(also Berenice, Beronice, and Verenice), is described by tradition to have been a pious woman of Jerusalem, who was moved with pity on beholding the bloody and perspiring face of our Lord when on the way to crucifixion, and manifested her sympathy by giving him her head-cloth to wipe off the perspiration. In response to her kindness, the Savior imprinted his features, all distorted as they were with pain and suffering, on the cloth, and gave it back to her for a memorial and token of his love. This is declared to be the origin of one of the oldest of those representations of Christ's features which are said to have not been made with hands (εἰκόνες ἀχειροποίητοι θεότευκ τοι), and which have given rise to the Christs of Correggio and other famous painters of the Middle Ages, and also to the class of hymns which are addressed to the head of Jesus, e.g. the very ancient sequence Salve Sacra Facies, St. Bernard's Salve Caput Cruentatum, Paul Gerhard's O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, etc.
Various modifications of the legend are:
1. Veronica (or rather Βερονίκη) was the woman who had the issue of blood and was healed by touching the hem of Christ's garment (Mt 9:20 sq.). She is said by Eusebius (H.E. 7:17 sq.) to have subsequently erected a statue to Jesus in her native town of Paneas, in Syro-Phoenicia. This is the statement of John Malala, about A.D. 600, in his Chronographia, p. 305.
2. Veronica was a niece of Herod the Great by Salome-an evident confounding of Berenice, the mother of Herodius and grandmother of Salome, with Veronica.
3. Veronica died as a martyr at Antioch, in company with fifty other virgins (Bede and others).
4. Veronica was beloved of Amatus, who was described as "famulus S. Virginis Mariae et Josephi, et Dominus bajalus ac nutritius." Amatus accompanied her in later years to Rome, and thence in the train of St.
Martial to Gaul, where he led a holy life in imitation of the hermits of Mount Carmel, and died in A.D. 75. 5. The tradition usually received in the West states that the emperor Tiberius ordered Veronica to Rome that the touch of her sweat-cloth might cure his leprosy, and that when the cure was effected she persuaded Tiberius to exile Pilate in punishment for having sentenced Jesus to death. Veronica afterwards remained in Rome with her wonderful sudarium, and in her will gave the cloth to Clement, the successor of Peter, by whom it was transmitted to succeeding popes. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore boasted its possession since pope John VII (705), but it is now claimed by St. Peter's at Rome. Only persons of princely degree who have been admitted to the rank of titulary canons of St. Peter's are permitted to look upon it. Milan, and Jaen, in Spain, however, both assert that the cloth is in their possession (see Benedict XIV [Lambertini ], De Servorum Dei Beatificat. etc. 4:2, 31). Down to the 13th century the cloth itself, and not the woman, was called Veronica, a fact which throws doubt upon the authenticity of the legend as a whole. Papebroch, Mabillon, and others reached the conclusion that Veronica was originally a corruption of the words (part Latin, part Greek) vera icon (εἰκών), and signifies simply a true, authentic likeness, and many modern critics adopt that view. Grimm (Sage vom Ursprung der Christusbilder, p. 86) says that the legend of Veronica is simply the Occidental version of the Eastern tradition of Abgarus (q.v.) of Edessa, which narrates that Christ sent both an autograph letter and an-authentic portrait of himself to that prince. The traditional dwelling of Veronica in Jerusalem was shown, situated by the way from the house of Pilate to Calvary, in very recent times.
See Bolland, Acta SS. Feb. 4, 1, 449 sq.; Baronius, Anal. ad An. 34, No. 138; Gretser, Syntagma de Intaginibus non Macnu Factis (Ingolst. 1622); Chifflet, De Linteis Chisti Sepulchr. Servatis Crisis Historica (Antv. 1624); Beausobre, Des Images de Main Divine, in the Biblioth. German. 18:10; Tillemont, Memoires, 1, 471 sq.; Gieseler, Kirchengesch. 1, 86; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.