« Verecundus Veronica Vespasianus, Titus Flavius »


Veronica (Haemorrhoissa, ἡ αἱμοῤῥοοῦσα), the woman cured of a bloody issue (Matt. ix. 20). Eusebius (H. E. vii. 18) relates that she was a native of Caesarea Philippi, and adds that "at the gates of her house, on an elevated stone, stands a brazen image of a woman on a bended knee, with her hands stretched out before her, like one entreating. Opposite to this there is another image of a man erect, of the same materials, decently clad in a mantle, and stretching out his hand to the woman. Before her feet, and on the same pedestal, there is a strange plant growing which, rising as high as the hem of the brazen garment, is a kind of antidote to all kinds of diseases. This statue, they say, is a statue of Jesus Christ, and it has remained even until our times, so that we ourselves saw it whilst tarrying in that city. Nor is it to be wondered at that those of the Gentiles who were anciently benefited by our Saviour should have done these things. Since we have also seen representations of the apostles Peter and Paul and of Christ Himself still preserved in paintings, it is probable that, according to a practice among the Gentiles, the ancients were accustomed to pay this kind of honour indiscriminately to those who were as saviours or deliverers to them. Legendary tradition about Veronica flourished during and after 4th cent. Macarius Magnesius says she was princess of Edessa, and that her name was Veronica or Berenice (Macarii Magnet. ed. Blondel, Paris, 1876; Tillem. Mém. i. 20; Hist. des emp. iv. 308), following whom Baronius (Annal. xxxi. 75) makes her rich and noble. A late tradition represents her as a niece of king Herod and as offering her veil, or a napkin, as a sudarium to the suffering Christ on the Way of the Cross, Whose pictured features were thus impressed upon the linen. This tradition has found no acceptance since the 11th cent.; the "veronicas" often shewn, and accredited with miraculous powers of healing, are face-cloths from the catacombs on which Christian reverence and affection have painted the features of the Saviour (see Wyke Bayliss, Rex Regum, 1905), and the legend has arisen from the finding of these; the name of the saint being clearly formed from the description of such a face-cloth as a vera icon. The Gospel of Nicodemus introduces her as one of the witnesses on behalf of Christ at His trial by Pilate; (Thilo, Cod. Apocryph. N. T. p. 560; Acta SS. Bol. Jul. iii. 273–279).

[G.T.S. AND ED.]

« Verecundus Veronica Vespasianus, Titus Flavius »
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