Turin Shroud

An image, "so true, so profound, so human and so divine, such as we have been unable to admire and venerate in any other image" - Pope Paul VI, May 1931

"Something so frightening and yet so beautiful lies in it that a man can only escape it by worship" - Paul Claudel (French writer), 1946

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What is the Turin Shroud?
It is a piece of pure-linen woven cloth, 14' 3" by 3' 7" long, which many millions of people down the centuries have believed is the burial shroud of Christ. The cloth is imprinted with a light, reddish-coloured image of an entire body, back and front, which displays in shocking, graphic detail, the abuse, mockery, torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ as it is described in the Bible.  Pope Paul VI called it the 'Fifth Gospel'. Return to Top
The Bible Account of the Crucifixion
The markings on the Shroud mirror exactly the markings that would be found if a human body was subjected to the suffering described in the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.
1. The Face of the Shroud shows clear evidence of swelling across the left cheek and left side of the nose:
'The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching... One of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying, "is that the way to answer the high priest?"'_St.John, Ch.18, v.19 & 22
2. The back image of the Shroud is heavily marked with small round wounds clearly identifiable as those produced by Roman 'flagra', or scourges, which had a short handle, with two leather thongs, tipped with twin bronze pellets, like small dumb-bells.
'Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged'_St.John, Ch.19, v.1
3. The head of the man of the Shroud has many puncture wounds, from which there are substantial blood flows through the hair, and down the brow.
'after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head... they came up to him, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!"; and they slapped him in the face'_St.John, Ch.19, v.2 & 3
4. The back image of the Shroud shows two areas of severe damage over the right shoulder and, further down, over the left shoulder: these were described by medical experts as "excoriated wounds superimposed on the wounds from the scourging", consistent with "the friction of some heavy object rubbing on an already damaged area of skin".
'and carrying his own cross, he went out of the city to the place of the skull, or as it is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha'_St.John, Ch.19, v.17
5. The wrists and feet of the man of the Shroud clearly show horrific wounds consistent with nails being driven through them in the manner of Roman crucifixion.
'When they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, and two criminals also, one on the right, the other on the left'_St.Luke, Ch.23, v.33
6. In the area of the chest, between the fifth and sixth ribs, there is a large, elliptical wound measuring an inch and three quarters long, by almost half an inch wide. There is a large mark consistent with heavy blood flow, but the dark 'blood' stain is curiously "broken up by some clear areas, ..which would indicate the mixture of a clear fluid with the blood".
'When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water'_St.John, Ch.19, v.33
7. The Shroud itself makes an appearance now:
'Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in a linen cloth, following the Jewish burial custom' _St.John, Ch.19, v.40
8. On the morning of the resurrection, the disciples John and Peter ran to the empty tomb. One of the grave cloths was set apart from the rest, deserving a special mention by the disciple giving this account:
'Simon Peter ...went right in to the tomb, and saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself'_St.John, Ch.20, v.6 & 7
Read on ...
History of Shroud | Shroud and Mandylion | Carbon-dating Controversy