It is Jesus’s “Holy Towel”, once visited by pilgrims in the belief that it showed the face of Christ, formed when he dried his wet head on a piece of cloth and left an indelible mark.

The Christian relic the Mandylion of Edessa usually takes pride of place in the Pope’s private Matilda chapel in the Vatican. It is rarely seen in public, and is one of the earliest images of Jesus – although there is scholarly disagreement about whether the facecloth is the original or a copy made 400 years after the life of Christ.

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