THE HOLY NAPKIN or THE MANDYLION:

All icons of Christ come from the pattern of the original Holy Napkin.The motif is connected with an old tale dealing with King Abgar, the ruler of Edessa, who having been severely ill and having heard about Christ's miracles ordered his courtier to go and bring in Christ. Though the Saviour did not arrive himself, He sent through the messenger a napkin with which He had rubbed His face. On the napkin there was the trace of the Lord's face miraculously left. King Abgar was healed of disease and disbelief, affecting the conversion of his entire kingdom.

According to traditional Orthodox theology, Christ is an icon of God the Father, "Whom no man has anywhere seen" and since we were made in His image and likeness, the human race is an icon of Christ. Original Holy Napkin was kept in Edessa until 944 when it was moved to Constantinople.

The icon by the hand of Janusz Charczuk. Egg tempera on wood, priming on textile, background 23 K gold leaf. 40.0 x 28.5 cm (15.75 x 11.25 in). The origins of this icon go back to Russia, 14th century.