(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Veronica in the Bible?

Question: Hello: I have a lot of interest in knowing when Santa Verónica is celebrated. There must be more than one because when I consult, I find different days according to the sources asked. Also, my interest is in the Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus on the way to Calvary?.

Answer: According to tradition, not history, Veronica (or Berenice) was a pious woman who lived in Jerusalem. His name appears for the first time in an apocryphal document called The Acts of Pilate,” which says that during the process Jesus, a woman named Bernike or Berenice (Βερενίκη in Greek or Veronica in Latin), shouted from afar: “I suffered a flow of blood, I touched the border of their clothes and was cured, “ to which the Jews replied: ” We have a law by which a woman cannot testify

Meaning of the name Veronica

Veronica is a Latin name for girls .
The meaning is `victory ‘
the name Veronica is most often given to Italian girls. The chance is more than 50 times that girls are called Veronica.

Veronica scene in “The Passion” by Mel Gibson (2004)

 Mark 5:25-34


Tradition tells us that when Jesus was on his way to Calvary carrying the cross, a woman became tender and approaching Him, she wiped her face with her veil. Jesus allowed it, and his face was miraculously printed on the cloth. But to complicate everything a little more, a document called “Mors Pilati” explains the way in which Veronica got the portrait of Christ: “She wanted to have a representation of the face of Jesus; he asked for the veil on which the painter would have to work and allowed him to paint his face

” Almost nothing! And keep talking about a Volusian – less cruel than the Volusian of the “Vindicta Salvatoris”– who made her go to Rome and there she introduced him to Emperor Tiberius, who was cured as soon as he saw the Sacred Face. Before dying, Veronica would deliver the relic to Pope St. Clement.

There is an apocryphal document from the 5th century called “Doctrine of Addai” where it is said that this image of the Lord was sent to the daughter of the king of Edessa who, coincidentally, was also called Berenice. This is the opposite of what is said in the “Pilate Acts” What to think of all this mess? In my opinion, that everything is a pure story of alleys, but I have to recognize that the theory is prevalent in which, mixing the history of the Holy Face and the Veronica, it is identified with the haemorrhage of the Gospels. But in reality, nothing can happen as real science.

Eusebio, in his “Ecclesiastical History”, speaking about Caesarea Philippi, says verbatim that“I do not consider it convenient to silence a story that should go to posterity. The haemorrhoid which was cured of her illness by the Savior is said to have come from this same city; Here is his house and there is a memorial of the miracle performed by the Redeemer.

On a rock in front of the house where the haemorrhoid room is, there is a bronze statue of a woman on her knees and with her hands outstretched in an attitude of imploring; On the back of it, there is another sculpture that represents a man standing wrapped in a cloak and holding out his hand to the woman. 

At his feet, along the way, a plant of unknown species grows and rises to the edge of the bronze mantle. This plant is very efficient because it cures all diseases. It is said that the statue represents Jesus and thus has remained to this day; we had seen it with our own eyes when we were in that city ”. Sozomeno tells that this sculpture in honour of the Savior was destroyed during the persecution of Julian the Apostate.

This description of the inclined haemorrhoid with the outstretched imploring hands and of the Lord who extends his hand could lead to think that she is the one who, since the mid-fifteenth century, in the West, is represented as a pious woman who dries the face of the Savior when I was on my way to Calvary.

However, nothing authorizes confusing or rejecting the person of haemorrhoids – called Bernike (Veronica) in the ancient seventh chapter of the “Pilate Acts”-, with all subsequent variants of the image of the Savior miraculously printed on a cloth. 

One is real and, most likely, the other is a variant of the first. Haemorrhage existed as the Gospels attest, but Veronica can only be a pious tradition without a real basis. And let’s not talk about the French culture that says that Veronica was the woman of Zacchaeus and that they both went to Gaul to preach Christianity! As it is mentioned in the University: “This is already to get a note”.

However, in the sixteenth century, the Venerable Cardinal Baronio – and Baronio of my faults! – inscribed in his annals the arrival of Veronica in Rome bringing this precious relic and thus, began his holiday on February 4. San Carlos Borromeo himself – of whom we have to write – composed a trade and a Mass in Ambrosian rite.

But since this story still lacks something related to some mystical vision that could confirm it, it came in 1844 when a French Carmelite nun named Sister Maria de San Pedro, had an idea in which Santa Verónica appeared to him cleaning his face to Christ, who also told him that the sacrilegious acts and blasphemies of today added to the mud, dust and saliva that made the face of the Savior dirty.

This was worth so that devotion to the Holy Face was strengthened in many European locations, mainly French, Italian and Spanish and that, even, some religious Congregations made reference to this new devotion, which was finally approved by Leo XIII, on July 12 of 1885.

Obviously, Verónica’s name does not appear in any of the ancient historical martyrologies and even in old ones. In the iconographic theme, I do not also want to enter, because besides being complicated, it is not my forte.



– VANNUTELLI, P., “Actorum Pilati textus synoptici” , Rome, 1938.

– SPADAFORA, F., “Bibliotheca sanctorum” volume XII, Città N. Editrice, Rome, 1990

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