A religious term for a cloth bearing the likeness of Jesus imprinted
miraculously. The term was coined by St. Gregory of
Tours (538594 C.E.), deriving from the Greek icon (image) and
Latin vera (true).
The story of veronica is that a woman of rank, living in the
Via Dolorosa, broke through the procession of Jesus crucifixion
when it stopped for Simon of Cyrene to assist in carrying
the cross. The woman, usually named as Seraphia (sometimes
called Veronica), wiped the face of Jesus with a cloth, and the
miraculous portrait became impressed from the blood and
sweat. Other versions of the story claim that the woman simply
handed the cloth to Jesus, who wiped his own face and returned
the cloth. A detailed and highly circumstantial version of the
incident was given by Anne Catherine Emmerich (see Germany)
when in an ecstatic trance.
A claimed veronica was placed in a marble coffer on the altar
of a chapel attached to St. Peters in Rome during the period
of Sixtus V, but it was moved in 1440 and is said to be deposited
in the Vatican. Another cloth with a similar miraculous portrait
was presented by two Fathers to the seventh synod of Nice, C.E.
787. Such miraculous likenesses not made by people are also
known as Acheropites.
In 1813, when a vault was opened in St. Georges Chapel,
Windsor, England, one of the coffins, believed to be that of
Charles I, was opened and a portrait found on the grave cloth
which had wrapped the body. The myth which surrounds the
Turin Shroud is quite similar to that of the veronicas.