Come and see! –

“Master, where are you staying? He replied, Come and see!”

(John 1:38-39)

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The “Santuario del Volto Santo” or “Basilica of the Holy Face” is the pilgrimage church run by the Capuchin monks on a hill not far from the historic town center and harbors the veil of Veronica within its walls. Built in 1620, it was renovated and expanded in 1960, when it was given a facade of red and white stone which was modeled on the facade of the Romanesque-Early Gothic church of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila. In 1999, a permanent exhibition entitled “Penuel” (Hebrew: “Face of the Lord”) was installed next to the basilica. The exhibition on the upper floor entitled “The Transformation of Jesus in Western and Eastern Iconography” is also worth visiting.

Two processions with the veil of Veronica take place every year: A longer procession on the third Sunday in May and a shorter one on August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. On the morning of the procession in May, the statue of St. Pancras is brought from the parish church to the Basilica of the Holy Face, and later leads off the procession with the veil of Veronica. The connection between the veil of Veronica and St. Pancras can be made with the help of the New Testament apocrypha. In a decree of the apostle Peter in the Acts of St. Pancras, the first bishop of Taormina, it states, “Carry the image of our Lord Jesus Christ over here and exhibit it in the tower, so that the people can see what guise the Son of God has taken on”.