« The Templar Mandylion »
Relations of a Breton Calvary with the Shroud
and the Templar Knights
Abstract of a paper presented at Dallas Symposium
organised by the Shroud Science Group
Paper in PDF format
In Britanny (France), north-west of the town of Quimper, on the heights of Douarnenez bay, the author of this paper discovered in September 2001, a very strange Calvary located in the " Red-Cross Field " near a chapel called in French " Sainte-Marie du Menez-Hom ". According to the tradition, this Calvary was built on the site of a treasure buried by the Templars before the action against their Order between 1307 and 1314 under the reign of the French King Philippe Le Bel. On this Calvary, an icon representing " a head " in the center of a stone-sculpted and landscaped frame offers disconcerting resemblances to the head of the Turin Shroud man. This Shroud was known in Antiquity under the name of Mandylion. The author shows here that it is probably the representation of the " head " adored by the Templar Knights during their secret ceremonies of initiation, whence the name of " Templar Mandylion " whom he gave to this discovery.
Analysis of Calvary : geographical position, orientation, dimensions, cross components and inscriptions on the pedestal. Comparison between Templar Mandylion, TS, and Mandylion of Edessa. Historical environment before, during, and after the discovery of the " tetradyplon " in Constantinople in 944. Comparison with the Veronica. Comparison with the Templar Panel found in Templecombe, Somerset, England. Comparison with other calvaries of the 13th century also located in a " Red-Cross Field " and attested as being of templar origin. Search for similar icons on nearly 3000 Breton Calvaries. Analysis of dates and inscriptions found on the pedestal of the Calvary and interpretation. Analysis of marks present on the Mandylion icon and the Calvary.
The icon of Templar Mandylion has four very particular characteristics of the TS head: the mark " E " on the face, some marks of blows on the cheeks, a swollen nose, a bifidus beard. In addition, this icon has three marks characteristic of the image of Edessa: it is held by an angel that symbolically means it is an " acheiropo´etic " image (not made by the hand of man), the " head " of the icon is presented within a landscaped frame like the image of Edessa, this frame has a 2:1 dimensional ratio between width and height which is compatible with the folded-TS dimensions when it was mounted in a Persian style frame as Mandylion or image of Edessa.
This study suggests that if this Calvary has these remarkable characteristics it is not by the chance. The only valid explanation that can advanced is that the sculptor of the Calvary saw the original or an extremely precise copy of the TS " head " very closely and then engraved the various components in the stone of the Calvary. The representation of Mandylion in the shape of an icon within a landscaped frame similar to the frame of the image of Edessa can be explained only by a precise chronology of the events which made the history of the TS. In addition, it should be noted that while the Shroud disappeared between 1206 and 1350, a templar worship of a " magic head " or Baphomet appeared towards 1265. This worship was declared " idolatrous " in 1307 at the time of the arrest of Templars by the King of France Philippe le Bel, and was used as the indictment basis for the inquisitors of the Holy Office during the Trial of the Templars until 1314.
The study of this Calvary seems to date it back to the 13th century and to attest of its templar origin. The components present on the Calvary and in particular the icon of Mandylion bring indirect elements of historical knowledge of the TS and its passage in the hands of Templars.