What is the significance of the Christ Pantocrator from St. Catherine's?
Within the decade of the discovery in the city of Edessa of a cloth with an image believed to be of Jesus, an icon was created at St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai. The year the cloth was found was A.D. 544. The icon is from about 550.
The similarities between the Pantocrator icon and the image on the Shroud of Turin are startling. It is too significant to be coincidental. The location of facial features including eyes, nose and mouth are astounding. When a transparency of the Shroud face is placed over a photograph of the icon, they align perfectly. The hair on the left side (our right when looking at the pictures) falls to the shoulder and curls outward while the hair on the other side of the face is shorter. The eyes are very large. The face is gaunt and the nose is especially thin and long. The neck also is particularly long. There is a clear gap in the beard below below the lower lip.
|St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai
|Face on the Shroud of Turin
compared to icon
The most significant feature, however, may have nothing to do with facial details but with two images that look something like flowers. Also see the write up on pareidolia.
At about this time, a significant change began to take place in the way Jesus was portrayed on coins, icons, frescos and mosaics. Before the middle of the sixth century, Jesus was often portrayed in settings in which he was portrayed as a young shepherd or a version of a Greek god. After the discovery of the Edessa Cloth, images of Jesus became full-frontal facial images with many of the features seen on the Shroud