DATELINE: Trio of Relics
Unnerving image of three faces!
We weren’t sure what to make of this Italian documentary from 2013. Is it pious drivel? Archeological truth? Or mere balderdash?
Searching for the Face of Jesus was not what we expected.
Instead of a history lesson on the artful depictions of the man from Nazareth and how his consistent image developed, we had a focus on three relics, one of which we knew almost nothing about.
The Shroud of Turin is best known of all: subject to many investigations, debunking, carbon dating controversy, etc.
The burial face cloth in Spain, merely a blood-caked faceless cloth that was wrapped around a dead man’s head is a relic with some historical evidence going way back. Indeed, a cloth was used as a wrap to transport the crucified man to his tomb.
And, the third item struck us as the most peculiar of all: the Sacred Face made by Veronica. It is the most legendary of the relics, and the oddest of all. Purportedly, a woman ran up to the living Jesus on the way to his death and wiped his face with a thin silk cloth. A double image transferred to both sides of the small towel.
How on earth did wide-open brown eyes transfer to the cloth?
The documentary then does something most unusual. It overlays the three face images by means of computer effects.
There are 140 points of match. The three faces are of the same man.
The film fails to tell us that blood tests on two of the cloths indicated a rare AB negative blood type. The Veronica image is not miraculous, merely creepy. The eyes of the man are staring through the mists of time. How that transferred is inexplicable.
The climax of the documentary is the overlay of the Shroud face with the faceless bloody cloth—and the eye-opening man on his way to death.
As pay-offs go, this one knocked our agnostic heart for a loop.