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The Shroud of Turin

July 28, 2009

The Shroud of Turin will be on public display April 10 thru May 23, 2010 in the cathedral in Turin. The Shroud was last on public display in 2000 for the jubilee year, and is usually publicly displayed every 25 years, but there have been many discoveries in recent years so it was decided that sooner would be better in light of those discoveries.

Some of the new evidence is discussed in the Catholic News Service article published yesterday, which also states that the Pope will be visiting the Shroud during its public display in 2010.

The church has never officially ruled on the shroud’s authenticity, saying judgments about its age and origin belonged to scientific investigation. Scientists have debated its authenticity for decades, and studies have led to conflicting results.

A recent study by French scientist Thierry Castex has revealed that on the shroud are traces of words in Aramaic spelled with Hebrew letters.

A Vatican researcher, Barbara Frale, told Vatican Radio July 26 that her own studies suggest the letters on the shroud were written more than 1,800 years ago.

She said that in 1978 a Latin professor in Milan noticed Aramaic writing on the shroud and in 1989 scholars discovered Hebrew characters that probably were portions of the phrase “The king of the Jews.”

Castex’s recent discovery of the word “found” with another word next to it, which still has to be deciphered, “together may mean ‘because found’ or ‘we found,'” she said.

What is interesting, she said, is that it recalls a passage in the Gospel of St. Luke, “We found this man misleading our people,” which was what several Jewish leaders told Pontius Pilate when they asked him to condemn Jesus.

She said it would not be unusual for something to be written on a burial cloth in order to indicate the identity of the deceased.

There are many websites on the Shroud, both for and against its authenticity. One site that seems to promote its authenticity is The Shroud of Turin Website. The site owner, Barrie Schwortz, a Jewish photographer, was a member of the team that completed the first extensive scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978. His team spent 120 hours with the Shroud and took 2700 photographs, some of which are available on his website.

The Face of the Shroud, both photograph and negative

The Face of the Shroud, both photograph and negative

At the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center there is a permanent exhibit on the Shroud of Turin. The website does not do it justice. It is an excellent exhibit. First it walks you through the known and assumed historical migration of the Shroud from Jerusalem to Turin. At one point in the Shroud’s travels it was used as a dowery, which shows the great value placed on it. While there are holes in the history of its movement from place to place, the evidence that they do have and the accompanying history of the places it was make for a very compelling history. Next, the exhibit walks you through the scientific evidence. The cloth, the fibers, the weave, the presence of pollens which are only found in the Jerusalem area around the time of Easter, etc. And then the exhibit goes into the details of the image of the man. They examine his build, his wounds, the image its self. The image has no significant pigmentation depth to conclude that it was painted or otherwise man-made; it is very similar to the Our Lady of Guadalupe image in that respect. In the final phase of the exhibit, there is a sculpture of the man on the Shroud. It is a bronze image of Our Lord! As it says above, the Church has made no claim one way or the other that the Shroud is the authentic image of Jesus, but as for me, I believe.

Do you want to see the Shroud when it goes on public display next year? Catholic Heritage Tours is offering a pilgrimage to see the Shroud, as is The Catholic Tour Company, and Steve and Janet Ray – Footprints of God, to mention a few.

There is also some interesting information on the Shroud from approximately a century ago in the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Fred permalink
    May 7, 2010 4:34 pm

    I am a dedicated catholic, I feel impelled to give my testimony because one needs to witness to the truth where and when necessary. In 1981 I was very privileged to have had a vision of our lord Jesus Christ in a historic church that was dedicated to St.Peter and St.Paul, I saw our Lords face, so sad.And the crown of thorns on his head so clear was this vision i could see the string of thorns encircled many times and the thorns so clear as if one would be pricked by them, I was totally awestruck and as you can imagine this vision took me from being a christian with many question marks to a fervent believer, after the vision i went to my mothers home when i went in to her living room i told my mother of my wonderful vision and was overwhelmed to discover that my mother had a copy of the shroud of Turin on her wall.I immediately said to my mother, this is Jesus Christ, this is who i saw actually as he is. It is him. The holy shroud image is that Of Jesus Christ, I can’t prove it but i would lay my life on this because it is true. I have since 1981 had many other experiences which have also confirmed to me the authenticity of the holy shroud and that it is of our Lord Jesus Christ. One day it will be recognised as true and venerated as the wonderful relic that it is, and i look forward to that day. Yours in Christ … Fred

    • catholicwideweb permalink*
      May 7, 2010 5:47 pm

      Fred, thank you for sharing your testimony. Our Lord Jesus is very good. He helps us greatly in our unbelief. Let us all pray that more and more people come to believe in the Truth of Jesus Christ. Peace.

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