The Shroud of Turin is a cloth that holds within its fibres, evidence to the existence of Jesus Christ. The shroud is an ancient revered Holy Catholic relic, and has been in a Cathedral in Turin, Italy as of 1578. This miraculous cloth is unmistakeably awe-inducing.
What is The Shroud of Turin?
The shroud is an ancient cloth made of linen, it is old and tinged with a yellow and blood stained. The cloth depicts the image of a crucified man. Thirteen and a half feet long and four and a quarter feet wide, it is the holy cloth that wrapped the body of Jesus of Nazareth.
This is depicted in the New Testament (Matthew 27:59), during the burial of Jesus Christ when his body was wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea.
History and Origins
Early historical documents dating after the death of Jesus in 30-47, when the relics from the death and resurrection of Jesus were hidden in Jerusalem by Peter. Peter brings these ancient relics to Antioch in 47. The relics remain hidden in The Church of Antioch until 357, and the King Abgar V sends a letter for Jesus to heal him of leprosy.
Jude Thaddeus brings the relics of Jesus to the king, and he is apparently healed of leprosy by the “Image of Edessa”, which was a cloth that was documented as being “not made by hand”. The relics remain in the Golden Basilica before it is brought to Edessa by Monophysite immigrants in 540, and is damaged in 544 during the battle against the Persians.
The shroud becomes referred to as the “Image of Edessa”, and becomes a venerated holy item. The shroud moves to Constantinople in 944 where Emperor Romanus obtained it during a deal with Edessa. It was described as an image of God without “coloring or painter’s art”. A monk from Normandy in 1130 named Orderic Vitalis referred to the image of Jesus as “supernaturally transferred” onto the cloth.
The French knight Geoffrey de Charny I. married Othon’s 4th generation granddaughter in 1352 and inherits the cloth. He then puts the cloth on display in Lirey, France in 1355.
There is a memorandum document in 1390 received by the Antipope Clement VII that the Bishop Pierre D’Arcis claimed to have evidence that the shroud was a forged relic. In the 15th century it was retained by Margaret de Charny in the House of Savoy in 1453.
In 1532 a fire broke out in the chapel of Chambéry where the shroud was situated and it was partially damaged as a result. In1578 the Duke of Savoy requested that it be transported to Turin, Italy.
The Shroud of Turin public display since the 17th century in Turin, when Guarino Guarini built a chapel specifically to honor it.The Holy See obtained ownership of the shroud in 1983. In 1997, an additional fire broke out, that was supposedly the result of arson, but in 2002 restoration work had improved the damages.
From April to May 2010, The Shroud of Turin was once again available for public display, for which an excess of two million people flooded in to see it.
The Shroud of Turin was only photographed in the 19th century, and images have been seen all around the world, causing much debate and speculation.
Radiocarbon testing is performed on a small piece of the shroud in 1988, and relate its origins from the period of 1260-1390, however this was discredited since it was on the piece of cloth that was frequently handled by people throughout the centuries, including medieval weavers.
Doctors who examined the wounds depicted on the cloth also show a total of 120 wounds from scourging, and discovered that the crown of thorns was a full cap that covered the head.
Jesus’ right shoulder was also wounded as a result of carrying the cross, and the shroud depicts a 10 x 9 cm wound on the same shoulder, and a wound of 5 inches near the left side of his back can attest to the weight of the cross that he carried.
His hands and feet depict wounds from the nails that held him to the cross, and are placed on the wrists. This is the correct placements of the nails, because if the nail was in the palm it could break through the hand. Instead, it was placed in the wrist in a spot that also caused the thumbs to conceal into the palm, which is why on the shroud, the thumbs are not visible.
The right side of the body shows the wound where Jesus was pierced on the cross, and gives substantial evidence to prove that the shroud was indeed authentic. In addition to this, the weave of the shroud is from the era in which Jesus lived, and the plant spores on the shroud are like those that existed in the same era and location.
No capillarity was found on the shroud, proving that color or paint was not employed on the cloth. The blood is in the correct places medically for the trauma of the crucifixion, and it is evident that he carried an extremely large and heavy object. Thus, the shroud depicts the exact evidence as in the bible.
Plant pollen on the cloth indicates plants that originated in the Middle East and are solely native to Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, and also provide evidence of the burial ceremony where flowers were usually placed around the body of the deceased.
Artists also confirm that no paint or die was used on the cloth, thus could not have been produced by a forger.
A Holy Miracle
While The Shroud of Turin is such a monumental holy figure for Catholics, it is also verifiably one of the greatest historical and religious artefacts of ancient times.