Shroud of Turin on display amid new research

VATICAN CITY — The Shroud of Turin went on display for a special TV appearance Saturday amid new research disputing claims it’s a medieval fake and purporting to date the linen some say was Jesus’ burial cloth to around the time of his death.

Pope Francis sent a special video message to the event in Turin’s cathedral, but made no claim that the image on the shroud of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Christ was really that of Jesus. He called the cloth an “icon,” not a relic — an important distinction.

“This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love,” he said.

“This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest,” he said. “And yet, at the same time, the face in the Shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty.”

Many experts stand by carbon-dating of scraps of the cloth that date it to the 13th or 14th century. However, some have suggested the dating results might have been skewed by contamination and have called for a larger sample to be analyzed.

The Vatican has tiptoed around just what the cloth is, calling it a powerful symbol of Christ’s suffering while making no claim to its authenticity.

The 14-foot-long, 3.5-foot-wide cloth is kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled case in Turin’s cathedral, but is only rarely open to the public. The last time was in 2010 when more than 2 million people lined up to pray before it and then-Pope Benedict XVI visited.

The latest display coincided with Holy Saturday, when Catholics mark the period between Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. A few hundred people, many in wheelchairs, were invited inside the cathedral for the service, which was presided over by Turin’s archbishop. It was only the second time the shroud has gone on display specifically for a TV audience; the first was in 1973 at the request of Pope Paul VI, the Vatican said.

The display also coincided with the release of a book based on new scientific tests on the shroud that researchers say date the cloth to the 1st century.

The research in “The Mystery of the Shroud,” by Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua and journalist Saverio Gaeta, is based on chemical and mechanical tests on fibers of material extracted for the carbon-dating research. An article with the findings is expected to be submitted for peer-review, news reports say.

More in Local News

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Front Porch

EVENTS Health fairs A Senior Healthy Living Fair is set for noon… Continue reading

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Most Read