Prior to the TS in Constantinople, the shroud was in Edessa.
The image was moved from Edessa to Constantinople after the successful wars that the Byzantine Empire had waged in the eastern part of Asia Minor from the 920s. At the head of the mostly victorious marches was John Kourkouas, a prominent chieftain and friend of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, who in 942 launched another successful expedition resulting in the recapture of a number of cities in Mesopotamia from the Arabs. In 943, Kourkouas approached Edessa, but unexpectedly abandoned the assault, demanding the surrender of a relic stored in the city.
Byzantine Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos made a massive offer for the cloth.
In the previous appointment we told that al-Muttaqi, Caliph of Baghdad, following the indication of the grand vizier Ali ibn Isa, reported to the Emir of Edessa the decision to be taken in the presence of the proposal manifested by the Byzantines, headed by General Curcuas: the an exchange between the precious Edessene image and the twelve thousand pieces of silver, plus the release of high-ranking Muslim prisoners, was to be accepted. In fulfillment of this, Bishop Abramio, following the Byzantine army, had the right to withdraw the venerated icon, which belonged to the Melkites. Once they reached the goal, Curcuas and Abramio marched back to Constantinople.
943 In the Spring of 943, Byzantine usurper Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos (r. 920–944) sends an army led by his best general, John Curcuas (fl. 915–946), to Edessa to negotiate with its Muslim emir ruler for possession of the Edessa cloth, to add to his collection of Christian relics. In exchange for the Cloth, Curcuas offered on behalf of the Emperor, a guarantee of perpetual immunity of Edessa from Byzantine attack, 12,000 pieces of silver and the release of 200 Muslim prisoners.
On Aug 15, 944, the cloth entered the city.
On 15th August 944, the Image of Edessa, the acheiropoietos image (not made by
human hands), came to the imperial capital Constantinople from Edessa (today’s Sanli-
Urfa in Turkey). The feast day of the event is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on the
following day, 16 th August,
It is also testified by Gregory Referendarius in a sermon from the 11th century on the commemoration of the shroud arriving into the city.
A sermon pronounced by Gregory Referendarius, Archdeacon of Hagia Sophia
in Constantinople on the occasion of the Image’s arrival in the city survives in one
known manuscript in the Vatican Archives, recently rediscovered by Italian classics
scholar Gino Zaninotto. The codex dates from the eleventh century.
Extracts from the sermon:
A sermon by Gregory the Archdeacon and Referendarius of the great church at
Constantinople, about how incredible things are not subject to the laws of praise, and
about how three patriarchs have declared that there is an image of Christ which was
brought from Edessa 919 years afterwards by the zeal of a pious emperor, in the year 6452. Lord bless us.And so, what exactly is it? By the simple touching to the face of Christ, an
image of his form was made, so that people would not think in a dangerous or perilous
way that it never actually existed and has been invented…. taking this linen cloth he wiped the sweat that was falling down
his face like drops of blood in his agony. And miraculously, just as he made everything from
nothing in his divine strength, he imprinted the reflection of his form on the linen.A second light, immaterial and unique, came devotedly from you, an
unexpected and material intertwining, natures distantly embracing heaven and earth, one
living being made of two opposites: your human image, food from the clouds, a river
flowing from a dry rock, and what is genuinely new under the sun, you were born a man
in these last times from a virgin mother. You wiped clean the sweat of the nature you
had taken on and what was wiped clean was transformed into an image of your
unchanging form, just like Adam’s form was drawn out of the ground, like the eyes of
nature in the folds of the kneaded earth.
He will do this straight away for us if we so desire, if we look upon the
reflection and the immense beauty it is depicted with. For this is not the art of painting,
which provides a door for the mind to consider the original and depicts images. This
reflection was imprinted from a living original.
This reflection, however – let everyone be inspired with the explanation – has
been imprinted only by the sweat from the face of the originator of life, falling like
drops of blood, and by the finger of God. For these are the beauties that have made up
the true imprint of Christ, since after the drops fell, it was embellished by drops from
his own side.
The feast is still celebrated to this day on Aug 16.
The Feast of this icon is celebrated on August 16, during the after feast period of the feast of the Dormition, and is called the Third Feast-of-the-Savior in August.