VOLTO SANTO – the HOLY FACE
at the Sanctuary of the Holy Sepulcher at Miechow, Poland.
The Volto Santo installation is intended to encourage visitors to reflect and meditate on the mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, leading to self-reflection resulting from a personal confrontation with the greatest Event in the history of the world.
The installation was designed in an immersive convention. Architecture, space, all used means of expression interact with visitors, in order to give an impression of being at the center of the event.
The installation is enclosed in a confined space, centered closely around the main topic.
The intention of the authors of the installation is not to present evidence of the history, but to induce emotion, encourage reflection and spiritual experience. While inspiring further consideration and religious reading, the installation spreads knowledge of the Veil of Manoppello, an acheiropoieton, a made-without-hands perpetuated image of Jesus Christ’s face.
The installation is placed in a space of one hall covered with two cross vaults.
The space is divided into two separate but complementary narrative chambers:
- The Chamber of Expectancy. A place for visitors’ reception, traffic management, but also spiritual preparation. Here people can compose themselves before entering the next chamber. A monitor with a presentation of the subject, basic explanations, is placed here.
- Chamber of Testimony. Visitors are directed on a spiral ramp rising to 250 cm from the floor level (entrance) to the plateau, then turn downwards to the floor level (exit). At the center of the chamber there is a shrouded figure of Jesus Christ, with the Veil of Manoppello placed on it. Both walls and floors supporting the passage path are made of stone imitation in an off-white color. An important role in this space is played by the light piercing the shroud canvas.
The arranged scene is not intended to reconstruct the real, historical event but to evoke profound emotions. It aims to enrich ones’ emotional sphere and therefore does not compete with images that have been already consolidated in the audience’s consciousness.
INSTALLATION EXPOSURE PERIOD
The project is conceived as a perennial installation located at the Sanctuary of the Holy Sepulcher at Miechow, Poland.
Monitor in the Chamber of Expectancy
A screen of considerable size, placed on the wall between the entrance and exit of the exposition, shows looped movie sequence and animations which – along with the music – prepare visitors for their facing the Mystery.
Finally, the most important animation appears on the monitor. The image of the Face of the Turin Shroud with characteristic points and the Veil of Manoppello, sliding from both sides of the screen to meet at the middle. A unified, full picture is created, leaving no doubt that it constitutes an image of the same Man, photographed at the moment immediately preceding and at the time of resurrection.
The Lord’s body in the tomb was wrapped in a strip of canvas, which we now call the Turin Shroud, on his face there was laid the Veil of Manoppello.
“When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (J 20, 6-8).
It can be presumed that St. John believed when he saw the veil with a photograph of the Lord’s face. However, the veil was certainly so special that the Evangelist gave it a separate mention.