Mandylion (burial nature), while the wild religious context of that era in the Middle East, along with some textual pieces of evidence we found in all these different versions of the legend, make it pretty evident (at least to me and to many scholars) that most if not all of those changes are most probably due to an evolution of the theological views of the Orthodox Church during those centuries, along with his constant desire to crush down all the heretical ideas and groups that were present in the Middle East and the desire also to teach the “right” doctrine to the people. In that regard, the Mandylion was most certainly one of the best “tool” the Church invented and developed to achieve his purpose.

        Question: Maybe I mist it, but I would like you to explain to me how in the world you can think the shroud that Arculf saw could have been the same thing as the Mandylion, while we know that, in 670 A.D., the Mandylion was still kept in Edessa and not in Jerusalem? I don’t understand how you can think the Shroud of Arculf could have been the same thing as the Mandylion…

  37. January 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    First of all OK, I must say that the hypothesis I have describe in my recent posts is something I have in mind for some years now! This doesn’t come from your own comments…

    Fine, I have no problem with that. Just wanted to express that you don’t have to explain me those ideas…

    And concerning your fixed idea that the Mandylion was the Shroud, I don’t understand why you gave so much credit to some posterior development of the legend, […], while the wild religious context of that era in the Middle East, […], make it pretty evident […] that most if not all of those changes are most probably due to an evolution of the theological views of the Orthodox Church during those centuries,[…]In that regard, the Mandylion was most certainly one of the best “tool” the Church invented and developed to achieve his purpose.

    Yannick, it really doesn’t concern me right now. The fact is the the Mandylion was used as a tool in theological disputes, but this: 1) doesn’t make it a fake 2) is really irrelevant at this moment.

    What is important are the 4 common traits of 944 Mandylion and the Shroud. Or do you prefer to list them A,B,C,D?

    A. Allusions to the blood on the image.
    B. Allusions to sweat-like, colorless image
    C. That image may be unnoticed by some observers in certain circumstances
    D. The allusions to the side wound.

    Neither you, nor Charles, even attempted seriously to explain all those coincidences, assuming the Shroud is not the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944. You run away from those features. I am not interested in ‘direct routes’ from Jerusalem to Lirey, nor theological debates with heretical movements in Byzantine Empire, I am only interested in an answer to A,B,C,D.

    Question: Maybe I mist it, but I would like you to explain to me how in the world you can think the shroud that Arculf saw could have been the same thing as the Mandylion, while we know that, in 670 A.D., the Mandylion was still kept in Edessa and not in Jerusalem? I don’t understand how you can think the Shroud of Arculf could have been the same thing as the Mandylion…

    There are many possible scenarios. Some assume that the Shroud was transferred to Jerusalem and later to Constantinople in the 7th century, then, during Iconoclast period in the 8th it was transferred once again to Edessa, where it became (a new-old version of) the Mandylion. In theory, it is possible, though improbable. The fact is that the history of the relics may be much more complicated, than everyone thought. When my new post about Titulus Crucis appears on the scene, you will understand.

    Well the history of the relics may be so complicated as the history of The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies painted by Van Klomp. If you watched “Allo, Allo”, you know what I am talking about…

    • Anonymous
      January 22, 2014 at 11:45 am

      O.K., from your comment above, it is obvious that, unlike myself and the vast majority of scholars, you believe that the various changes that occurred to the Abgar legend over the centuries were due to a better understanding of the real burial nature of the Mandylion that occurred progressively and very slowly (at least, it would seem so)…

      Taking this into account, I got a good question for you: If this idea first put forward by Wilson would be true, then can you explain to me how in the world we don’t find one single artistic depiction (some we have now where probably made by artists of the 12th century who were eye-witnesses of the relic in Constantinople) that shows any signs of the supposed burial nature of the cloth and why in the world we don’t find one single manuscript of the Abgar legend that located the miraculous imprint after the crowning of thorns (while this is the most evident injuries we see in the face region of the Shroud) and also, why in the world we don’t find one single manuscript that DIRECTLY (without having to use wild assumptions) associate the Mandylion with a burial cloth?

      If the real burial nature of the cloth would have been progressively discovered over the centuries, don’t you think it’s a bit odd that no one would ever have tell the truth about it, except for some vague references that you think are evident clues? Seriously, I think someone must have an incredible imagination to believe that there would not have been one single ancient writer or artist that would have dared to tell the whole truth about the Mandylion!

  38. Matthias
    January 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    OK have you read Thomas De wesselows’s (agnostic / atheist Art historian) book?
    He points the finger somewhat at critics of WiIson’s Mandylion theory, implying that there is a lot of ill informed / ill substantiated criticism without addressing some of the fundamental points of his argument.

    • January 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      No, it has not been edited in Polish yet. Only an interview in some magazine.

      I agree that most of the criticism comes from either ignorance, or bias. Nihil novi sub sole.

  39. January 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Yannick:

    Taking this into account, I got a good question for you: If this idea first put forward by Wilson would be true, then can you explain to me how in the world we don’t find one single artistic depiction (some we have now where probably made by artists of the 12th century who were eye-witnesses of the relic in Constantinople) that shows any signs of the supposed burial nature of the cloth and why in the world we don’t find one single manuscript of the Abgar legend that located the miraculous imprint after the crowning of thorns (while this is the most evident injuries we see in the face region of the Shroud) and also, why in the world we don’t find one single manuscript that DIRECTLY (without having to use wild assumptions) associate the Mandylion with a burial cloth?

    May I answer this with another question: do you think that the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944 and the original Mandylion that cured King Abgar are one and the same object? ;-)

    • Anonymous
      January 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

      I have no indication that what was transferred to Constantinople in 944 was not the official relic known as the Image of Edessa, which was associated with the Abgar legend. In fact, I have read that the emperor of Constantinople sent to Edessa men he trusted to make sure that what he was about to get was the real thing… Why such a question in link with mine?

      • January 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm

        I have no indication that what was transferred to Constantinople in 944 was not the official relic known as the Image of Edessa, which was associated with the Abgar legend. In fact, I have read that the emperor of Constantinople sent to Edessa men he trusted to make sure that what he was about to get was the real thing…

        Yes, he sent trusted men, who knew what the Image of Edessa was (and they knew it was not an ordinary icon). And he was assured, that the Mandylion transferred to Edessa was apparently the same cloth as the on that was discovered inside the city gate during th Persian siege in 544, and so on?

        But my question is: can we be sure that this is one and the same cloth that miraculously cured King Abgar, according to the legend?

        Why such a question in link with mine?

        Because yours is really good. And there is perhaps much more in the legend than most people thought…

      • Anonymous
        January 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm

        You ask: “can we be sure that this is one and the same cloth that miraculously cured King Abgar, according to the legend? ”

        I think the simple fact that the letters associated with the legend are obviously false is a very good piece of evidence to think that the Mandylion that was transferred from Edessa to Constantinople was most probably false too and could have even been forged some time (maybe centuries) after the letters. Seriously, I don’t think that there ever have been a miraculous healing (from Jesus or anyone else) of the historical king Abgar V… I don’t have the same opinion about the possibility that there could really been a lot of real historical things that we can extract from this legend…

        By the way, I still wait to receive a clear answer from you concerning my good question!

  40. January 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    By the way, I still wait to receive a clear answer from you concerning my good question!

    There will be no clear answers, only allusions. Sorry Yannick, if you do not understand this by yourself, my explanations would be in vain. Either you get the point, or not.

    I think the simple fact that the letters associated with the legend are obviously false is a very good piece of evidence to think that the Mandylion that was transferred from Edessa to Constantinople was most probably false too and could have even been forged some time (maybe centuries) after the letters

    We established so far, that the Mandylion transferred in 944 was almost for sure the Shroud (what else it could be). The letters, as I pointed, are irrelevant here.

    Seriously, I don’t think that there ever have been a miraculous healing (from Jesus or anyone else) of the historical king Abgar V…

    Or maybe there have been, you cannot deny it a priori. Let’s assume it is true, there are no serious reasons that we shouldn’t.

    I don’t have the same opinion about the possibility that there could really been a lot of real historical things that we can extract from this legend…

    Oh, yes.

    Try to think this way: If the Mandylion transferred in 944 to Constantiniople was the Shroud itself, does it really mean that it was necessarily the same cloth that healed King Abgar (assuming that the healing really took place)?

    • Anonymous
      January 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      O.K., I don’t see where you are going with this question… Can you please answer clearly the question I asked you here: https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/18/wilson-shroudies-vs-academia-another-guest-posting-by-o-k/#comment-74094

      Instead of answering me with another question, I would prefer that you simply tell me what you really think about the complete absence in ancient written sources as well as in ancient artistic depictions of the Mandylion of a clear and evident link between this relic and the various versions of the Abgar legend) and the Shroud of Christ (or at least the crowning with thorns, the crucifixion or the entombment of Christ)…

      • January 26, 2014 at 7:32 am

        Maybe this way:

        1. What are the traits of the Mandylion described in pre-944 sources?
        2. What cloth satisfies those characteristics?

        I don’t want to give you a ready answer, I wish you to come to the conclusion by yourself.

      • Anonymous
        January 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

        1. If we take the Acts of Thaddeus and the writings of John Damascene, we know that the Image of Edessa had nothing to do with a burial cloth. If we take the Doctrine of Addai, we even know that this image was painted by an artist.
        2. A painter’s canvas. Note that some ancient sources seem to refers to the Mandylion as being on a wood panel instead of a linen cloth, which is also another material support that was often used in ancient time to make paintings…

  41. January 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    2. A painter’s canvas. Note that some ancient sources seem to refers to the Mandylion as being on a wood panel instead of a linen cloth,

    Which, If may i ask?

    1. If we take the Acts of Thaddeus and the writings of John Damascene, we know that the Image of Edessa had nothing to do with a burial cloth. If we take the Doctrine of Addai, we even know that this image was painted by an artist.

    Good, but there are more traits. Remember, it was called acheiropoieta, not made with human hands.

    Or maybe I ask in this way, what are the differences between the common vision of Mandylion and the Shroud…

    And then again, what object satisfy all those descriptions?

    • Anonymous
      January 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      For the first question, I would have to make a new search but I’m sure that some ancient sources (a minority I guess) talk about the image being on a wood panel.

      For the “not made by human hands” tag, why do you take this for granted as if it was a proving thing? If the orthodox Church wanted to make believe the relic was truly sacred, making believe the image on it was “not made by human hands” was the best thing to do.

      And for your question: “what are the differences between the common vision of Mandylion and the Shroud?”

      I answer: the most obvious is the fact that the Mandylion was not considered as a burial cloth and the image on it was reported to show an image of the living face of Christ with no signs of injuries or bloodstains.

      And for your last question, I’m not sure to follow you… What object satisfy what descriptions? Do you mean the ones we found in most ancient texts talking about the Abgar legend? If that’s what you mean, I would answer: Surely not the Shroud of Turin, since the cloth described in most ancient manuscripts related to the Mandylion talks about a small towel showing the face of the living face of Christ with no signs of injuries or bloodstains and many of them (i.e. mostly lists of relics from Constantinople) talks about two different relics of Christ: the Mandylion and his burial shroud. Also, note that none of those references (including the 958 letter of Constantine) associated DIRECTLY the Mandylion with a relic of the Passion of Christ (which greatly support the conclusion that the Mandylion had nothing to do with a burial cloth).

      • January 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm

        For the “not made by human hands” tag, why do you take this for granted as if it was a proving thing? If the orthodox Church wanted to make believe the relic was truly sacred, making believe the image on it was “not made by human hands” was the best thing to do.

        I am not interested in this, at this moment. Let’s assume it was indeed miraculous.

        I answer: the most obvious is the fact that the Mandylion was not considered as a burial cloth and the image on it was reported to show an image of the living face of Christ with no signs of injuries or bloodstains.

        Wonderful!

        What object satisfy what descriptions? Do you mean the ones we found in most ancient texts talking about the Abgar legend? If that’s what you mean, I would answer: Surely not the Shroud of Turin, since the cloth described in most ancient manuscripts related to the Mandylion talks about a small towel showing the face of the living face of Christ with no signs of injuries or bloodstains

        Great! We are almost home.

        Once again I ask: what object satisfy all those descriptions?

        There is one, I can assure you.

      • Anonymous
        January 26, 2014 at 8:52 pm

        Do you talk about the Veronica vail or something similar? I truly don’t understand where you are going with all this.

  42. January 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Very, very close…

    • Anonymous
      January 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Stop playing games and please tell me what you really have in mind… If Damascene, the author of the Doctrine of Addai and the author of the Acts of Thaddeus (among a bunch of others) are correct, then you should stop believing that the Mandylion had something to do with the Shroud of Turin…

    • Anonymous
      January 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

      By the way, the legend of Veronica was the occidental version of the Abgar legend. No way this cloth known as the Veronica vail could be authentic and dated from the time of Christ. Such a relic was probably created during the crusades when the Western crusaders came back from the Middle East with the Mandylion in mind…

      • January 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

        Can’t playing games, and you want to teach everyone what Mandylion was and what wasn’t? Poor your insight in that matter is, Yannick. Because Mandylion is one great riddle, and one must find an answer to that…

        By the way, the legend of Veronica was the occidental version of the Abgar legend. No way this cloth known as the Veronica vail could be authentic and dated from the time of Christ. Such a relic was probably created during the crusades when the Western crusaders came back from the Middle East with the Mandylion in mind…

        Wisdom of yours, of course. But the matter is more complicated, than your simple minded FACTS. For one should remember there were more miraculous images in the East, at least two come to mind, the Image of Edessa, and the Image of Camulia.

        https://shroudstory.com/2013/10/25/the-image-of-camuliana/

        More direct clues hardly possible, I think.

      • Anonymous
        January 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

        You said: “Can’t playing games, and you want to teach everyone what Mandylion was and what wasn’t? Poor your insight in that matter is, Yannick. Because Mandylion is one great riddle, and one must find an answer to that…”

        My answer: “Why should this be a “riddle”? Don’t you think there are enough converging evidence from both written and artistic sources to conclude this was most probably a small cloth showing only the face of the living Christ, without any signs of injuries or bloodstains? I think that if someone really see any “riddle” in all the literature and artistic depictions related to the Mandylion, it’s simply because this person WANT DESPERATELY to see such a thing, while putting deliberately aside the vast majority of the evidences we got.”

        You also said: “Wisdom of yours, of course. But the matter is more complicated, than your simple minded FACTS. For one should remember there were more miraculous images in the East, at least two come to mind, the Image of Edessa, and the Image of Camulia.
        https://shroudstory.com/2013/10/25/the-image-of-camuliana/
        More direct clues hardly possible, I think.”

        My answer: “It’s true that there were some more “miraculous” images of Christ in the East and the fact that they all appeared around the same era should ring a bell to you in the sense that such an appearance of miraculous imprints really seem to suggest forgeries (at least, it should, if you’re not biased in favor of Wilson’s ideas).”

      • Anonymous
        January 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        I should have wrote “such a SUDDEN appearance of miraculous imprints really seem to suggest forgeries.”

  43. January 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Don’t you think there are enough converging evidence from both written and artistic sources to conclude this was most probably a small cloth showing only the face of the living Christ, without any signs of injuries or bloodstains?

    Right. And this cloth is currently known as…?

    How long should I repeat that there exist such a cloth on this world? It’s called…

    • Anonymous
      January 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Sorry O.K. but the real Mandylion associated with the Abgar legend was most probably destroyed in the Sainte Chapelle of Paris during the French revolution (after it had been taken there by St Louis King of France in the middle of the 13th Century)… This is not a 100% sure fact but this is without a doubt that most probable hypothesis regarding the real Mandylion…

      All the other miraculous cloths that exist (such as the Veronica vail or the Mannopello vail) have nothing to do with the real Mandylion.

      • January 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        The answer you have in the last sentence.

        All the other miraculous cloths that exist (such as the Veronica vail or the Mannopello vail) have nothing to do with the real Mandylion.

        Really?

        Check the number of common traits, and then you see…

      • Anonymous
        January 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

        And what if all those “miraculous images” were simply painted forgery made by some local churches, which were based on a common artistic source that came directly from the image of the face we see on the Shroud?

      • Anonymous
        January 28, 2014 at 10:54 am

        Additonal note : In my mind, this « common artistic source » was probably the Pantocrator icon. We know that such an icon already existed around the year 500 A.D. in Revenna Italy, which is prior to all the appearance of those « miraculous images » supposedly « not made by human hands »…

  44. January 28, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Yannick, do we discuss the matters seriously, or you just want to cry out to the world, that you are the wisest and you know everything what is right and what is wrong? Because, so far, it seems you haven’t understood anything, even despite I gave you all the clues straight on a plate. But you, instead of at least thinking through, disregarded them, knowing better before, of course. How then can I explain anything to you, as you don’t want to listen and consider anything outside your views?

    • Anonymous
      January 28, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Look, you got a good imagination. I prefer to follow good sense and sorry but the vast majority of literary as well as artistic evidences point to the fact that Wilson’s hypothesis is dead wrong and that all those images supposedly “not made by human hands” were false relics.

      Look, it’s evident that all those “miraculous images” can’t all be authentic. And why believing that even one of those can be? Where’s the solid link you got from ancient sources to take one of those images back to the empty tomb in Jerusalem? The Abgar legend? Come on. Be serious please.

      • January 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

        I prefer to follow good sense

        Or rather nonsense. Good imagination is absolutely necessary here, while I regrettably see a lack of it on the part of yours.

        Look, it’s evident that all those “miraculous images” can’t all be authentic. And why believing that even one of those can be?

        Just wanted to remind you there are currently 1-2 “miraculous images” of Jesus in the world. And if they are now, than they were certainly hundreds years ago. The question is where? And to answer it, one should treat the matter and those sources seriously, instead of gibberish talk that “Wilson’s hypothesis is dead wrong and that all those images supposedly “not made by human hands” were false relics.”

        Just once again I ask, what cloth could be the original Mandylion? What corresponds to the descriptions?

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: