What is the Eastertide Illatio in the Mozarabic Rite?
One element of a Eucharistic Rite, the Mozarabic Rite, used in sixth century Spain (and still used in Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo and in the Anglican Communion churches in Spain) is an illatio (Præfatio) used at Eastertide. There are numerous illationes (proper prefaces) for special days in this and all significant rites used in various Christian traditions. The Eastertide preface reads:
Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints of the dead and risen man on the linens.
The word imprint is a translation of vestigia which can also mean trace or mark. It can also mean footstep or footprint, but that does not make contextual sense.
We must wonder how such an idea come about? Was there a tradition, a clear understanding, that Jesus’ image was somehow imprinted on his burial cloth? It is completely without biblical foundation. This includes extant non-canonical gospels and epistles.
One explanation, sometimes offered may have to do with St. Leander, a Benedictine monk and a bishop of Seville. Sometime between 579 and A.D. 582, shortly after the image bearing cloth had been “rediscovered” in Edessa, he visited Constantinople. Was the newly discovered cloth with an image the talk of the town? Edessa, at the time, was part of the Byzantine Empire, less than 200 miles away on a major trade route. Perhaps, on his return to the Iberian Peninsula, Leander influenced the composition of this one illation in the Mozarabic Rite. That is, of course, only speculation. But that there was communications between the East and the West is certain.