“Sui pretiossisimi vultus Imago”: Veronica and Grants of Indulgences in the 13th and early 14th centuries

Étienne Doublier



Both the “true icon” and “pardons” began to be extremely popoular especially during the thirteenth century. My paper questions the possible connection between the two phenomena and portrays the history of papal and episcopal indulgences connected with the veneration of Veronica in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Following topics will be adressed: When and how did the custom to impetrate and grant letters of indulgence to spread the cult of the precious relic start? Who first took the initiative, the canons of St. Peter’s or the popes? What consequences did these pardons have with regard to the practice of indulgences in Rome? What role did Veronica-indulgences play for establishing the first Holy Year? In the final part of the paper it will be shown that even after the Jubilee of 1300 and the transfer of the Curia to Avignon the Veronica was still being associated with indulgences, as is evidenced by the illumination of numerous letters of indulgence collectively granted from curial prelates to petitioners throughout Europe.


The European Fortune of the Roman Veronica ​in the Middle Ages