the Story of “the Holy Face of Lucca” (de Lucca Volto Santo) has long overgrown with legends that only helped a wooden crucifix become one of the key artifacts for pilgrims. Of course, in St. Martin’s Cathedral in the Italian city of Lucca is only a copy of the crucifixion. But only now scientists have discovered that it is more than 1000 years. And this is the most ancient wooden statue of Christ in Europe.

For centuries, in the beautiful Tuscan town on the Mediterranean sea, the legions of pilgrims came to venerate one of the most valuable relics of the Christian world — a wooden crucifix with a height of two and a half meters, known as the “Connector Santo de Lucca” (de Lucca Volto Santo). This magnificent work of religious art, carved from dark cedar wood. The body of Christ is depicted in a tunic with long sleeves, painted black. The Holy Face is made of dark brown wood, and the beard, hair and eyes painted black.

According to one legend, the sculpture was carved by Nicodemus, the biblical character who helped Joseph Arimathaea to remove Christ’s body from the cross in the gospel of John. Nicodemus did all the work on the thread except the face. He was afraid that will not do it properly and left unfinished work for the night. And when I woke up, saw the beautifully carved face of an angel wonderful creation. The crucifix of the Holy Face was buried in a cave for safekeeping, where it remained for centuries.

hundreds of years Later, the Italian Bishop of Galfredo found him during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. To allow God to decide where you want to keep the crucifix, the Bishop allowed him adrift on a ship without crew in the Mediterranean sea. He miraculously sailed for the Tuscan coast, where an angel helped to hold the relic to her final resting place in the Cathedral of Lucca.

June 19, 2020 science has provided society with another story, according to which artifact is the oldest preserved wooden figures in Europe.

“the Latest study opens a new Chapter in the history of art,” says Annamaria Giusti, one of the most famous restorers of art in Italy and consultant of the Cathedral of St. Martin. Speaking at a press conference, he said that the relic dates back to the period between the late eighth century and the middle of the IX century. This raises new questions about its origin and iconography, will lead to new areas of research.

“Volto Santo is believed to be one of the true icons of Christ, comparable to the shroud of Turin (according to legend, it wrapped Jesus after his death and stored it in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin. – Approx. ed.)” says Stefano Martinelli, art historian and expert on iconography.

Although the crucifix was the subject of many theological discUSSI, the attention of critics it has attracted only about a century ago. Then scientists came to the conclusion that the current relic is a copy made in the twelfth century. And the original VIII century irretrievably lost. However, this theory was strongly refuted by the new radiocarbon results.

In December of last year experts from the National Institute of nuclear physics took three samples of wood from the crucifixion, one with each hand and with the lower part of the mantle of Jesus, as well as a tiny sample of the layer of the canvas, allowing the paint to be attached to the sculpture.

Laboratory testing has dated wood by the end of the VII century and the middle of the IX. “Usually the canvas gives a more accurate Dating. Because wood can be cut for several years before use. Found the canvas was the perfect solution,” says Mariaelena Fedi, who led the research.

But, according to Reverend Paolo Giulietti, Archbishop of Lucca, enthusiasm for the new Dating should not detract from the religious significance of the crucifixion. “For 12 centuries countless pilgrims have come to pray, to touch, to cry, to rejoice to that image,” says the priest.

it is only one fact – unlike the bronze or marble, wood is a perishable material. So the 1000-year old statue is amazing discovery for world history.