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Summer/Autumn 943

Events: The Caliph of Baghdad discusses with his council the conditions put forward by John Kourkouas. Reluctant to surrender the Mandylion, he finally succumbs to the arguments of former Vizier Ali ibn Iza, who argues that the chance of freeing Muslim captives from the hands of the Giaours must outweigh Read more…

Spring 943

Events: Byzantine army under John Kourkouas besieges Edessa. According to instructions received from Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, for the surrender of the Mandylion Kourkouas promises the Emir of Edessa the release of 200 captives, the sparing of the city and a guarantee of its inviolability for the future, and 12,000 Read more…

c. 700

Events: Forced to pay high taxes, the orthodox Christians of Edessa pledge the Mandylion to a wealthy monophysite, Athanasius bar Khamoro. According to rumour, Athanasius made a faithful copy of the Mandylion. If this was indeed the case, it is the one that has remained in the Jacobite Church of Read more…


Events: Muslims take control of Edessa after the Byzantines are driven out. Edessa’s Christians enjoy tolerance and the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, where the Mandylion is kept, is held in universal reverence. Comment: A mysterious replacement of the original with a copy.


Events: The cloth, now called the Mandylion, is mentioned by Evagrius Ponticus as a palladium miraculously defending Edessa from attack by the Persian army.


Events: A dangerous flood in Edessa in which 30,000 people die and almost all major public buildings are destroyed. During the work to reconstruct the walls, a cloth is found, hidden in a niche above the west gate. It bears the likeness of Christ, named acheiropoieton, or not made by Read more…

c. 177

Events: Return of tolerance towards Christians in Edessa under Abgar VIII (177–212). For a time on coins an effigy of Abgar appears with him wearing a tiara with a Christian cross. The 'portrait,’ however, remains hidden and gradually falls into oblivion; legend centres around an apocryphal exchange of letters between Read more…

c. 57

Events: Ma’nu VI, second son of Abgar V, ascends the throne of Edessa. Pagan reaction, persecution of Edessa Christians (’portrait’ disappears). Comment: The Shroud is hidden in a niche above the west gate of Edessa.

c. 30

Events: The crucifixion of Christ. The disciple Addai or Thaddeus, one of the seventy (cf. Luke 10:1), travels to Edessa, bringing with him the mysterious 'portrait’; Abgar V, toparch of Edessa, is healed and converts to Christianity. Comment: In order to hide the true nature of the 'unclean’ tomb linen, Read more…

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