Mystery in History The Shroud of Turin Part 1

About the famous holy relic the Shroud of Turin, mystery and history of the shroud's veneration.


The Event: The Veneration of the Shroud of Turin

When: 1578

Where: Turin, Italy

The Mystery: In 1578 the dukes of Savoy brought to Turin a precious relic that had been venerated for at least 200 years. It was a piece of ancient, water-stained linen exactly 171 in. in length and 43 1/2 in. in width. On it could be seen the faint, reddish-brown imprint of a bearded man whose hands are folded across his naked loins. The wounds in his wrists and feet suggest crucifixion, and in his side is a gaping hole. The imprint is double, with the front and rear views of the man emanating headfirst from the center, suggesting that the rectangular cloth had been wrapped over the man starting at his toes in front, extending over his face and hair, and reaching down the back to his heels.

Was this cloth the garment in which Jesus Christ was buried after his crucifixion? Or was it only a clever hoax? If it was genuine, how had the remarkable imprint been made on cloth?

The shroud of Turin has been venerated as Christ's burial cloth since 1354, when Geoffrey I of Charney gave it to the church of Lirey in Troyes, France. Its fame spread over medieval Europe, and in 1452 it was purchased by the Savoys. They moved the shroud to Chambery, France, where it survived a fire, and later to Turin. There it has remained except for a short period during W.W. II when it was spirited to southern Italy for protection against Allied bombs and the Nazis. The shroud is now kept in an ornate silver casket displayed on a baroque altar in the Turin cathedral. On rare occasions it is put on public display.

Possible Solutions: The Bishop of Lirey denounced the shroud as a painted forgery in the 14th century, and this explanation has been offered by many up to the present day.

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