Holy Face Devotion

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Sacri Vultus - Holy Face Relic

The Sacri Vultus - Holy Face Relic is one of a number of images that were created and actually touched to Veronica's veil in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

 

Since the miracle in 1849 in the Vatican, when Veronica's veil became very vivid and glowed in front of all present while on display, it became a custom in the Vatican to display Veronica's veil every year afterward on Passion Sunday for veneration to the public. Each year, effigies/drawings were created of Veronica's veil (usually about 15" x 12"), then touched to the original veil, to a relic of the true cross, and to the spear that pierced Christ's side. From there, a text description was placed at the bottom (or on the back) of the relic, and the Pope imprinted a wax seal on each. This practice was continued for about 50 years.

This particular relic in common with the others has the words, "VERA EFFIGIES SACRI VULTUS DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI, QUAE ROMAE IN SACROSANCTA BASILICA S.PETRI IN VATICANO RELIGIOSISSIME ASSERVATUR ET COLITUR" which translates to, "True image of the face of Our Lord Jesus Christ venerated in Rome in the Most Holy Basilica of St. Peter". The stamp from the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face in Tours, France reads, "ORATOIRE DE LA SAINTE FACE - TOURS".

Below the relic is a document which reads as follows:

SACROSANCTAE BASILICAE
PRINCIPIS APOSTOLORUM DE URBE
CANONICUS
Universis praesentes litteras inspecturis fidem facio, ac testor me Imaginem Vultus DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI ad instar Sanctissimi Sudarii Veronicoe in tela ......albi coloris impressam, altitudinis hunc......latitudinis hunc.....reverenter applicasse eidem Sudario. nec non Ligno vivificae Crucis et Lanceae Domini cuspidi, quae n praedicta nostra Basilica religiosissime, ac pluribus Summorum Pontificum Diplomatibus, maximaque populorum veneratione celebrantur. In quorum fidem praedictam Imaginem et has praesentes litteras meo sigillo obsignavi et subscripsi. Datum ex aedibus meis Die. (handwritten date here)

Anno Domini MDCCCLXXXIV
XIV Indictione Pontificatus SS mi D. N. Leonis XIII
Pont. Max. anno VII.

An approximate translation of this text to English is as follows:

TRUE COPY OF THE SACRED FACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
HERE IN ROME AS IN ST PETER'S RENOWNED AND VENERATED BASILICA IN ROME A STATEMENT FROM THE FIRST HOLY BASILICA OF THE CHIEF APOSTLE. BY THIS LETTER I HAVE DECLARED AS A WITNESS AND I TESTIFY THAT THIS IMAGE
OF THE FACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TO BE VERY SIMILAR TO THAT ON THE TOWEL OF VERONICA, EXPRESSED IN WHITE COLOUR, OF THE SAME HEIGHT AND BREADTH, AND (it has been) REVERENTLY APPLIED TO THE SAME TOWEL; AND INDEED TO THE WOOD OF THE CROSS AND THE POINT OF THE SPEAR OF THE LORD, WHICH IN IS OUR AFORESAID BASILICA (kept with) MOST REVERENT PIETY, AND (preserved) BY MANY OF THE HOLY SEE'S DOCUMENTS, AND CELEBRATED WITH GREAT VENERATION BY SO MANY PEOPLE. IN THE BELIEF OF THIS AFORESAID IMAGE I HAVE SIGNED THIS LETTER WITH THE
SEAL.
THE YEAR OF 1884 in the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII

This relic is displayed each year at the Holy Face Mass organised by the Holy Face Devotion UK.

 

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