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IMAGES OF HOLY FACE RELICS


The Holy Face of Jesus from the image of Veronica's veil
(The veil is kept in St. Peters Basilica, Rome.)

 

For your convenience we have created this page to provide you with an overview of Holy Face relics, and a variety of different images of the Holy Face of Jesus that you can download and use. Below we provide links to high resolution images of a relic of the Holy Face that we own, and images of other relics from other visitors to our site.


OVERVIEW

First we will provide a quick overview of what we know about the Holy Face relics. These relics are images that were created and touched to Veronica's veil in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Over the last few centuries, primarily since the miracle in 1849 in the Vatican where Veronica's veil became very vivid and glowed for 3 hours in front of all present, it became a custom in the Vatican to display Veronica's veil on Passion Sunday for veneration to the public. Each year, detailed copies 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 inscription was placed at the bottom (or on the back) of the relic, and a wax seal placed on each. In some cases, the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face in Tours also added their stamp to the relic, and from there the relics were sent abroad. From what we've been able to gather, this practice was continued for at least 75 years.

The Manual of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face (1885) refers to these relics as "engravings". Here is what the manual states:


Engraving of the Holy Face

The engravings of the Holy Face are the reproduction of the veil of Veronica at the Vatican. No one is ignorant of the respect paid by the Church to the relic. Every year, two Cardinals, delegated for that purpose, give the same benediction with it to the kneeling people, as that given with the Blessed Sacrament, and with the sacred wood of the true Cross. An authentic attestation of the divinity of Jesus Christ, this blessed veil has been left to the Church, to be, as it were, a precious coin, marked with the effigy of the King of kings, intended to call down upon the world which is ceaselessly impending towards its ruin, the mercies of the Lord.

Earthly coins have engraved upon them the effigy of their princes, in order to enable the kingdoms of the world freely to exchange their different products. Wherefore then, should not the kingdom of heaven also have, like the kingdoms of the earth, a coin by means of which everlasting goods may be purchased? 0 God! our Protector, look upon us, and cast thine eyes upon the Face of thy Christ, ought to be our frequent cry.

Every soul attached to Holy Church, and with it to the dogma of the divinity of our Lord, ought to make it a law of love, to have in its own little oratory, a picture of the Holy Face. Ah! if this devotion did but reign in all hearts, we should soon see the last remnants disappear of the odious blasphemy which has come down even to our own days: the denial namely of the Divinity of Jesus! The devotion to the Holy Face is a sign of predestination, for what soul is there which after having loved and venerated this august Face on earth may not rest assured of one day venerating it amidst the triumphs of its glory? (Letter of Mr. Dupont.)

N. B. These engravings come from Rome, where they are engraved under the guarantee of the proper authority. Moreover they have attached to them an authentication bearing the signature and the seal of a Cardinal, attesting that they have touched the veil of Veronica, the wood of the true Cross and the iron of the spear which transfixed our Lord. This authentication ought to be carefully preserved. The word gratis, painted on them in large characters, is to show that the favour of touching these holy relics is gratuitously bestowed, and that the blessing attached thereto is not sold; but it does not mean to imply that the engravings themselves are not to be sold at a proper price, calculated to cover the expenses of the paper, linen or silk of the engraving, of the carriage, etc.; these prices are, moreover, made as low as possible and ought never to be an object of speculation.


These relics are quite rare and the majority of the ones we have seen contain the inscription:

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

On some relics, a stamp from the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face in Tours, France reads:

ORATOIRE DE LA SAINTE FACE - TOURS

We have also seen a few relics of the Holy Face that, instead of having a red wax seal, have a round stamp that contains the words:

SS. PATRIARCHALIS BASILICA VATICANA

We are still researching the difference between the wax seal and stamp, and will update this page as we find out more.

Most other relics have additional text on either the bottom-front, or the back of the relic, which reads similar to the following:

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 MDCCCXXXVII (or other year in Roman numerals here)
XIV Indictione Pontificatus SS mi D. N. Leonis XIII (or other Pope's name here)
Pont. Max. anno XXIV. (or other year here)

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 1905 (year varies) in the pontificate of Pope Pius X (Pope's name varies).

If you have any further information on these relics, we would appreciate if you could please send it to us. Thank you!


IMAGES OF HOLY FACE RELICS

The images of the relics themselves are below. You may print any of these to aid you in practicing the Holy Face Devotion, or you may otherwise distribute them freely. We recommend having the unframed image directly below printed on 11x17 glossy card stock at a local printer. It comes out beautiful and is the next best thing to owning your own Holy Face relic.

Here are the links to high resolution framed and unframed photos of our Holy Face relic. First click an image to make it large on your screen, then right click the larger image and select "Save Image As" to save it to your computer.


Here are links to some images of Holy Face relics sent to us by visitors of this website. These were all created in the Vatican sometime after the miracle in 1849, all the way up to the early 1900s:


Also below are some images of Holy Face relics created in the Vatican in the 1700s and early 1800s, long before the miracle in 1849. Initially we were unaware that the Vatican had created these relics this early in time, but a few do exist. They are quite rare and often contain a spear next to the Holy Face. They are clearly not nearly as beautiful as the relics above, probably because the artists that created them only had the very faded original veil to work with at the time. It was the miracle in 1849 that brought out the vivid details in the original veil, allowing artists after that time to create beautiful reproductions of it.

1761

1774

1780

1825


Here are links to high resolution photos of the Holy Face picture inside the front cover of the "Manual of the Arch confraternity of the Holy Face" from 1887.

In addition, here is a high resolution photo of the Holy Face picture we use throughout this website, which comes from the book on the life of Leo Dupont, "The Holy Man of Tours".

If you have an original relic of the Holy Face and would like to share a photo of it for others to see on this page, please send us a message by clicking here, and if you are able, please attach a high resolution photo of your relic to the message.


Thank you!