In Oviedo, Spain we find the sister city of Tampa, Florida; Jersey City, New Jersey; and Oviedo, Florida. The Spanish Oviedo is noted for housing the soudarion, the purported facial cloth which covered Christ’s dead face, taken off before he was placed in the tomb, and may be the one mentioned in John’s gospel as the cloth lying separately in the tomb. It has a better-recorded history than the Shroud of Turin. The soudarion was in Palestine until 614 when it was moved to Alexandria to keep it out of the hands of the Muslims. It was hidden in a chest and moved again to southern Spain, and then to northern Spain, again to keep it from falling into the hands of the Moors. It wound up in Oviedo, where it stayed hidden until 1075, when the king and El Cid, of our movie fame, opened the chest. In 1113, the chest was covered with silver plating on which an inscription invited all Christians to venerate the relic which contains the blood of Christ.
With a ninety-nine percent certainty, this cloth was folded over the face of a man being crucified and pinned in the back. This Jewish tradition prevented his loved ones from seeing the distortion of his disfigured face as he was dying on the cross. The stains on the cloth indicate that the man died in an upright position. Crucifixion would result in the blood coming out of the nostrils from the lungs as he died of asphyxiation. That is what we find on this cloth. The blood type is AB, which is common among Jews but uncommon in Medieval Europe. This is the same blood type as found on the Shroud of Turin.
In 1999, a study was conducted to investigate the relationship between the Oviedo Soudarion and that of the Shroud of Turin. The study found that the bloodstains of the soudarion appeared to match those wounds located on the head of the shroud. The study concluded that both the soudarion and the shroud covered the same face, but at two distinct, yet closely related, moments in time. The soudarion did not have contact with the body after burial unlike the shroud. A second soudarion could have been used to hold the jaw up, and that soudarion would not have covered the face. The Soudarion of Oviedo has a rough weave, while the shroud has a fine herringbone weave.
Many believe the Soudarion of Oviedo as covering Christ’s dead face. Read more about the comparison with the shroud and similar miracles in The Lawyer’s Relic at Amazon.com by clicking on goo.gl/MPqLV6.
St. Jerome is the author of the Vulgate Bible, the official bible of the Catholic Church. But, this wasn’t Jerome’s only work. Among others, he also wrote a pamphlet entitled Altercation of a Luciferian with an Orthodox. This work concerned a purported debate between the bishop of Cogliari, Lucifer, and an orthodox parishioner. Apparently, Lucifer and his followers did not agree with the Church position that those who believed in Arianism and repented should be forgiven and restored to their former positions.
While the Council of Nicaea condemned the Arian speculation that the Son was a subordinate person to God the Father, it also declared that those who now rejected such beliefs in obedience to the Church should be restored to their former positions. All Christians were asked to confirm their belief by repeating the Nicene Creed as developed by the council. The creed confirmed that the Father and the Son were of one substance.
Lucifer and his followers continued to insist that all priests who had participated in Arianism should be deprived of their offices, and that bishops who recognized the rights of even repentant heretics should be excommunicated. Jerome’s paper fully supported the Nicene position and redemption.
This is just another interesting fact as found in my novel The Scholar’s Challenge. Amazon carries it at goo.gl/MPqLV6.
If there was a book in the early third century, which could be considered a “best seller,” it would have been Celsus’ The True Doctrine. Celsus wrote from Alexandria in Egypt, the center of the world of philosophy having taken on that mantle from Athens in earlier generations. The True Doctrine criticized Christianity in excruciating detail. Celsus wrote that Christians didn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand their own philosophical reasoning.
A prolific writer, philosopher, and teacher by the name of Origen writing from Caesarea answered Celsus. Through a masterful work known as Contra Celsus Origen refuted all major and minor pagan rumors and misrepresentations as itemized by Celsus. For example, when Celsus wrote that the Christians knew little of the Greek giants and couldn’t converse in an intelligent manner, Origen, having studied such men as Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, answered plainly. “We Christians wish to make all men worthy of God by feeding them meat if they are capable of understanding or baby’s milk if lacking the experiences of life. True doctrines are aimed at both the stupid and the learned, for the goal is to win over all peoples by the love of the Father. Whose vocabulary reaches all, the best of the Greeks or Christ and his disciples? The refined style of Plato benefits but a few.”
Origen was director of the largest theological library in the world and he possessed a reputation matched by only a handful of men. His comprehensive response is still read as a model of apologetic writing. Many of the arguments therein are as valid today as they were then.
The life and accomplishments of Origen are covered in my novel The Scholar’s Challenge. It may be found on Amazon by going to goo.gl/MPqLV6.
Recently, a friend (if I may be so bold as to claim this relationship) met one of my idols–a pope no less. I know Rev. John Sheehy (the friend) from the days when we both served the Catholic War Veterans as national officers. He has since purchased my many books and thought enough of them to write at least one admiring review (probably overblown) on the Amazon site. Needless to say, for this, he earned my eternal gratitude. Anyway, as I was saying, he recently met Pope Benedict to present a copy of the New Testament in braille as well as a special 9/11 anniversary coin from the American Legion. Father John was the Agency Director for the Xavier Society for the Blind and is a navy veteran. I have read many of Cardinal Ratzinger’s (Pope Benedict’s) books and hope the Church will one day declare him a Doctor of the Church. Just my opinion, of course, but Ratzinger’s explanatory works are that good. Maybe, if Father John reads this, he will consent to visit the historic Our Lady of the Angels Chapel, here at the Charlestown Retirement Community and give a lecture so that I can shake the hand that shook Pope Benedict’s hand.
Our novel, Eugenios: Servant of Kings has just been awarded the prestigious Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writers Guild. This means that bookstores will assured that this novel carries with it the high standards of the Guild, including a recognition that this historical novel meets all editorial and ecclesial guidelines for accuracy. We feel honored to be awarded this approval for it is not easily granted. Additional information about any of our books may be found by tapping the covers on the right or by going to the Amazon website: goo.gl/MPqLV6.
Two thousand years ago, the Sea of Galilee was full of fish. The fishermen there were unusually pious holding an honorable place in society. After all, they provided the fish needed for everyday meals by following a dangerous profession.
Fishermen either used a round, throwing net, with leads all around the edge or worked with others to spread out a five-hundred-foot (or more) net from shore, one edge of which was taken out to sea by boat, and then returned farther down the beach in a huge semi-circle to other men who would then pull in the net and the fish trapped within.
The Galilean fishermen carefully set aside the various types of fish for they could be sold for differing amounts. Practicing Jews would not eat unclean fish—those without skin or scales—such as catfish and eels. Non-Jews would purchase these fish as well as scaled fish—trout, perch and pike. It was usual for the men of the villages to form co-ops so that major purchasers of fish could not play one off against another.
Being pious, patient, loyal and courageous, it should not seem strange that Jesus found his apostles Simon, Andrew, James, and John from their ranks. They would follow Him and become “fishers of men.”
Join the blog on the right or the author’s facebook page at goo.gl/2lWm2v.
Why was the olive tree mentioned so many times in the Bible? It existed in the Holy Land long before the Hebrews arrived. Olives may be eaten cooked or raw. The oil that is pressed from the fruit of the tree was used in cooking, lighting rooms, in medicine, and for religious anointing. Its wood was considered so valuable that Solomon used it to make the cherubim within the Temple. Yet, the tree grew so slowly that it seemed to live forever. Perhaps, its slow growth was due to the stony soil so pervasive together with a sun that never seemed to hide in Israel. In any case, the tree’s properties enthralled the Scripture writers who saw in this amazing tree a similarity between the human inhabitants of Judea and a bountiful, durable tree that can handle any adversary. See Eugenios for more on early Judeo-Christian lives. goo.gl/MPqLV6
Footwear worn two thousand years ago in the Middle East were of two kinds ordinarily. The traveler might wear hard hob-nailed sandals to make them stand up to long journeys. The day-to-day wear was more likely to be a camel-skin shoe with a sole made of palm-bark or rush. Neither shoe nor sandal were worn with socks. The Jews had brought back from Mesopotamia, the half-boot to which some later modified to include the four bands of the Romans. For inside wear, the common bedroom slipper, with which we are so familiar, was sometimes worn. However, in the sanctuary of the temple and in all holy places, everyone, regardless of rank, was required to walk barefoot.
The Royal Palace of Turin in Northern Italy houses some of the most beautiful tables ever designed with inlaid wood scenes encompassing the life and times of Jesus Christ. When one considers the time needed to layout and form the pictures with such amazing detail one can only gasp in wonder. How long were these skilled men, these artisans, apprentices before taking on such intricate scenes?
My good friend Barrie Schwortz, took the attached photos while a member of a scientific group (STERA) investigating the Shroud of Turin in 1978. With his permission, one of the tables is shown here. You can read more about the Shroud at www.Shroud.com. This website includes more original papers and scientific data on the Shroud, pro and con, than any other website in existence.
My novel (The Hidden Saint: The Sixteenth Century Church in Crisis) includes a scene in which St. Charles Borromeo walks barefoot over the Italian Alps to visit the Holy Shroud which is now housed in its own chapel adjoining the west wing of the Royal Palace of the House of Savoy in Turin. See my facebook account at www.goo.gl/2lWm2v and stay informed.