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Oviedo, Spain: The Cathedral of Oviedo (San Salvador) & The Sudarium of Oviedo

About the Cathedral of Oviedo:

The Holy Chamber in the Cathedral is home to many religious relics such as the Cross of the Angels, an important symbol for the people of Oviedo. The Cross of Victory, which is the symbol used on the official flag of Asturias, but perhaps most importantly for the Sudarium of Orviedo.

About the Sudarium of Oviedo:

Sometimes called “The other Shroud of Turin”, the Sudarium is the cloth that devout Jews would use to cover the face of the deceased before wrapping the body in a shroud. After the body of Jesus was removed from the cross, thesudarium would have been removed, Jesus would have been covered with the shroud, and then the sudarium would have been wrapped around His head.

The Sudarium (facecloth) of JesusThe existence of such a cloth can be known from Gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 4 through 7, which read: “They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.  When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place”.

So he describes the difference between this smaller face cloth, the sudarium, and the larger linen cloth (the Shroud) that had wrapped the body.

You can read more about the scientific study of the Sudarium of Oviedo here (external link).

According to tradition, Saint Peter took custody of the sudarium, and it was kept in the Holy Land until the Persian and Muslim invasions. Records indicate that it was taken then to Alexandria, Egypt, and then to Cartagena and eventually to Toledo, Spain, where it was kept (636-711A.D.). Then, due to the Muslim invasion of Spain, the sudarium was taken here to the Cathedral of Oviedo.

The Holy Ark containing the Sudarium of Jesus in the Cathedral in Oviedo, Spain
The Holy Ark. Photo by Sitomon – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1636289

It is kept in the Arca Santa (“Holy Ark”, or chest), an oak reliquary covered with silver-gilt decorated in the Romanesque style. It is kept in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral. In 1934 there was a miner’s trike and subsequent damage to the Arca.  The Sudarium was later restored by Manuel Gómez-Moreno.

You can view the reliquary on your visit here.

The Sudarium is displayed for the public in Oviedo three times each year: on Good Friday, on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross (Sept. 14), and on the octave of the feast (Sept. 21).

Finding the Cathedral of Oviedo:

Address:  Plaza Alfonso II el Casto, s/n, 33003 Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

Tel:  +34 985 21 96 42

Click here for the official website of the Cathedral of Oviedo

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