The Sudarium Christi – The Face Cloth Of Jesus Christ

The Sudarium Christi – The Face Cloth Of Jesus Christ

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The Sudarium Christi - The Face Cloth Of Jesus Christ

In the Cathedral of Oviedo in northern Spain is a linen cloth called the Sudarium Christi, or the Face Cloth of Christ.  It is often referred to as the Cloth of Oviedo.  The Sudarium Christi is a poor-quality linen cloth, like a handkerchief, measuring 33 by 21 inches.  Unlike the Shroud of Turin, it does not have an image.  However, it does have bloodstains and serum stains from pulmonary edema fluid which match the blood and serum patterns and blood type (AB) of the Shroud of Turin.

The Sudarium Christi has a well-documented history.  One source traces the cloth back as far as 570 AD.  Pelayo, Bishop of Oviedo in the 1100’s, noted in his Chronicles that the Oviedo Cloth left Jerusalem in 614 AD in response to an attack led by Persian King Chosroes II, and made its way across North Africa to Spain.  It was transported to Oviedo in a silver ark (large box) along with many other sacred relics.  The Sudarium was never in contact with the Shroud since its arrival in Spain around 711 AD.

The Oviedo Cloth was placed around the head at the time of death on the Cross and remained there until the body was to be covered by the Shroud in the Garden Tomb.  Then it was removed and placed to one side (John 20:7).  Oviedo scholar Mark Guscin notes that the practice of covering the face is referenced in the Talmud (Moed Katan 27a).  He adds that Rabbi Alfred Kolatch of New York talks of the Kevod Ha-Met or “respect for the dead” as the reason for covering the head.  Rabbi Michael Tuktzinsky of Jerusalem in his Sefer Gesher Cha’yim (Volume 1, Chapter 3, 1911) offers as a reason that it is a hardship for onlookers to gaze on the face of a dead person.

According to Guscin, studies by members of the Spanish Centre for Sindonology (Dr. Jose Villalain, Jaime Izquierdo and Guillermo Heras of the University of Valencia) using infrared and ultraviolet photography and electron microscopy have demonstrated that this Cloth and the Shroud of Turin touched the same face, although at different points in the burial process.  They note that the length of the nose on both cloths is 8 centimeters (3 Inches).  Tradition and historical information support the idea that the face touched by both cloths was that of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.

Read about the Holy Shroud Of Turin here

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