The face of Jesus as a vehicle for healing

The face of Jesus printed on a canvas as a vehicle for healing.

The face of Jesus has healing power, from the beginning of his mission on Earth.

It is a reference of what God can do for us, because it is the face that God revealed to men.

The contemplation of his face has worked wonders since he revealed himself to men.

And the first miracle he performed was immediately after his ascension to Heaven.

And he had as his emissary St. Jude Thaddeus, one of the 12 apostles and cousin of the Lord, who was Jesus' emissary to heal a King who had asked him to cure him of an illness.

Here we will reveal the faith shown by King Abgar in a letter sent to Jesus Christ to heal him, how Jesus Christ answers him and sends St. Jude Thaddeus to bring him the image of His Face and heals him, and what became of those letters exchanged between Jesus and Abgar, what happened to the image of the face of Jesus Christ, and what relationship the Mandylion might have with the Shroud of Turin.

A small town in what is now Turkey preserved two important relics of Jesus.

A letter in which Jesus would have replied to a missive sent to him by King Agbar V.

And a canvas on which is stamped the face of Jesus, which is called Mandylion.

St. Jude Thaddeus participated in both events as an envoy of Jesus.

St. Jude Thaddeus was one of the twelve original apostles of Jesus. 

And the flame on his head that shows his iconography, is the way to demonstrate that he was on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit rested on the head of the disciples and the Virgin Mary.

A letter written by him is part of the New Testament and is believed to have been written before the fall of Jerusalem, between the years 62 and 65.

He should not be confused with Judas Iscariot, who was the one who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Judas Thaddaeus is presented in the Gospels as the "brother of James".

And he is recognized as the cousin of Jesus Christ himself, so you can see in his iconography that he is painted with physical similarities to Jesus.

Tradition even says that he had a vision of Jesus shortly before he died.

Judas Thaddeus and Simon stayed in the house of a disciple, whose name was Semme. 

There, idolatrous priests and a crowd surrounded them and demanded that Semme hand over the apostles to them. 

And Judas Thaddaeus saw the Lord, who was calling them to Himself, so he and Simon surrendered and were martyred.

St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of hopeless causes, the patron of difficult cases and patron of the impossible.

And his intercession has been invoked for several centuries, including by Saints Bridget of Sweden and Bernard of Clairvaux. 

His fame as patron of difficult causes came from the mission Jesus entrusted to him at Edessa.

Just like the golden medal that St. Jude Thaddeus wears on his chest, which is an image of Jesus, known as the "image of Edessa".

According to tradition, King Abgar V of Edessa was very ill and, after hearing of the miraculous healings Christ performed, wrote him a letter to come and heal him.

Jesus answered him by letter.

And then He put a piece of cloth over His own face, so that His image would be imprinted, and asked St. Jude Thaddaeus to take it to the ruler. 

When the latter received the cloth, he was completely cured. This relic is known as "Mandylion".

The letter of Agbar V, alias "the black", to Jesus said the following:

"Agbar, ruler of the city of Edessa, to Jesus the Savior, the good physician, who has appeared in Jerusalem, greetings.

I have heard about you and about the cures you perform without medicines or herbs.

What I have heard is that you make the blind to see and the lame to walk, cleanse the lepers, cast out unclean spirits and demons, heal those who have suffered from chronic and painful diseases, and raise the dead.

Hearing all this from you, I came to the conclusion that one of two things must be true: you are God and came down from heaven to do these things, or you are a child of God doing these things.

Therefore, I am writing to ask you to come to me and cure me of the disease I am suffering from.

I have heard that the Jews are treating you badly and I wish you not to worry, my city is very small, but very noble and suitable for both of us to live in peace."

And Jesus' reply was as follows,

"Blessed is he who has never seen me and yet believes in me.

It was written long ago that those who will see me will not believe in me and those who have not seen me will believe in me and be saved.

As for your request that I visit you, it is better for me to stay here and finish the work I was sent to do.

After I have finished, then I will go to the one who sent me.

Then I will send you one of my disciples to cure your sickness and bring salvation to you and your people."

Several sources say that when the disciples went into all the world, Judas Thaddaeus went first to Edessa to fulfill Jesus' promise of salvation.

Several sources say that when the disciples went into all the world, Judas Thaddaeus went first to Edessa to fulfill Jesus' promise to Agbar.

Eusebius of Caesarea says that Judas stayed there in the Jewish quarter with a man named Tobias.

And according to the Golden Legend, Judas Thaddeus cured Agbar V's leprosy by wiping his face with the letter of Christ, and Agbar was converted, as were many other people in Edessa.

Eusebius says that he read these letters in a Greek translation from the original Aramaic and did not question their authenticity.

Then King Agbar also commissioned a portrait of Jesus, but the painter found it impossible to do the painting.

And Jesus, feeling sorry for the man, pressed a cloth to his face and stamped his image miraculously on it.

This was called the Mandylion and is also called Tetradiplon, or folded in 4.

One tradition says that this cloth was given to Agbar by St. Jude and is the explanation for the Jesus medal worn by St. Jude on his statues.

The letters and the Mandylion were prized as relics in Edessa and are believed to have protected the city extensively.

Evagrius Scholasticus, writing around 600, reports that a miraculous image of the face of Christ was preserved by the city of Edessa before the attack of the Persians in 544.

And when the Persians besieged the city, the letter and the Mandylion with the face of Christ were placed on top of the walls and the Persians were defeated.

These letters have disappeared in the mists of time, but it is rumored that they are preserved in a monastery in Kyrgyzstan.

At the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787, Second Council of Nicaea, the bishops defended the veneration of images, by teaching that Christ himself provided an image for veneration, and explicitly mentioned the Holy Image of Edessa.

On August 16, 944, the Holy Image of Edessa was transferred from Edessa to Constantinople.

And then the Eastern Churches began to celebrate the feast of the Holy Mandylion on August 16.

But in the year 1204, during the sack of Constantinople, the Holy Image of Edessa disappeared forever and there are many versions about what happened next.

It is said that the cloth would be in the church of San Bartolomeo degli Armeni in Genoa, or in the Vatican or in a British Museum.

And it has also been linked to the Shroud of Turin.

A sixth century text "Acts of Thaddeus" relates that the image of the Mandylion was a Sidon or Shroud.

That it was folded as a tetradiplon from the Greek "tetra" equals four and "diplon" equals double.

So it was a cloth folded twice and then four times. 

And strange as it may seem, the Shroud of Turin has exactly the same fourfold pattern.

St. John Damascene describes the Holy Image of Edessa as a large garment and not as a small shroud.

The Archdeacon of Constantinople Gregory Referendarius mentioned in a sermon that also the image bore the "wound on the side" of Christ.

This indicates that the image transferred from Edessa to Constantinople in 944 was an image of the body of Christ and not just the face.

Emperor Constantine VII, who personally inspected the Edessa image in 944, describes the image as "extremely faint, more like a wet secretion without pigment or painter's art."

In 1203, a crusader named Robert de Clari claimed that in the church of St. Mary of the Blanquernas in Constantinople there was a cloth with the image of Jesus, "Wherein was the shroud in which Our Lord was wrapped, and which every Friday was raised high so that one could see in it the figure of Our Lord." 

This was the first information of the existence of the Shroud.

All this has led many to conclude that the image of the Mandylion is the Shroud of Turin.

Because in addition, the existence of the Shroud of Turin began to be spoken of around the same time that the Mandylion disappeared.