Saint Veronica

From Academic Kids


Missing image
Abgar of Edessa in a 10th-century icon, displaying the miraculous image of Edessa, a veronica

According to the Acta Sanctorum published by the Bollandists (under February 4), Saint Veronica or Berenice was a pious woman of Jerusalem who, moved with pity as Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, gave him her kerchief that he might wipe the drops of sweat from his forehead. The Lord accepted the offering and after using it handed it back to her, creating the image of His face miraculously impressed upon it. That is the central essence of this Christian myth.

The scrupulously orthodox Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1908 had this to say about the growth of the legend (translations in italics added):

"The belief in the existence of authentic images of Christ is connected with the old legend of Abgar of Edessa and the apocryphal writing known as the Mors Pilati (Death of Pilate). To distinguish at Rome the oldest and best known of these images it was called vera icon (true image), which ordinary language soon made veronica. It is thus designated in several medieval texts mentioned by the Bollandists (e.g. an old Missal of Augsburg has a Mass De S. Veronica seu Vultus Domini) (of the holy Veronica/Saint Veronica, or the Face of the Lord), and Matthew of Westminster speaks of the imprint of the image of the Savior which is called Veronica: Effigies Domenici vultus quae Veronica nuncupatur (effigy of the face of the Lord which is called a Veronica). By degrees, popular imagination mistook this word for the name of a person and attached thereto several legends which vary according to the country."
Missing image
Albrecht Dürer's Veronica (as he called it in his diary), an engraving of 1513: its heraldic presentation with matched angelic supporters emphasizes the startling realism of the image.

Veronica legends

According to various forms of the legend, Veronica is associated with the niece of Herod the Great, with the woman whom Christ healed of an issue of blood (Mark v. 25 sq; Matt. ix. 20 sq.), with a woman who afterwards, along with fifty others, young men and maidens, suffered martyrdom at Antioch, and with the beloved of one Amator, who is described as "famulus S. Virginis Mariae et Josephi, et Domini bajulus ac nutricius", who afterwards became an ascetic and died at Roquemadore (Rupes Amatoris) near Bordeaux.

Current tradition among many pious Catholics has it that Veronica was able to heal Tiberius of a grievous sickness with her napkin, and that the emperor, thus convinced of the divinity of Christ, forthwith sent Pilate into exile. This napkin (sudarium) was in the time of Pope John VII (705) in the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome, but is now in St. Peter's, though possession of it is indeed claimed also by Milan and Jaén, Spain. The Bollandist form of the story cannot be traced further back than to about the second quarter of the 15th century; but in a manuscript of the 8th century, now in the Vatican, Veronica is said to have painted, or caused to be painted, the portrait of Christ after she had been healed by him.

In the 13th Century we find the miraculous picture itself spoken of as "figura Domini quae Veronica dicitur", ("face of the Lord which is called a Veronica") and this has suggested to archaeologists the question of whether the woman Veronica may not have arisen by confusion out of a totally distinct legend, as to a vera icon, such as that which, according to Greek tradition, Jesus sent with an autograph letter to Abgarus of Edessa.

To Veronica likewise are traced other relics, of the Virgin Mary, that have been venerated in several churches of the West.

St. Veronica is commemorated on Shrove Tuesday, but her festival is not of obligation.

The popular modern name for this relic, which is venerated at the Sudarium of Oviedo among other shrines, is "Veronica's Veil". The moment was incorporated into the Stations of the Cross as the sequence was stabilized in the late 16th century. Mel Gibson's anti-Modernist film The Passion of the Christ (2004) included an episode of Veronica wiping Jesus's face.

External links

nl:Heilige Veronica pl:Święta Weronika sv:Veronica


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools