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“THEY ALSO WILL ANSWER HIM SAYING, 'LORD WHEN DID WE SEE YOU   
HUNGRY OR THIRSTY OR A STRANGER OR NAKED OR SICK OR IN PRISON 
AND DID NOT MINISTER TO YOU'?"                                     MATTHEW 25:44

 

Holy Sites -- Gila's Highlights

 

As you celebrated Easter this year, did you recall your Jerusalem walk along the Way of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa?  (If you haven't been yet to Jerusalem, I imagine this walk is certainly on your list of "must do" s.)  Do you remember visiting "Pilate's Judgment Hall" and then being jostled by the bustling crowds of shoppers, pilgrims
and vendors while imaging Jesus falling under the weight of the cross as he heads for Calvary?
 

Pilgrims carrying the cross as they walk the Stations of the Cross

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

American pilgrims carrying the cross as they walk the Stations of the Cross

 
And do you have a memory of Veronica?
 
As Easter approached, the most searched for phrase on my website was "Veronica wipes the face of Jesus bible verse."  As I noted this most popular search item, I laughed to myself, thinking, "Good luck finding a Bible verse about Veronica!"  In fact, there is no such woman in the Gospels named Veronica.  The name simply means "true" (vera in Latin) "image" (icon in Greek).
 

Facade of Station Six where Veronica wiped Jesus' face with her handkerchief

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Facade of Station Six where "Veronica wiped Jesus' face"

 
Station number six on the Via Dolorosa, however, marks the site of the home of Veronica, that noble Jerusalem matron who came forward with a linen cloth in her hands to wipe the dust and blood off Jesus' face.  Tradition has it that she was the nameless woman who was twelve years under an issue of blood who had been cured by touching the fringe of Jesus' garment while he was being thronged by the multitudes at Capernaum. (Luke 8)  In persistent gratitude, she followed Jesus afterwards, wherever he went.
 
As she wiped Jesus' forehead, the image of his face became imprinted upon the cloth. News of this phenomenon allegedly spread all the way to Rome where the emperor Tiberias summoned her.  Legend has it, that just by looking upon the image of Jesus' face upon the linen cloth, Tiberias was cured of his affliction.  Thereafter, the handkerchief acquired the name, "The Veronica," i.e. the "true image."  Later, as the rumor of its miraculous qualities went viral, the handkerchief popularly became known as "Veronica's handkerchief."
 
And what happened to that handkerchief?
 
Here's Mark Twain's take, during his 1867 holy land pilgrimage:
 
"We crossed a street, and came presently to the former residence of St. Veronica. When the Savior passed there, she came out, full of womanly compassion, and spoke pitying words to him, undaunted by the hootings and the threatenings of the mob, and wiped the perspiration from his face with her handkerchief.
 
We had heard so much of St. Veronica, and seen her picture by so many masters, that it was like meeting an old friend unexpectedly to come upon her ancient home in Jerusalem.  The strangest thing about the incident that has made her name so famous, is, that when she wiped the perspiration away, the print of the Savior's face remained upon the handkerchief, a perfect portrait, and so remains unto this day.
 
We knew this, because we saw this handkerchief in a cathedral in Paris, in another in Spain, and in two others in Italy.  In the Milan cathedral it costs five francs to see it, and at St. Peter's, at Rome, it is almost impossible to see it at any price.  No tradition is so amply verified as this of St. Veronica and her handkerchief."
 
The legend of Veronica's handkerchief was even incorporated in the 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ.  As one of my favorite pastors puts it, "It's not in the book, but it's definitely in the movie!"
 

Jerusalem street sign for the Via Dolorosa or Way of the Cross

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Jerusalem street sign for the Via Dolorosa, or Way of the Cross

 
Today, Via Dolorosa station number six is managed by the order of the Little Sisters of Jesus who hand-craft simple wooden icons of Veronica holding a handkerchief with the image of Jesus' face.  It's quite the spiritual token of affection for a Catholic friend.
 
When you come to Jerusalem, you will encounter lots of legends and traditions enmeshed within the historical biblical sites.  Let's not sneeze at them.  They add a memorable layer of color and contour (and fun) to your biblical journey.
 

Copyright 2012, 2013 Gila Yudkin.  Permission needed for any reuse.

 
Gila Yudkin is a former Connecticut Yankee living now in King David's Court.  She
has been walking in the footsteps of Peter, Paul and Mary -- and Jesus for over three decades.  While offering biblical insights gained from archeological discoveries, Gila enjoys spinning tales about our favorite biblical heroes.

When 31-year-old Mark Twain returned to the U.S. after his holy land pilgrimage in 1867, he was acclaimed as the Great American Humorist.  Check out Mark Twain's tips for holy land pilgrims.  They are as relevant – and funny -- as ever!

You are probably familiar with other holy icons such as the true cross, the Holy Grail, and the shroud of Turin.  But are you familiar with holy land icons such as the menorah, the Jerusalem cross, the shofar and St. Peter's fish?  If not, you may want to check out Holy Land Icons.
 

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"Holy Sites: Gila's Highlights"

 

"Let's talk about Veronica at Station Six" (as text without the photos) is one in the series of free bimonthly e-letters sent on request to tour leaders, pastors, clergy, teachers, Bible students, colleagues and friends.  If you'd like to receive "Holy Sites: Gila's Highlights" every other month, please contact Gila. 

 

NEW!!!  PDF Pilgrim Guide to the Stations of the Cross

 
A perfect guide for the perplexed pilgrim coming to Jerusalem for the first time: 
Pilgrim Guide to the Stations of the Cross.  And if you are coming with your
church group, it is an excellent resource for your group devotions along the Way
of the Cross.
 
The illustrated PDF Pilgrim Guide to the Stations of the Cross shows the below landmarks and many more, so you will be able to locate the stations with ease and concentrate on the spiritual aspect of your devotional walk.
 

Jesus falls for the first time

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross for Jesus

About Veronica!

     

Station VII -- Jesus falls for the second time

Jesus is nailed to the cross

Stone of Unction

 
More info on the Pilgrim Guide to the Stations of the Cross


GILA YUDKIN TCHERNIKOVSKI 64A JERUSALEM ISRAEL
gila@itsgila.com

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Holy Land Photography by Gila Yudkin