VOLTO SANTO

"The Resurrection Veil of Jesus Christ "

This extremely delicate transparent cloth woven from byssus fiber with the image of our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ has been housed in a reliquary for centuries in the sanctuary in a small Italian town called Manoppello in the Abruzzi region of Italy. This precious relic contains no paint residue and is transparent, light effects how this image is seen. It is the cloth mentioned in St. John’s Gospel 20, 1 – 10: “He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself”, etc. John was the only disciple to stand at the foot of the Cross and witnessed the Face of Jesus before and after His death. It was only then that scripture tells us after seeing this, “he saw and believed”.

Important dates:

1506: Documentation stating this precious relic of the Volto Santo first arrived in this region.

1618: The Capuchin, Br. Remigio da Rapino placed the Volto Santo in a simply wooden frame between two panes of glass.

1638, the Capuchin Friars place the reliquary containing the Volto Santo in the church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.

1690: The Feast in honor of the Volto Santo is celebrated on August 6th, on the Transfiguration Holyday for the first time.

1703: Begins the first procession of the Volto Santo from the shrine to the town of Manoppello. When the image was removed

from the frame to replace the glass, the image disappeared, only to reappear when placed back between the panes of glass.

1714: A silver reliquary is made by De Laurentis, a jeweler from Chieti region. Again, the image disappears when removed from the glass to reappear when placed between two new glass panes.

1718: For seven years, Pope Clement XI (1649- 1721) grants a plenary indulgence for those who visit the Church of the Volto Santo.

1718-1720: Approval given for the Feast of the Holy Face to occur on August 6th and the 2nd Sunday in May by the Diocese and Capuchin authorities.

1750: The Feast of the Holy Face is transferred to the 3rd Sunday in May.

1756-1766: Novena and Hymns in honor of the Holy Face is written by Fr. Bernardo Valera.

1875: Historical account on the Holy Face is written by Fr. Filippo of Tussio and is published.

July 10, 1909: The Pious Association of the Holy Face is approved and blessed by Archbishop Gennaro Costagliola.

1946-1948: A new reliquary is made by Nazareno Iotti, Rome to house the simple wooden and glass frame reliquary holding the Volto Santo. Cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Massella blesses the new reliquary in the presence of over 80,000 people and places a golden crown over it - only to be stolen - a new crown was then made.

1955: A colored documentary of the Holy Face is made by Giancarlo Pecenko.

1964: Pope Paul VI gave the Shrine one large candle blessed for the Feast of the Purification.

1966: Padre Domenico da Cese arrives in Manoppello, upon his first visit before the Volto Santo - recognizes the Face as the “Stranger” who rescued him from the church rubble in Cese after the 1915 earthquake, beginning his great work for our Lord regarding the Holy Face of Manoppello.

1971: Professor Bruno Sammaciccia with an electronic technician examine the Holy Face under ultraviolet light.

September 1977: National Eucharistic Congress in Pescara in which Padre Domenico organized an exhibition on the Holy Face, in attendance was Pope Paul VI.

September 17, 1978: Padre Domenico dies from a car accident in Turin, Italy after viewing the Shroud of Turin.

September 20, 1978: The funeral mass for Padre Domenico was held in the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, approximately 60 priests along with a multitude of mourners were in attendance, officiated by the Bishop of Chieti – Vasto, the future Cardinal Vincenzo Fagiolo.

1986: Sr. Blandina Paschalis Schlomer discovered the Faces on the Shroud of Turin and the Volto Santo when superimposed were exact.

1991: Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer – Professor of Christian Art History at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, acknowledges the Holy Face of Manoppello may be the “Veronica Veil” that disappeared from Rome in the 16th century.

1997: Professor Pfeiffer states his conviction that the Holy Face in Manoppello is the “Roman Veronica” which was once kept in the Basilica of St. Peter, at the Vatican.

1998- 1999: Professor Donato Vittore (University of Bari) conducts extensive research on the Holy Face and confirms that the image is not painted.

2000: Jubilee Year, a plenary indulgence is given to those visiting the Shrine.

2004: Chiara Vigo an expert in weaving marine byssus, states that the Holy Face cloth is that of the mollusk “pinna nobilis” or sea-silk fibers.

2005: Holy Masses are said to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Padre Domenico.

September 1, 2006: Pope Benedict XVI visits the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello and spends several hours in prayer before the Holy Face of Jesus.

September 23, 2006: The Church of the Holy Face is now declared a Minor Basilica.

Image by Paul Badde

September 1, 2007: Pope Benedict XVI in memory of his pilgrimage to the Sanctuary on September 1, 2006 writes the “Prayer to the Holy Face”, which was sent to the Guardian of the Basilica of the Volto Santo, Manoppello, Italy.

2013: The canonical process was opened by the Holy See for Padre Domenico.

2015: Padre Domenico was declared “Servant of God”.

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