By Peter Dzyuba
The "Holy Napkin", or the icon “Not Made By Hands”, is the very first icon ever made, and it was made in a miraculous way by Our Lord Jesus Christ himself.
When King Avgarus (who had leprosy) heard of Jesus Christ's miracles and His power helping numerous people, he sent an artist from his court to invite Christ to come to his kingdom, Osroene. The artist was also asked to bring back a portrait of Christ, because the king felt that if he could only see the image of this notorious "Man", it would heal him. The artist tried many times to capture Jesus Christ's Face but was unsuccessful at accomplishing this task. The men-loving Lord took a cloth and brought it to His Face, and a true likeness was impressed on the cloth. This cloth was brought to King Avgarus and it healed him. This first icon given to us was "Not Made By Hands".
Later when the Apostle Jude Thaddeus was sent to preach to Edessa, capital of the Osroene's kingdom, Avgarus converted to Christianity and became one of the first Christian kings.
The original Holy Napkin cloth was kept in Edessa until 944 when it was brought to Constantinople, and it has become a pattern from which all subsequent icons of Christ Not Made By Hands are made.
©Petro Dzyuba. No reproductions or copying by any means are allowed without permission of the author.