The Mandylion of Edessa

Categories: Features

A young St. Jude bringing the Mandylion of the Holy Face to King Abgar of Edessa, 10th century. Via Wikimedia Commons.

What is St. Jude Carrying?

To many people, St. Jude appears to be carrying a coin, and unfortunately, sometimes you will see him represented with bags of coins, as a kind of “good-luck charm,” which is not what St. Jude was doing, nor how he would want to be seen.

Rather, he is carrying a Mandylion, that is, a cloth, upon which Jesus imprinted His Holy Face to answer a request by King Abgar of Edessa (modern-day Turkey), who was suffering from leprosy or other serious disease.  Hearing of this wonder-worker, Jesus of Nazareth, he sent a servant to ask for Him to come and heal him.  Jesus answered that He could not go, but that He would send His own apostle and servant, St. Jude, in His place, with an image.  King Abgar was cured, and the Mandylion was given a place of honor in the palace.

What St. Jude is doing is not bringing wealth of coinage, but true wealth, Jesus Christ, to those who seek Him.  Should we not do the same?