Thinking Anglicans

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus


“Everyone forgets my name now. But I was there, and I remember seeing him, carrying his cross, his face so covered in sweat and in blood from the soldiers’ blows. He stumbled towards me and almost by instinct I pulled out a small cloth and wiped his face. There was so much sweat and blood that when you looked at the cloth you could see his face. I still have that cloth, a true image of him.”

Lord Jesus, your face was sweaty and bloodied:
be with all who care for the broken bodies of our sick and injured.
Your face was wiped by an unknown woman:
let us bear your true image in our hearts, in our words and in our deeds.
To you, Jesus, scarred by a crown of thorns,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917

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JCFDaniel Berry, NYCFather Ron SmithSimon KershawNJ Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith

How beautifully Veronica, and other women of the New Testament, ministered to the real needs of Jesus in his incarnate life-time! How dare the Church deny the ministry of women?

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson

Yes I too have been reflecting on the balance and tension between men and women in the Passion Narratives, and it struck me that one woman played a pivotal role which is not often commented on – at least in the books I have read.

Is it significant that it was a woman who first challenged Peter and forced him to deny Christ? It’s an almost Greek Chorus type of role – a role without power (a slave girl in some narratives) but bringing crisis by simply commenting on and stating the truth – you were with him weren’t you?



Except of course Veronica is not a woman of the NT, as this particular station of the cross is a later invention, not part of the Gospel tradition. Not addressing your bigger point Ron, obviously, just a small correction. On your bigger point, I hesitate yet again, as both sides tend to repeat the same points ad nauseam, but denying the ministry of women is not the same as saying the ministry of women is absolutely vital, but it might not include as elders in the church (as is the case for the vast majority of men as well, who… Read more »

Father Ron Smith

Nj. As far as the legitimacy of Veronica as a historical figure goes – it only matters as much as the historicity of Adam or Eve, if one is trying to discern history from legenda! Your quoting of ‘Invention’, in these particular circumstances, is almost risible. The importance rests with the fact that someone, somewhere, has actually considered a woman as part of the Passion Narrative. Of course, there are also other Women of the N.T. who can perhaps be taken to be actual people – whom Jesus trusted to spread the Gospel – Like Mary Magdalene, for instance. But… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
Daniel Berry, NYC

never mind Veronica or the slave girl: THE most sacramental act ever performed was by a woman–his mother–she gave him flesh. She LITERALLY made the body of Christ – and some say women aren’t proper ministers of the sacraments? really??

And the Orthodox call the Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles. How can the first apostle not be fit to be an apostle?


“the ministry of women is absolutely vital, but it might not include as elders in the church”

As I myself said to not make the Stations here political, consider my response to be nothing but :-X …until next week. A blessed Triduum to all at TA.