Icon With a Capital I

Elizabeth Scalia, writing for the Catholic Channel of Patheos, brings us An excerpt from John Thavis’ new book, The Vatican Prophesies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age:

imageAs one might expect, Pope Benedict, who was often called “the pope of reason,” was much more circumspect on the [Shroud, than Pope John Paul II.] He, too, was interested in the Shroud and had stood before it as a cardinal. As pope he ordered the extraordinary exhibition of the Shroud in 2010. Benedict himself flew to Turin to venerate the cloth and gave a speech in which he described the Shroud as an “icon,” a term that disappointed some of its devotees. In the code language of the Shroud, “icon” denotes just a holy image, while “relic” is the genuine object. But this was an icon with a capital “I” — literally, in the official text of the papal speech — which signaled some support for authenticity. Benedict added that the Shroud was “a winding-sheet that was wrapped round the body of a man who was crucified, corresponding in every way to what the Gospels tell us of Jesus.” That appeared to reject out of hand the theory that it was a medieval artistic creation. The pope then went o to speak of the Shroud in dramatic and poetic language that moved many of his listeners: “The Shroud is an Icon written in blood; the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced The Image impressed upon the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Every trace of blood speaks of love and of life. Especially that huge stain near his rib, made by the blood and water that flowed copious from the great wound inflicted by the tip of a Roman spear. That blood and that water speak of life. It is like a spring that murmurs in the silence, and we can hear it.”

4 thoughts on “Icon With a Capital I”

  1. Here a strange idea:

    Are the meleanoidins (coming from the
    Maillard products) or the melanin true
    solving ideas about the Chemistry of
    an ancient Mistery?


    – “An improved methodology for the
    characterization and identification of
    sepia in works of art by normal Raman
    and SERS, complemented by FTIR,
    Py-GC/MS, and XRF.”
    María L. Roldán, Silvia A. Centeno and Adriana Rizzo
    Article first published online: 9 DEC 2014


    – “Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and
    FTIR characterization of the sepia melanin pigment
    used in works of art”
    Centeno, SA (Centeno, Silvia A.); Shamir, J (Shamir, Jacob)
    “Journal of Molecular Structure”
    Volume: 873, Issue: 1-3, pages: 149-159

    – “Cephalopod Ink: Production, Chemistry, Functions
    and Applications”
    Charles D. Derby

    Mar Drugs. 2014 May; 12(5): 2700–2730.
    Published online 2014 May 12.
    — — —
    I think that non-destructive analysis, like
    SERS, can solve this riddle…
    So to understand what can happens
    with SERS try to write something (…of serious!)
    or call the well known Metropolitan Museum of New York,
    section of scientific research …

    1. B.T.W.:
      I have found an example of two SERS spectra (for melanin):

      A) SERS spectrum of the melanin from A. niger.
      B) SERS spectrum of the melanin from S. chartarum.

      Mentioned in an Article:
      The nature of black stains in Lascaux Cave, France,
      as revealed by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
      Pedro M Martin-Sanchez · Santiago Sanchez-Cortes · Eduardo Lopez-Tobar · Valme Jurado · Fabiola Bastian · Claude Alabouvette · Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez
      Journal of Raman Spectroscopy 03/2012; 43(3):464-467.

      — — —
      There are two types of melanin; eumelanin and
      pheomelanin. Eumelanin is largely responsible
      for brown and black coloration, while red hair
      contains mainly pheomelanin.

      Here a possible connection (about the Holy
      Face of Manoppello) in an old message
      of mine (September 8, 2014 at 9:38 am):
      >…Jaworski indicated the presence of melanin
      (= “Properties of byssal threads, the chemical
      nature of their colors and the Veil of Manoppello”.
      IWSAI 2010), but (if I am right) he didn’t indicate
      the spectral answer of melanin because the
      scientific tools used (in that study) were HPLC and PLM.
      … … …

      … and the argument to treat was the following:
      “The Veil of Manoppello to Visit the
      Philippines This Month”…
      But … is it really possible to think that
      Shroud and Holy Face of Manoppello
      have the same genesis (=melanin)???

    2. Errata corrige (about the first message
      = October 16, 2015 at 10:07 am):

      Instead of


  2. I apologize for going a bit off topic …
    However I hope that you understand
    what we can achieve with the interesting
    SERS techniques…

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