The Templecombe Painting

St.Veronica's Veil

The head portrayed in the Templecombe painting is similar to the Shroud of Turin.  The cloth which carries an imprint of a man’s body; used to wrap the crucified body of Jesus Christ for burial.

It is believed the Templars came by it in 1204, when Crusaders captured Constantinople and ransacked it.

This relic called the “Mandylion” was held at Constantinople around 1000 AD.

Veronica, was the saint during Jesus Christ’s journey towards his crucifixion, who offered him her veil to wipe his face.  His likeness remained imprinted on the cloth for all time, and she took it to Rome.

It is believed the Knights Templar, copied the head image from the Shroud of Turin, which we know as the Mandylion.  Carbon-dating tests carried out on the painting, put the age around 1280 AD.

Some historians question its validity, and believe it be a copy of the Mandylion of the Eastern Orthodox Church, an important relic of Christendom.  The Mandylion is believed to be the cloth, bearing the image of Jesus Christ, when he was alive.

Knights Templar: Templecombe Head

Templecombe Head

Templecombe Head – Panel Painting

Just by chance, Molly Drew discovered a hidden treasure in 1945.  The painted face of a man looked down upon her, where the ceiling plaster of her cottage outhouse had fallen down.  This face had not seen the light of day, for some six hundred years or more.

This image became known as the “Templecombe Head,” a face amidst red, blue and green paint, faintly visible, painted on wooden panels, and supported by wire.

Bishop Wright the local Rector, removed the painting for cleaning and restoration.  In 1956 the painting was presented to St.Mary’s Church in Templecombe.

The image is that of a bearded man, either Jesus Christ or John the Baptist.  The style and detail of the painting are of a devotional style, but lacks signs of divinity; a halo or description.

How it came to be there, is anyone’s guess, but the area was the home of the Knights Templar.  With large scale arrests taking place and properties being searched.  Someone wanted to hide this simple painting, with the hope of retrieving it later… but that was not to be.

With the suppression of the Knights Templar, their lands and property fell into the hands of the Knights Hospitaller, who in turn lost it, when they backed the Pope not Henry VIII during England’s Tudor reign.

Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant

One of the most legendary objects in religious history, has to be the “Ark of the Covenant.”  Housed within a wooden box and overlaid with pure gold, containing the “Ten Commandments,” inscribed upon stone tablets.

  • It is believed the Ark, is responsible for bringing victory during battles.
  • Bestowing blessings upon worthy recipients.
  • Sending plagues down upon enemies.

The Ark of the Covenant, stand’s for God’s communion with Moses, when he led out the Israelites, to their own land.

King David conquered Jerusalem in 993 BC, and his son Solomon, built a temple to his God, between 958-951BC.  Solomon’s temple housed the Ark of the Covenant: A wooden casket covered in gold, holding the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Jerusalem and the history of the Jewish people, play a significant part in their religion.  For it is written in their writings that Abraham would prove himself to God, by sacrificing his own son; Isaac.  God stepped in, and sent a Ram, for Isaac to use, for sacrificial purposes.

Solomon’s Temple was built by Phoenician craftsmen.  The inner walls lined in gold, with marble blocks and fine emeralds adorning the temple.

Rehoboam became King of Israel as successor to his father; King Solomon.  Shishak, the Egyptian king ransacked Solomon’s Temple in the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign.

In 586 BC, the Babylonians completely destroyed Solomon’s Temple.

A second temple was built upon the site, between 535-515 BC.

Over the next 470 years, Persian rule gave way to the Greeks, then the Romans, with Herod the Great as its ruler.  In 20 BC Herod introduced courts and walls to Solomon’s second temple.

In 70 AD, Jews revolted against the Romans, and General Titus (Caesar) besieged the city and burnt the temple to the ground.

In the year 691, a shrine was built upon the site; “Dome of the Rock.”  By 715, the Al-Aqsa mosque was built alongside and destroyed by earthquakes over the next 300 years.  By 1035 a new mosque was constructed, and in 1118 became the headquarters of the Knights Templar (Holy Warriors) in the Holy Land.

The Knights Templar, dug deep tunnels underneath the Temple, as they sought out religious treasures and the fabled prize of all, “Ark of the Covenant,” one of the most important religious artefacts of all time.

Bas-Relief of the Ark

A bas-relief depicting the “Ark” can be found at Chartres Cathedral in France.  One has to ask, does the Ark of the Covenant, still remain within the Cathedral?

Claims were made by Louis Charpentier (20th century French author) that the original nine members of the Knights Templar, possibly discovered the “Ark” early on in the order’s history, whilst digging under Temple Mount.

A pillar, part of Chartres Cathedral, known as the Portal of the Initiates, features a carving of the Ark upon a wheeled cart.

What could this mean, and many historians have put forward their own interpretations:

The Templars discovered the Ark in Jerusalem, and moved it to France, coinciding with the construction of Chartres Cathedral.  When news of the Templar’s impending arrest in the 14th century leaked out, the Ark was moved from France to Scotland.

Louis Charpentier published: Les Mysteres de la Cathedrale de Chartres (The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral) in France of 1966.

The Holy Lance

Holy Lance of Longinus

The Holy Lance of Longinus

The Lance of Longinus:

Death by crucifixion was slow and agonising, taking several days.  By breaking one’s legs, the victim could not push up with their feet, for gasps of air.

Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves crucified with Jesus.

A centurion, who went by the name of Gaius Cassius Longinus, observed that Jesus was already dead.  Thus he thrust this lance into Christ’s side, and blood poured out.


Crucifixion - Giotto

Crucifixion by Giotto

Rome’s accounts tell us that Longinus was nearly blind, and after he thrust his lance into the side of Jesus Christ, some of his blood fell into his eyes… and his sight was fully restored.

Longinus left the army, having been converted and ultimately became a monk.  At Caesarea, Longinus ran afoul of the law, and was tortured by the authorities.  At some point he grabbed an axe, and destroyed several idols, as they broke, demons from within deprived the governor of his sight.

Longinus, the centurion turned monk, informed the governor, when he was dead his sight would be restored.  Longinus was executed by order of the governor, and as he was beheaded blood splashed into the governor’s eyes, and his sight was restored, and he became a believer of the Christian faith.

The lance became known as a religious relic, and according to history it was later buried at Antioch to prevent it falling into the hands of the Saracens.  In the latter part of the 6th century was moved to Jerusalem.

In 615 Jerusalem was captured and sacred relics fell into pagan hands, and the point of the lance, found its way by way of Nicetas to the Church of St.Sophia in Constantinople.  A second portion was seen in Jerusalem in 670 by Arculpus, and believed to have made its way to Constantinople before the 10th century.

Sir John Mandeville declared that he had physically seen both parts of the Holy Lance at Paris and Constantinople in 1357.  The relic at Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks and in 1492, the Sultan Bajazet gave it to Pope Innocent III, hoping to gain the Pope’s favour as his brother Zizim was the Pope’s prisoner.

Since that day, this segment has never left the confines of Rome and is preserved under the Dome of St.Peter’s.

One Benedict XIV, matched the drawing of the one held in Paris with the one in Rome, and confirmed that the two parts had formed one blade; The Holy Lance of Longinus

The Lance of Antioch:

Lance of Antioch

The Lance of Antioch

Before the Knights Templar were disbanded in 1314, they had established the largest banking system across Europe, owning thousands of castles and areas of land.  They are said to have amassed much spiritual wealth and religious artifacts associated with the life and death of Jesus Christ.

So which is the genuine Holy Lance which was thrust into the body of Jesus Christ, as he hung on the cross?

On the 10th June 1098, during the First Crusade to the Holy Land, Peter Bartholomew a monk and servant of Count Raymond’s army presented himself before Raymond and Bishop Adhemar.  He described visions he had received, over the last few months, relating to the holy lance.  Saint Andrew had told him, it be buried in St.Peter’s Cathedral at Antioch.  Count Raymond believed the monk’s story, as it was uttered by a man of God, but Bishop Adhemar wasn’t so sure.

News of the vision spread like wildfire, and then a priest proclaimed he had a similar vision, it was enough to put any doubts that Bishop Adhemar had about the story, out of his mind.

On the 14th June, a meteor fell into the Turks encampment, and it was seen as a good omen.

On the 15th June Raymond of Toulouse, Raymond of Aguilers, Peter Bartholomew were part of a group that went to the Cathedral at Antioch.  Peter Bartholomew cried out with excitement when his hands fell upon the lance, embedded in the ground.

Bishop Adhemar had doubts about its authenticity, but kept quiet, not wanting to put a dampener on things, as the city rejoiced at its discovery.

The Crusaders by now, suffered from lack of food in Antioch, and desperately needed to leave, but beyond its walls lay the Turks, in waiting.

On the 28th June, the Crusader army marched out of the city in formation, with the Holy Lance affixed to a standard leading the army.

When Kerbogha observed the Crusaders, he offered a truce, but these crusaders marched forward.  The Turks unable to break their formation began deserting, and when Dukah of Damascus took his forces away, the Turk army collapsed, for they offered no opposition to these Crusaders.

They marched south, as towns fell to these Crusaders, and Peter Bartholomew received regular visions from an angel, but when he offered military tactics, these skeptics questioned these visions.

Peter was challenged to undergo an ordeal by fire, to prove he was divinely guided.  Peter walked a path between flames, and expected to be protected by God’s angel.  This did not go as expected, for he was badly burnt, and died twelve days later.

(Image) Holy Lances: Wikipedia
(Image) Crucifixion: Giotto

The Turin Shroud

The Shroud of Turin

What is the Turin Shroud?

The Turin Shroud is a linen cloth, measuring 4.37 metres in length and 1.13 metres wide.  It is the cloth, which was used to wrap the naked body of Jesus Christ, when taken down from the cross and placed in his tomb, by Joseph of Arimathae.

Upon the cloth, one can observe a faint image of a naked man, purported to be displaying a beard.  Marks would indicate where they crucified him upon the cross, nailing him through his hands and feet.  One can observe the mark, where he bled, when a Roman soldier, thrust his spear into his side.

In 1204, Knights Templar obtained what is known as the Turin Shroud, as Constantinople fell to the crusaders, in the Fourth Crusade.

Knight Templar, Geoffrey de Charney had been burnt alongside Jaques de Molay at the stake, on charges of heresy on the 18th March 1314, in the shadow of the Notre Dame in Paris.

Madame de Charney, the widow of Geoffrey de Charney’s bephew, produced the cloth, the “Shroud of Turin” in 1357.  It was put up on display in a church in Troyes, France.  The Cluny Museum of Paris displays the arms of De Charney, along with a pilgrim medallion showing the Shroud.

In 1453, Margaret de Charney, bequeathed the Shroud to the House of Savoy.

In 1532, the Shroud suffered from fire damage, where it was being be stored; the Chambery Chapel in the Savoy region.  Poor Clare Nuns repaired the damage using patches to the rear.

In 1578, the Shroud was transferred to Turin.

Repairs to the Shroud were undertaken in 1694 by Sebastian Valfre, in 1868 by Clotilde of Savoy.  Then in 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See.

In 1997, fire threatened the Shroud, and in 2002, the cloth was restored.

(Image) Turin Shroud: ancient-origins