Shroud of Turin now on Public Display

“For the believer, what counts above all is, that the Shroud is a mirror of the Gospel… and thus a truly unique sign that points to Jesus, the true Word of the Father, and invites us to pattern our lives on the life of the One who gave Himself for us” – St. John Paul II.

Once again the Holy Shroud of Turin is on public display in Turin Cathedral from 19th April to 24th June 2015 – this year coinciding with the bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco. All those interested in travelling to Turin to see this venerated relic can book tickets through the The Holy Shroud’s Official Website.

Lamentation over Christ - Fra Angelico

Lamentation over Christ – Fra Angelico

Veneration of The Holy Shroud. Meditation of His Holiness Benedict XVI – Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2nd May 2010.

“[…] Jesus Christ “descended to the dead”. What do these words mean? They mean that God, having made himself man, reached the point of entering man’s most extreme and absolute solitude, where not a ray of love enters, where total abandonment reigns without any word of comfort: “hell”. Jesus Christ, by remaining in death, passed beyond the door of this ultimate solitude to lead us too to cross it with him. We have all, at some point, felt the frightening sensation of abandonment, and that is what we fear most about death, just as when we were children we were afraid to be alone in the dark and could only be reassured by the presence of a person who loved us. Well, this is exactly what happened on Holy Saturday: the voice of God resounded in the realm of death. The unimaginable occurred: namely, Love penetrated “hell”. Even in the extreme darkness of the most absolute human loneliness we may hear a voice that calls us and find a hand that takes ours and leads us out. Human beings live because they are loved and can love; and if love even penetrated the realm of death, then life also even reached there. In the hour of supreme solitude we shall never be alone: Passio Christi. Passio hominis. 

“This is the mystery of Holy Saturday! Truly from there, from the darkness of the death of the Son of God, the light of a new hope gleamed: the light of the Resurrection. And it seems to me that, looking at this sacred Cloth through the eyes of faith, one may perceive something of this light. Effectively, the Shroud was immersed in that profound darkness that was at the same time luminous; and I think that if thousands and thousands of people come to venerate it without counting those who contemplate it through images it is because they see in it not only darkness but also the light; not so much the defeat of life and of love, but rather victory, the victory of life over death, of love over hatred. They indeed see the death of Jesus, but they also see his Resurrection; in the bosom of death, life is now vibrant, since love dwells within it. This is the power of the Shroud: from the face of this “Man of sorrows”, who carries with him the passion of man of every time and every place, our passions too, our sufferings, our difficulties and our sins Passio Christi. Passio hominis from this face a solemn majesty shines, a paradoxical lordship. This face, these hands and these feet, this side, this whole body speaks. It is itself a word we can hear in the silence. How does the Shroud speak? It speaks with blood, and blood is life! The Shroud is an Icon written in blood; the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced. The Image impressed upon the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Every trace of blood speaks of love and of life. Especially that huge stain near his rib, made by the blood and water that flowed copiously from a great wound inflicted by the tip of a Roman spear. That blood and that water speak of life. It is like a spring that murmurs in the silence, and we can hear it, we can listen to it in the silence of Holy Saturday.

“Dear friends, let us always praise the Lord for his faithful and merciful love. When we leave this holy place, may we carry in our eyes the image of the Shroud, may we carry in our hearts this word of love and praise God with a life full of faith, hope and charity.”


‘National Geographic’ also carried the story of the Shroud in its latest edition, under the title, Why Shroud of Turin’s Secrets Continue to Elude Science. While written with a slightly sceptical view of the Shroud’s authenticity, it is notwithstanding an interesting read, especially for those looking for the most recent scientific investigations.

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30 Responses to Shroud of Turin now on Public Display

  1. Tom Fisher says:

    Thanks for the link Toad. Meanwhile I see good old New Zealand has done itself proud again:


  2. toadspittle says:

    “…the Shroud is a mirror of the Gospel… “
    Will it continue to be a mirror of the Gospel, if it can be conclusively identified as being faked around 1350 or so? No reason why not, I suppose.
    I have no idea if it’s faked or not.
    But it certainly looks, and smells like one, as JH would put it.
    Maybe that doesn’t matter in the least.


  3. Tom Fisher says:

    I have no idea if it’s faked or not.

    I don’t think it was faked although it’s modern interpretation is open to question. NZ had a small role to play in the recent dating process. The shroud is certainly Medieval, and nonetheless extremely valuable, and a priceless treasure. It’s a profoundly beautiful piece of Christian devotional art.


  4. kathleen says:

    Not in the least Toad. Every close examination on the “secrets” of the Shroud by the world’s top scientists (including the team at NASA) point to it being genuine. There are plenty of reasons to doubt the Carbon 14 tests done in the eighties if you would bother yourself to look further.

    This is a fascinating blog I highly recommend to anyone interested in the Shroud:
    Read the sidebar first.
    It was started by a scientist (at least I think he’s a scientist), Dan Porter, who set out to examine the evidence, convinced the Shroud was a fake, but has come to the realisation that instead all the evidence points to it being the very burial cloth of Our Lord Jesus Christ when He was placed in the tomb.

    “Scientifically, we don’t know the age of the Shroud of Turin. But we do know it is at least twice as old as the now discredited carbon 14 date. As for the images, we have no idea how they are formed. But we do know that they were not made by any known artistic method.
    The Atheist, the skeptic, the rationalist must accept the scientific facts just as a Christian should. To deny that the shroud is authentic requires a leap of faith. So does affirmation. But the Christian who thinks it is the real thing may be at an advantage because a preponderance of evidence points that way.”


  5. Tom Fisher says:

    There are plenty of reasons to doubt the Carbon 14 tests done in the eighties if you would bother yourself to look further.

    Please expand on that, Kathleen. Those C14 results weren’t pulled out of thin air


  6. kathleen says:

    Hi Tom,

    No, I know the C14 testing were not “pulled out of thin air”, and were done under rigid methods of unbiased procedure. However, if you have read the section in the National Geographic link, or any of the many articles on the “Shroud Story” blog I just linked to on these experiments, you will see that there are plenty of reasons to doubt the results of the C14 tests.

    One theory is that the pieces taken from the Shroud for testing had medieval threads (repair work) woven into the ancient fabric; this would naturally alter the results of the tests, bringing forward the date.
    Another fact is that organic material exposed to fire (as the Shroud was on two occasions in its known history) also is known to vary C14 testing.
    There are other theories too that I can’t recall offhand.

    C14 testing apart, there are loads of factors that point to the Shroud being of the time of the earthly life of Our Lord. Here are a few…
    The coins placed on the closed eyes of the Man on the Shroud are of the reign of Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus who reigned until 37 AD.
    The pollen found in the fabric of the Shroud are from plants that grow in the region of Palestine [N.B. the Shroud was ‘discovered’ in Europe] some of which have now become extinct !! but which grew at the time of Jesus. (This has been verified by pollen taken from other first century materials found in the Holy Land.)
    The puncture marks of the crown of thorns do not easily correspond to any known plant grown in Europe, but as a renown Jewish professor from the University of Jerusalem points out (sorry, I can’t remember his name) the long thorns perfectly fit the description of a sharp spikey thistle-type of plant that grows exclusively in the Middle East.
    The terrible three-pronged marks of the scourging are those of the whips used by the Romans for this cruel punishment of criminals.

    Hope some of this helps answer your query. 🙂


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    WordPress is acting funny since yesterday afternoon. Anyone else notice this? I’m not able to ‘like’ this post, for example.

    Toad says:“…it certainly looks, and smells like [a fake], as JH would put it.”
    No, I certainly would not put it that way. How I would put it is that if it looks like a genuine artifact from biblical times, then it may well be a genuine artifact from biblical times; and to me, it looks like a genuine artifact from biblical times.

    There are many ancient treasures of undoubted authenticity still in existence. Is it not logical that Jesus’ disciples took special care to preserve the burial shroud, the robe, the crown of thorns, the grail, the cross, etc., and why it so unbelievable to some that some relics have survived and been passed down to us through the centuries, even if their provenance has become less than perfect with passage of time and loss of historical memory?

    There are probably enough alleged splinters from the True Cross in existence to build a house, but some may in fact be just that – from the True Cross – and the better, more Catholic, more generous (and not illogical) approach is to respect their possible genuineness unless and until their status as replicas is no longer contestable; and even then, they may still be objects worthy of symbolic or iconic veneration.

    The Shroud, however, is in a class all by itself, and I strongly suspect that it is not a medieval facsimile.


  8. kathleen says:

    JH – re the authenticity of “ancient treasures” – you might be interested in this excerpt from an article in the ‘Catholic Herald’ yesterday.

    “[Gian Maria Zaccone, scientific director of the Museum of the Shroud of Turin] told the story of how when St Helen went to the Holy Land in the fourth century to look for the cross of Jesus, there was a widespread belief that the only way to tell Jesus’s cross from the crosses of the robbers crucified with him was to see which cross could resurrect a dead person.
    The legend lingered for centuries, he said. According to one historical account, a man questioned a bishop in the early 17th century about what miracles the Shroud produced and whether it had raised anyone from the dead.
    The bishop is said to have replied: “I don’t know if in its history the Shroud has raised the dead, but what I can say is that, in front of the Shroud, many dead souls have risen again in the faith”.”

    P.S. Yes, WordPress does play up sometimes, though I never know whether it is a problem with them or with my old computer. 🙂


  9. toadspittle says:

    Toad’s idiocy arrives via Avila. That’s nice, particularly this year.

    I cited you JH, because I recall you commenting…“If it walks like a duck, “ etc. I didn’t mean to impugn your faith in The Shroud. …God forbid.

    “…to me, it looks like a genuine artifact from biblical times.”
    …Well it would, wouldn’t it?
    But Toad swears to comment no more – on this thread.


  10. johnhenrycn says:

    “…in front of the Shroud, many dead souls have risen again in the faith.”

    It certainly reinforced my faith seeing a Shroud exhibit at St Paul’s Basilica in Toronto about 15 years ago, even without the real one being part of it.


  11. johnhenrycn says:

    Forgive me for harping on the possible antiquity of the Shroud, and how we may have lost proof of it through the ages. I repeat what I said above, but in stronger terms: It is not only logical that Jesus’ disciples saved objects connected with Him, it is absolutely certain they did so if human experience is anything to go by. Which of us has not kept and treasured things that belonged to our deceased parents, grandparents and – if we’re lucky enough – our more distant ancestors? But over the generations, memories cannot help but fade. My mother-in-law has a photograph of one of her ancestors, an American Revolutionary War figure (on the Loyalist side). But he died in 1825, some years before the first daguerrotype, so that photograph is likely to have been of his son, not him. This anecdote might seem to defeat my thesis, but no, it supports it: memories of our past may fade away without defeating the authenticity of our past. Things from our past may be younger, or older, than we believe; it’s difficult to say after a couple of centuries, let alone a couple of millenia.

    The Shroud is a prime archeological problem, but exactly the sort of problem a God with a sense of humour might pose for our fascination.


  12. Tom Fisher says:

    No time to comment, but two quick notes:

    Kathleen @ 12:22, thanks for a very interesting response!

    JH @ 21:28. Very well put


  13. Michael says:

    For once I agree with Toady….

    It appears to be a no brainer. Jesus a middle eastern man died on the cross and was resurrected. He is God. He set up a Church based on the rock of Peter in Christ working with the Apostles to spread the Good News. One of the Apostles taught in a book that is now canonized under the authority of God’s Church that God considers it a disgrace for men to have long hair.

    It is believed that a burial shroud of Jesus was an early relic. A burial shroud purporting to be the same one shows the image of a man with Nordic features and long hair. As implausible as it would be for Jesus to look Nordic and consider it a disgrace for men to have long hair yet walk around looking like a hippy strangely some people somehow wanted to believe it was genuine. The shroud was tested and found to be produced in the Middle Ages.

    Strangely, like the protestants who believe in sola scriptura no matter how many denominations emerge disagreeing on what the Bible states, even that didn’t stop many from considering it authentic and various inferences and excuses have been made about surrounding circumstances to try to cast doubt on the dating.

    I don’t relate to that thinking. I second Toady’s comment. God has performed enough miracles to have faith including the recent miracle of Fatima. We don’t need to repose any confidence in a clumsy forgery from the middle ages to have faith and doing so will undermine the opportunity of an objective viewer from coming to the faith as they will consider us gullible. Irrelevant issues such as any contact that it might have had with ancient vegetation or genuine relics that had been in contact with ancient vegetation doesn’t change that.


  14. toadspittle says:

    Well, Michael, Toad didn’t put it quite like that. That’s because he’s not clever enough, himself.

    “We don’t need to repose any confidence in a clumsy forgery from the middle ages to have faith and doing so will undermine the opportunity of an objective viewer from coming to the faith as they will consider us gullible.”
    Thoughts of that nature have frequently crossed my mind. Happens very often, I suspect.
    Well, we’ve all heard instances, haven’t we?

    Oops, forgot I swore to remain silent on this. D’oh. Too late.


  15. toadspittle says:

    ..And even if it really is the finger of St. Aestlethowhirt in the gilded reliquary – so what?
    On the other hand, everyone does it – Muslims, Buddhists… including Atheists, who used to go and gape at Lenin.
    Souvenirs, really. Avila’s full of them. (Teresa, not Lenin) Junk, mostly.


  16. toadspittle says:

    “One of the Apostles taught in a book that is now canonized under the authority of God’s Church that God considers it a disgrace for men to have long hair.”
    Didn’t know that before, but I agree with God. (naturally.)
    What does He have to say on brown shoes with a blue suit?


  17. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 7:00

    Your comment is full of errors. And it is evident you have not studied any of the reliable information given on the scientific studies on the Shroud, nor noticed the doubts now shed by the most professional experts on the reliability of the 1988 Carbon 14 testing.

    Not even the most atheistic of erudite scientists studying the Shroud would pronounce it as “a clumsy forgery from the middle ages”, precisely because none of the experiments, not one, point to it being either “clumsy”, or a “forgery”. Its true age remains unproven until further tests are made.

    The image of the man on the Shroud has “Nordic features” you say? Well it appears that you are unique in your opinion; in fact they are typical of the people of the Middle East (although even more noble and kingly, as would befit the Person of Christ).

    The Man on the Shroud has long hair, yes, in the way all men wore their hair in the first century in Palestine. (Why should Jesus not fit into the culture into which He was born?) Furthermore, experts have noticed certain crinkles in its fall that would appear to indicate that he wore it twisted and held up behind the head in the manner of the period… not hanging loose like a “hippy”!
    These are simply further indications of the Image being that of a Man from this time.

    Finally, nobody is obliged to believe in the authenticity of the Shroud; it is not necessary for our Faith, we who have not “seen” but “believe”. We do not rely on the Shroud to know that Our Lord Jesus Christ truly did rise from the tomb, revealed Himself to His followers, and Ascended into Heaven. However, for those who do revere this ancient relic as more than likely the genuine Shroud of Jesus, scornful dismissals such as yours are more than a little offensive.


  18. GC says:

    If it’s St Paul we’re talking about here, did he not himself on at least a couple of occasions refrain from cutting his hair for some time? And how about St John the Baptist, generally believed to be very much “an hirsute man” living out there in that wilderness snacking on those locusts?

    Of course, monks of the eastern and oriental churches still don’t cut their hair either, or at least usually keep it quite long.


  19. Tom Fisher says:

    noticed the doubts now shed by the most professional experts on the reliability of the 1988 Carbon 14 testing.

    I remember the events of 1986-91 very well. My father was one of the team-leaders on that project. I’m not an expert in Carbon Dating, so I can’t speak for the accuracy of the results of that particular test. However I do remember my (devout) mother calling me in tears because of the aggressive ‘hate mail’ (there is no other term) my father received in the year following. The aggression he encountered makes it hard for me to be neutral. Certainly his team reached their conclusion (wrong as as it may be) with absolute integrity, and no desire to “debunk”.


  20. Tom Fisher says:

    Michael, re:

    shows the image of a man with Nordic features and long hair. As implausible as it would be for Jesus to look Nordic and consider it a disgrace for men to have long hair yet walk around looking like a hippy strangely some people somehow wanted to believe it was genuine.

    Although I am by no means (see above) convinced that the image on the shroud is a product of the 1st century, your comment is simply woeful. There is nothing whatsoever definitively “Nordic” about the face on the shroud, and no evidence at all to suggest a Scandinavian connection. And it is utterly anachronistic to associate ‘long’ hair with its late 20th Century cultural associations.


  21. johnhenrycn says:

    Don’t mean to pile on against Michael. His comment has already been adequately dealt with; but to follow up on GC’s comment about St Paul, it was the custom in biblical times for men who made special vows to God to refrain from cutting their hair until their vows were complete:

    “[1] And the LORD said to Moses, [2] ‘Say to the people of Israel, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD…[5] All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy; he shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.'”

    Numbers 6 RSV


  22. GC says:

    What saith the Igumen Luke on Holy Hirsuteness, JH?

    Saint Paul makes an obvious distinction between the clerical and lay rank (cf. I Cor. 4:1, I Tim. 4:6, Col. 1:7, and others). He did not oppose the Old Testament ordinance in regard to hair and beards since, as we have noted above, he himself observed it, as did Our Lord Himself, Who is depicted on all occasions with long hair and beard as the Great High Priest of the new Christian priesthood.


  23. johnhenrycn says:

    Tom Fisher (11:04) – Your father’s connection to the Carbon 14 tests is quite the feather in your family’s cap. There’s no reason for us to think that those tests were carried out with anything less than the utmost scientific rigour possible at the time…

    …however, the jury is still very much unable to reach a verdict, and if you’re acquainted with the film, 12 Angry Men, you’ll concede that what might have seemed a slam dunk (or a ‘certainity’ as you’d put it) in favour of a medieval time frame when the test protocols were finalized and carried out in 1988, may well be reversed as and when more sensitive, less invasive imaging and other procedures become available. Not a scientist, but I surmise that the 1988 procedures are now seen as primitive.

    You may be interested in taking a look at this video presentation by Barrie Schwortz, an orthodox (but non-observant) Jew, who was also an official participant in the Shroud of Turin Project and who has become more or less convinced that the Shroud is an Ist century artifact:


  24. toadspittle says:

    Nordic – but not Danish, we have to hope.
    I think what Michael’s getting at – is if the Shroud were somehow to be “proved” to be a fake – that would not “prove” much of anything else.

    “The image of the man on the Shroud has “Nordic features” …. in fact they are typical of the people of the Middle East (although even more noble and kingly, as would befit the Person of Christ).”
    It’s comments like that that make CP&S uniquely unique.

    Toad knows of no facial features that are exclusively Nordic – or Middle Eastern – or “noble and kingly,” come to that.
    …But then, he’s an amphibian, not an anthropologist.


  25. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad says “…he’s an amphibian, not a anthropologist.”

    ‘Anthropologist’ is not the word you’re rummaging for. Perhaps phrenologist, or better – ‘anthropometrist – a more contemporary word for the study of body shapes and configurations recently popularized here by ‘Editor’ as a subtle visual aperçu about how she earns her daily crust, if I’m not mistaken which I could well be 😉


  26. johnhenrycn says:


    …and I also forgot to put a (smiley) face at the end of my previous comment like Mr Darling always used to do before he was carted off to the Folkingham Funny Farm in Lincs 😉


  27. johnhenrycn says:

    …well no, actually, it seems I didn’t forget to leave a Folkingham Funny Farm-type smiley at the end of my second last comment; rather a WordPress glitch is deleting them. I was awarded an extremely rare smiley a few days ago by Gertrude on another thread, which I intended to leave to my children in a codicil to my Will, but it’s also been deleted.


  28. toadspittle says:

    “Phrenologist” n.g., JH, It don’t alliterate.
    Will take “anthropometrist,” though. A noble and kingly word.
    …And here’s a noble and kingly face. (The Dufy was nice.)


  29. kathleen says:

    Tom @ 11:04

    There is not a shadow of doubt that the Carbon 14 experiments made on pieces taken from the Shroud (one piece divided into three parts, and sent to three of the world’s most prestigious universities) were done by teams of the most eminent scientists and “with absolute integrity, and no desire to “debunk””. That your father was one of these men involved in the procedure is interesting news indeed, and ‘chapeau’ to him!

    All the same, I am also shocked and upset to hear about the unjust suffering to your family the unexpected outcome of these tests provoked. The “aggression” and “hate mail” your father received only goes to show up the stupidity of the spiteful perpetrators, looking for someone on who to vent their disappointment. Like shooting the messenger – quite ludicrous!

    Also, I notice that I made a mistake in the sentence that you quote from my comment to Michael. I should have said, “…. noticed the doubts now shed by the most professional experts on the reliability of the RESULTS of the 1988 Carbon 14 testing”.


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