Shroud of Turin Blog


A Guest Post by O.K.

It is well known that after the transfer to Constantinople in 944, all Byzantine descriptions of Mandylion and the Shroud (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Gregory Referendarius, Nicholas Mesarites) are deliberately vague. The true nature of the Mandylion/Shroud had to remain secret, for the reasons I will discuss next time. We can only guess properties of the Mandylion/Shroud from several allusions. Several of those allusions (pointing to the identity between Shroud and Mandylion and great confusion of the academic community) were discussed in my old posting on Dan’s blog. Today I want to present another allusion, which (what is very strange to me) was ommited by all historians’ elaborations regarding the Mandylion known to me.

In Mark Guscin’s english translation of the 944 sermon of Gregory Referendarius, in chapter 13 we can find a very interesting remark, no historian, as far as I know, paid a proper attention to:

Who is like you, God, doing everything in wisdom from times of old? […] You wiped clean the sweat of the nature you had taken on and what was wiped clean was transformed into an image of your unchanging form, just like Adam’s form was drawn out of the ground, like the eyes of nature in the folds of the kneaded earth. (my emphasis).

Here we have a comparison between creation of Adam, the First Man (and naked, just like the Man of the Shroud -cf. Genesis, chapter 2) and creation of the form of Jesus on the Mandylion. What is the significance of that? I think it is great.

The main "argument" (or should I say pseudo-argument because it has been undermined long ago) is the conviction that the Mandylion contained nothing else, but only image of the face of Jesus. There are of course documents telling otherwise (like Codex Vossianus Latinus Q69), ignored usually by narrow-minded majority of academic scholars, but with regards to the Adam reference in Gregory Referendarius other question arises:

If Mandylion contained only the face, do those wise guys think that Adam’s form drawn out of the ground consisted only of the face?

IMHO, this is ridiculous. The reference to Adam makes sense only if it is an allusion to the fact, that the Mandylion contained the image of the whole body.

Just like the (again deliberately ambiguous!) reference to the side wound (chapter 22 of the Gregory Referendarius’ sermon).

So, based on the contemporary accounts (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Symeon Magister, Gregory Referendarius, see Daniel Scavone’s paper Acheiropoietos: Jesus Images in Constantinople: the Documentary Evidence ) we can make a list of several allusions (except for #2 not clearly stated facts, which, I should stress once again, is deliberate) to the properties of the Mandylion:

1. It contained bloodstains

2. The image on the Mandylion was very faint, "sweat-like".

3. The reference to the Adam makes sense only if it was an allusion to the fact that the Mandylion contained the whole body (which was mentioned in later, Latin versions of the Abgar story, like Codex Vossianus Latinus Q69)

4. The allusion to the side wound -suggest presence of the whole body image and the side wound.

There is only one known object in the world that fits those "allusions" -the Shroud of Turin.