A Forgotten and Magnificent Relic to be Displayed in Cahors, France

December 30, 2018
Source: fsspx.news

An exceptional relic that was used to cover Christ’s face after His crucifixion will soon be exposed in Cahors, France, for the 900th anniversary of the cathedral.

Everything – or almost everything – has been written about the Holy Shroud of Turin, but how many of our readers know of the Holy Headdress? It is a funeral cloth traditionally believed to have been used to cover Our Lord’s face after He was taken down from the Cross.

The Holy Headdress has been preserved in its reliquary, a masterpiece of the treasury of the Saint-Gausbert cathedral, for the past 900 years. It survived the most dramatic episodes of French history unharmed, which is in itself nothing short of a miracle.

How authentic is this exceptional relic?

Tradition tells that it was acquired by Charlemagne, who presented it to Ayma, the bishop of the city of Cahors, in 803. Another source says the relic came to Cahors later, and was installed by Bishop Géraud de Cardaillac, upon his return from the Holy Land in the 12th century.

The scientific community has studied this ritual funeral cloth. The famous Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion examined it in 1844. He was able to conclude that the cloth was made of Egyptian linen and was characteristic of the early centuries of Christianity.

In our days, Isabelle Rooryck, Heritage curator, explains that the bloodstains on the cloth are similar to those on the shroud of Turin. She explains how striking similarities can be seen and lead faithful to believe that both cloths were used on one and the same body:

A large bloodstain can be seen inside the Headdress and goes right through it on the lower part of the right cheek, the same place where the Shroud of Turin shows the beard was torn out. A wound can also be seen on the arch of the left eyebrow and can be considered as the same wound seen on the Shroud. Several other smaller marks of blood show the wounds inflicted by a crown of thorns.

There is nothing surprising about the number of relics Tradition associates with the burial of Christ; St. John, an eyewitness to the empty tomb on Easter morning, writes in His Gospel: “Simon Peter saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place.” (Jn. 20:6-7)

A New Reliquary

Often exhibited in Cahors for ordinations ceremonies – that have grown rare in our days of de-Christianization – the Holy Headdress will exceptionally be carried in a procession on Easter Saturday, April 27, 2019, in its new gilded bronze reliquary. Above it is a dome decorated with angels and the figure of St. Didier, one of the bishops of Cahors, Charlemagne, and Pope Callixtus II.