One of Benedict XVI’s last acts as pope, according to Vatican Radio, was to authorize the broadcast of video of the shroud from Turin Cathedral, where the mysterious Christian relic is kept, out of sight, in a bulletproof, climate-controlled glass case.
According to Vatican Radio, only once before have images of the centuries-old linen cloth been broadcast. That was in 1973, at the request of then-Pope Paul VI.
Some Christians believe the shroud, which appears to bear the imprint of a man’s body, to be Jesus Christ’s burial cloth. The body appears to have wounds that match those the Bible describes as having been suffered by Jesus on the cross.
Many scholars contest the shroud’s authenticity, saying it dates to the Middle Ages, when many purported biblical relics — like splinters from Jesus’ cross — surfaced across Europe.
A new Shroud 2.0 app was launched Friday. The app, released in several languages, allows users to scroll over a high-definition image of the shroud and find out more about its history and religious significance.
Disputed dating on Shroud of Turin
Carbon dating conducted in the 1980s suggested the shroud dates from the Middle Ages.
But researchers at Padua University say their more recent tests show the cloth does indeed date back to between 280 B.C. and 220 A.D. — which could place it within Christ’s lifetime
Fanti’s book, written with religious journalist Saverio Gaeta and published last year, spells out those findings.
“We carried out three alternative dating tests on the shroud, two chemical and one mechanical, and they all gave the same result and they all traced back to the date of Jesus, with a possible margin of error of 250 years,” Fanti told CNN.
For the mechanical test, they constructed a machine at Padua University to carry out traction and compression tests on tiny fibers from the linen fabric, measuring only 10 thousandths of a millimeter, he said.
‘Truly mysterious image’
Benedict prayed before the shroud in 2010, when it went on display for six weeks at Turin Cathedral, its first public showing since undergoing a major restoration in 2002. Before that, it was last on display in 2000.
The shroud — more than 14 feet long and 3 feet, 7 inches wide — was restored to remove a patchwork repair done by 16th century nuns after the cloth was damaged in a fire.
Thirteen years ago, when Benedict was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he wrote that the shroud was “a truly mysterious image, which no human artistry was capable of producing.”
The shroud is not scheduled to go on public view again for more than a decade, so the TV broadcast represents a rare chance for the faithful to get a glimpse of the famous relic.
The test samples were found in dust from the shroud, he said. (CNN)
The Shroud of Turin Sabotaging the Evidence.