Are there other images claimed to be the Image of Edessa?
Some scholars have suggested that there are two or more images with connections to the city of Edessa: the Shroud of Turin as well as the Image of Edessa or “Holy Mandylion of Edessa” and possibly others. Other scholars think that the Shroud and the Image of Edessa, at least the one mentioned in the Legend of Abgar, are one in the same.
Mandylion is a Byzantine Greek word meaning a piece of cloth with a miraculous image of Jesus, though in more modern usage the word has come to mean an icon of Jesus.
The fact of the matter is that there is more than one image claiming to be the Image of Edessa, even claiming to be the image of the Abgar legend. And this causes no end of confusion.
- One is The Holy Face of Genoa, kept in
the Church of St. Bartholomew of the Armenians in Genoa.
- Another is the Mandylion of Edessa, once kept in the Church of Saint Silvestro in Rome and now kept in the Matilda chapel in the Vatican.
These two images look remarkably alike. And they do have some similarities to the facial image on the shroud; at least the long thin nose and the long hair. But the eyes are not owlish and the beard is apparently not forked. We must say apparently because outline frames may be obscuring part of the beard. Unlike the Shroud, these images are not negative images, are not monochromatic and appear to have been painted. There is a sense of photorealism to them and yet they seem primitive as well. Whether or not they are what the claim to be, authentic acheiropoieta is beyond our scope here.
- What is the Image of Edessa?
- What is the Holy Face of Genoa?
- What is the Holy Face of San Silvestro?