St Jude Thaddeus, King Abgar V and the Shroud

My beloved Fr Rocky, Fr Kubicki, John Morales, Taco King Patrick Madrid, Cyrus and Catholic adventurers at RelRad…including our Premonstratensians incl Fr Holy Joe Horn, Augustine et al.

This avid RelRad listening wants to posit something else, beyond the Catholic icon Giza Pyramid (you know the ‘border fire in the middle” pile at the center of the world.  Hmm  Just lost the Taco King and maybe Fr Francsi.

In all humility, please consider an alternative regarding Danny Thomas’ fave saint and our St Jude Thaddeus and the Golden Medallion..  the HOPEful patron saint of HOPEless and impossible causes.  Fr Kubicki does excellent research but suppose:

My thoughts:

  1. Of the apostles, St Jude, like the others, gained his “motto” or patronage by God or by practice. St Therese is known for her roses; Dominic the rosary.  The more famous “proof” of Jude’s patronage of hopeless and impossible causes  would be Edessa’s King Abgar V’s intra-country hope for a cure.  And IF Jude carried the miracle cloth, true relic of Jesus’ Resurrection, surely it would useful for cures throughout his travels with the reformed Zealot, Simon.
  2. The popular Danny Thomas St Jude hospital imagery points often to St Jude sporting a gold medallion, which I believe is a mistranslation of Mandylion…also, historically, the early Church’s treasury was depleted somewhat by Judas redepositing 30 silver pieces with the Jewish leaders: ie  the Church was broke, did not have an Autom religious goods store yet; and would not have excess funds to strike a gold medal with Jesus’ image at that time.  the Shroud could be the real object around his neck, for ease of travel, mounted in a cloth or wooden phylactery/frame.  Folded four ways or more.
  3. Jude could have been the Shroud bearer; there were no parish Catholic churches nearby to leave it and Turin was 15 centuries into the future, via Jerusalem, Edessa, Lirey etc. It was safer chartered to one of the apostles.  Just as the Holy Grail is reported to be in valencia, Spain, and other relics resident throughout the world.

From Wiki and other sources:

The leprous king who asked for Jesus to come heal is pronounced and spelled “Abgar” not Abigar as some pronounce it.

‘Abgar V is said to be one of the first Christian kings in history, having been converted to the faith by Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the 70 disciples   According to Christian tradition, the Image of Edessa was a holy relic consisting of a square or rectangle of cloth upon which a miraculous image of the face of Jesus had been imprinted—the first icon (“image”). The image is also known as the Mandylion (from Greek μανδύλιον “cloth, towel”),[1] in Eastern Orthodoxy, it is also known as Acheiropoeiton (Εἰκόν’ ἀχειροποίητη), or “icon not made by hand”.

(Len: sorting real tradition from conjecture is not always easy.  But, the painting of Abgar looking at a wide rectangular cloth and Jesus’ face in the middle should be considered)

In the tradition recorded in the early 4th century by Eusebius of Caesarea, King Abgar of Edessa wrote to Jesus, asking him to come cure him of an illness. Conjecture is, Abgar received a reply letter from Jesus (I wasn’t aware Jesus had a traveling scribe with him like Nancy Pelosi’s videographer daughter, declining the invitation, but promising a future visit by one of his disciples.

One of the seventy disciplesThaddeus of Edessa, is said to have come to Edessa, bearing the words of Jesus, by the virtues of which the king was miraculously healed. (Len’s note: the Addai artist would be inconsequential if Jude BROUGHT the true 1st class relic of a Risen Savior.)

“Eusebius said that he had transcribed and translated the actual letter in the Syriac chancery documents of the king of Edessa, but who makes no mention of an image. The report of an image, which accrued to the legendarium of Abgar, first appears in the Syriac work, the Doctrine of Addai: according to it, the messenger, here called Ananias, was also a painter, and he painted the portrait, which was brought back to Edessa and conserved in the royal palace.”

The first record of the existence of a physical image in the ancient city of Edessa (now Urfa) was by Evagrius Scholasticus, writing about 593, who reports a portrait of Christ of divine origin (θεότευκτος), which effected the miraculous aid in the defence of Edessa against the Persians in 544. The image was moved to Constantinople in the 10th century. The cloth disappeared when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and is believed by some to have reappeared as a relic in King Louis IX of France‘s Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. This relic disappeared in the French Revolution.[6]

The provenance of the Edessa letter between the 1st century and its location in his own time are not reported by Eusebius. The materials, according to the scholar Robert Eisenman, “are very widespread in the Syriac sources with so many multiple developments and divergences that it is hard to believe they could all be based on Eusebius’ poor efforts” (Eisenman 1997:862).

The Eastern Orthodox Church observes a feast for this icon on August 16, which commemorates its translation from Edessa to Constantinople.

My Sindonologist friends, Steve & Nancy Bottieri, self published a book on the Shroud called Agnus Dei (I gotta find my copy, what with loaning it out and with 11 kids not everything has its place).

Steve is a Jewish man converted to Catholicism; he posits (like Ian below and others) that the actual image discussed above was the actual Shroud. Not some sweaty Veronicaesque face diaper)

Its travels included France and Italy/Turin but note its being found the missing Shroud in the Edessa city walls in the fourth century

I see THREE 4 possibles: the wiped face of Jesus by the dispatched artist or two, his painting.  Veronica’s cloth Sudarium for #3 OR what I believe makes more CSI forensic sense, the actual Shroud.

If the King’s royal artist painted it, then it is NOT an image not made by human hands. So, this wouldn’t be the relic. (the Shroud is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd class relic, so to speak).   If the artist had given Jesus a cloth and His sweat remained on the cloth, like the True Image Veronica, and was taken by the artist back for the leprosy miracle, then again, does this survive research? and credulity?

However, something major occurred to cause Jude Thaddeus to be considered the patron of miracles and impossible causes: to King Abgar, leprosy was impossible to get rid of (no sulfa drugs yet). And he had heard of the miracle worker Jesus

Suppose Jude was chartered to CARRY the Shroud as protection; there was no Catholic parish church in Jerusalem soon after Jesus departed.  And the 14 x 3 foot Shroud could be folded up so a 1 foot square portion showing just His face was exposed.

“The later legend of the image recounts that because the successors of Abgar reverted to paganism, the bishop placed the miraculous image inside a wall, and setting a burning lamp before the image, he sealed them up behind a tile; that the image was later found again, after a vision, on the very night of the Persian invasion, and that not only had it miraculously reproduced itself on the tile, but the same lamp was still burning before it; further, that the bishop of Edessa used a fire into which oil flowing from the image was poured to destroy the Persians.”

The image itself is said to have resurfaced in 525, during a flood of the Daisan, a tributary stream of the Euphrates that passed by Edessa. This flood is mentioned in the writings of the court historian Procopius of Caesarea. In the course of the reconstruction work, a cloth bearing the facial features of a man was discovered hidden in the wall above one of the gates of Edessa.  (Review how representations of Jesus changed in art)

Writing soon after the Persian siege of 544, Procopius says that the text of Jesus’ letter, by then including a promise that “no enemy would ever enter the city”, was inscribed over the city gate, but does not mention an image. Procopius is skeptical about the authenticity of the promise, but says that the wish to disprove it was part of the Persian king Khosrau I‘s motivation for the attack, as “it kept irritating his mind”.[8] The Syriac Chronicle of Edessa written in 540-550 also claim divine interventions in the siege, but does not mention the Image.[9]

Some fifty years later, Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History (593) is the first to mention a role for the image in the relief of the siege,[10] attributing it to a “God-made image”, a miraculous imprint of the face of Jesus upon a cloth.

The Shroud certainly wasn’t in Jerusalem or Turin.  Could it be?

“Thus we can trace the development of the legend from a letter, but no image in Eusebius, to an image painted by a court painter in Addai, which becomes a miracle caused by a miraculously-created image supernaturally made when Jesus pressed a cloth to his wet face in Evagrius. It was this last and latest stage of the legend that became accepted in Eastern Orthodoxy, the image of Edessa that was “created by God, and not produced by the hands of man”. This idea of an icon that was Acheiropoietos (Αχειροποίητος, literally “not-made-by-hand”) is a separate enrichment of the original legend: similar legends of supernatural origins have accrued to other Orthodox icons.”

The Ancha icon is reputed to be the Keramidion, another acheiropoietos recorded from an early period, miraculously imprinted with the face of Christ by contact with the Mandylion. To art historians it is a Georgian icon of the 6th-7th century.

According to the Golden Legend, which is a collection of hagiographies compiled by Jacobus de Voragine in the thirteenth century, the king Abgarus (Abgar one supposes) sent an epistle to Jesus, who answered him writing that he would send him one of his disciples (Thaddeus of Edessa) to heal him. The same work adds:

And when Abgarus saw that he might not see God presently, after that it is said in an ancient history, as John Damascene witnesseth in his fourth book, he sent a painter unto Jesu Christ for to figure the image of our Lord, to the end that at least that he might see him by his image, whom he might not see in his visage. And when the painter came, because of the great splendour and light that shone in the visage of our Lord Jesu Christ, he could not behold it, ne could not counterfeit it by no figure. And when our Lord saw this thing he took from the painter a linen cloth and set it upon his visage, and emprinted the very phisiognomy of his visage therein, and sent it unto the king Abgarus which so much desired it. And in the same history is contained how this image was figured. It was well-eyed, well-browed, a long visage or cheer, and inclined, which is a sign of maturity or ripe sadness.

Later events

The Holy Mandylion disappeared again after the Sassanians conquered Edessa in 609. A local legend, related to historian Andrew Palmer when he visited Urfa (Edessa) in 1999, relates that the towel or burial cloth (mendil) of Jesus was thrown into a well in what is today the city’s Great Mosque. The Christian tradition exemplified in Georgios Kedrenos‘ Historiarum compendium[13] is at variance with this, John Scylitzes[14] recounting how in 944, when the city was besieged by John Kourkouas, it was exchanged for a group of Muslim prisoners. At that time the Image of Edessa was taken to Constantinople where it was received amidst great celebration by emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, who deposited it in the Theotokos of the Pharos chapel in the Great Palace of Constantinople. Not inconsequentially, the earliest known Byzantine icon of the Mandylion or Holy Face, preserved at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, is dated c. 945.[15]

“The Mandylion remained under Imperial protection until the Crusaders sacked the city in 1204 and carried off many of its treasures to Western Europe, though the “Image of Edessa” is not mentioned in this context in any contemporary document. Similarly, it has been claimed that the Shroud of Turin disappeared from Constantinople in 1204, when Crusaders looted the city. The leaders of the Crusader army in this instance were French and Italian (from Venice), and it is believed that somehow because of this, the Shroud made its way to France. A small part of a relic, believed to be the same as this, was one of the large group sold by Baldwin II of Constantinople to Louis IX of France in 1241 and housed in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (not to be confused with the Sainte Chapelle at Chambéry, home for a time of the Shroud of Turin) until it disappeared during the French Revolution.

The Portuguese Jesuit, Jerónimo Lobo, who visited Rome in 1637, mentions the sacred portrait sent to King Abgar as being in this city: “I saw the famous relics that are preserved in that city as in a sanctuary, a large part of the holy cross, pieces of the crown and several thorns, the sponge, the lance, Saint Thomas’s finger, one of the thirty coins for which the Saviour was sold, the sacred portrait, the one that Christ Our Lord sent to King Abagaro, the sacred staircase on which Christ went up and down from the Praetorium, the head of the holy Baptist, the Column, the Altar on which Saint Peter said mass, and countless other relics.”

Christ Pantocrator     also refer to the image of Edessa

(Len here, fellow adventurers: we know that Christian art began to reflect the dark bruise under Jesus’ left eye, obviously not mascara but from His Holy Scourging, moving away from a more sterile imagery, AFTER the Shroud was rediscovered in the early centuries. 

For example, in Christ Pantocrator, the two eyes are different and the left reflects the heavy bruising under His left eye.

I believe real time and history needs to be a part of our understandings of Church history;  being extremely careful not to go heretical like Algore and the climate cultists who insult God claiming man’s ability to change climate with 12 manmade CO2 molecules for every million air molecules ( a subject for a different blog 12:1,000,000 or 1:2500 showing God’s perfect atmospheric science)

Think about the last three humans seeing Jesus is His fullest no wounds glory: Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration.

I believe they were the last to see Him the way they did, because in heaven, Jesus will forever have the DThomas’ left eye, scourge, nails and spear wounds.  Yes, even His mother will see the evidence of the greatest gift to mankind by the greatest Being: God’s son.

His bruises reflect our grateful eternal gift of hope and life.  Even the dead Moses and alive Elijah had the same view.

I may be wrong, as a dad of 11 in 39h year of homeschooling the Catholic way can be, but Jude, the Shroud bearer, traveling the world before his death and now still patronizing the prayers of humans on earth for healings, makes sense.  Just like the female caller mentioned about a cancer cure spoken on John Morales morning show due to a novena to Jude Thaddeus.

God bless the mighty relevant radio and tacos away to the Patrick Madrid Experience… RelRadio is an amazing blessing to so many.

In His Service,

Len Beckman


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