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Saint Veronica

According to the Bollandists (4th Feb.), Saint Veronica or Berenice was a pious woman of Jerusalem who, moved with pity as Jesus bore His cross to Golgotha[?], gave Him her kerchief that He might wipe the drops of agony from His brow. The Lord accepted the offering and after using it handed it back to her, bearing the image of His face miraculously impressed upon it.

According to various forms of the legend, Veronica is associated with the niece of Herod the Great, with the woman whom Christ healed of an issue of blood (Mark v. 25 sq; Matt. ix. 20 sq.), with a woman who afterwards, along with fifty others, young men and maidens, suffered martyrdom at Antioch, and with the beloved of one Amator, who is described as "famulus S. Virginis Mariae et Josephi, et Domini bajulus ac nutricius", who afterwards became an ascetic and died at Roquemadore (Rupes Amatoris) near Bordeaux.

Current tradition in the Roman Catholic Church has it that Veronica was able to heal Tiberius of a grievous sickness with her napkin, and that the emperor, thus convinced of the divinity of Christ, forthwith sent Pilate into exile. This napkin (sudarium) was in the time of Pope John VII[?] (705) in the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome, but is now in St. Peter's, though possession of it is indeed claimed also by Milan and Jaen, Spain. The Bollandist form of the story cannot be traced further back than to about the second quarter of the 15th century; but in a manuscript of the 8th century, now in the Vatican, Veronica is said to have painted, or caused to be painted, the portrait of Christ after she had been healed by Him.

In the 13th Century we find the miraculous picture itself spoken of as "figura Domini quae Veronica dicitur", and this has suggested to archaeologists the question of whether the woman Veronica may not have arisen by confusion out of a totally distinct legend, as to a vera icon, such as that which, according to Greek tradition, Jesus sent with an autograph letter to Abgarus of Edessa.

St. Veronica is commemorated on Shrove Tuesday, but her festival is not of obligation.

from the 9th edition (1883) of an unnamed encyclopedia (hundred year old bibliography omitted).



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