The controversial Shroud of Turin will be put on display again after a five-year absence. Beginning April 19 through June 24, 2015, the shroud will be on display at its home at the Turin Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Although viewing is free, if you plan to travel to see it, a reservation is necessary to get in to see the display. When the Shroud was last on display in 2010, organizers say that 2.5 million people came to see the religious relic.
What is the Shroud of Turin?
The Shroud of Turin is believed by the Christian faith to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a piece of linen cloth that is 4.4 meters (nearly 14.5 feet) long that is thought to show the image of Christ. The cloth appears to show the image of a man approximately 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with wounds that are consistent with those Christ received while being crucified. There are what Christians believe to be dried blood marking the areas of the hands, feet, and head that would have been from the wounds of crucifixion and a crown of thorns. In addition, close inspection shows a chest wound consistent with the one Christ received while on the cross.
The Shroud is housed inside an airtight, bulletproof, laminated, case that is humidity and temperature controlled. The case is filled with oxygen and argon gas to keep any chemical changes from taking happening. It is placed flat on an aluminum sliding support with runners. This is all in an effort to preserve the Shroud for posterity as it has suffered damage in the past, most notably a fire in 1532 while in a chapel in France. It travelled to Turin in 1578, where it has remained since.
Hundreds of Scientific Tests
The Shroud of Turin has been through hundreds of scientific tests in an attempt to prove or disprove its authenticity, but the cloth still remains a mystery. Scientists from all over the world have travelled to Turin to try to solve this religious puzzle.
In 1988, scientists conducted carbon dating of the cloth and stated that it was made in the 1300s and that the Shroud was a forgery from medieval times. Ten years later the cardinal of Turin called the results a plot to discredit the Roman Catholic Church.
After another 10 years, scientists stated that the image on the Shroud of Turin was “supernatural.” Their research showed that the characteristics of the image of the body on the Shroud were created by a short, intense burst of ultraviolet radiation; however, nothing is known to be able to produce such a burst. Scientists last year proposed that the magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Jerusalem that coincided with the death of Christ in 33 AD, is what caused the images to appear on the cloth. They theorize that neutron particles released by the crushed rock would have caused the x-ray like images that we see today.
Christians believe the image on the Shroud of Turin to be that of Jesus Christ based on the history of the cloth and how it has been held as a religious icon since it first became known to exist. Information in the Bible describing the burial shroud of Jesus along with historical data gives the article validity. The markings on this shroud lead believers to see the face and wounds of Jesus Christ.
Despite all of our advanced techniques, science is still unable to determine what caused the images on the Shroud of Turin. Many debunk the claim that the cloth was made in medieval times, saying that the samples used were taken from areas that were repaired; and so the debate continues and the creation of the Shroud of Turin remains a mystery, let alone who the man is in the image.
Before you book your trip to see this religious relic, prepare yourself with this video on the “5 types of people you’ll meet on a flight”…just in case: