The Unexplainable Shroud of Turin

Bearing the image of a man who seems to have undergone the physical pain associated with a crucifixion, the Shroud of Turin (also referred to as the Turin Shroud) is a linen cloth with a great deal of mystery behind its existence. In this article, you will learn more about the Shroud, as well as where it is kept and the kinds of tests that have been conducted in order to find answers to the many questions surrounding it.

If you are wondering where the Shroud is kept, you will find it in Turin, Italy, as it is stored in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Over the years, a host of theologians, historians, researchers, and scientists have pondered the true origins of the shroud and explored the meaning of its image. If you are interested in knowing how the Catholic Church feels about the shroud, you should know that it hasn’t been formally endorsed or rejected. However, in 1958, Pope Pius XII approved the image in connection to the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.

Who is the Image?

A significant question asked about the image is ‘who is it’ and ‘what was the purpose of the cloth.’ There are some who believe the shroud was placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of burial. The face image is thought to be the Holy Face of Jesus. However, people on the other side felt the artifact actually postdates the Crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium. Interestingly, both sides of the debate have scientific and historical documents to back up their theories.

Observing the Shroud

When analyzing the image of the shroud, it’s better to investigate by taking a look at a black and white negative rather than the natural sepia color. The first time the negative image was viewed was in May of 1898. An amateur photographer named Secondo Pia saw the reverse photographic plate, as he was permitted to take pictures of it while it was an exhibit in the Turin Cathedral.

Testing the Shroud

The shroud has undergone an assortment of tests, yet many controversies and debates have surrounded the truthfulness of the tests. A large issue emerged when radiocarbon dating took place in 1988. The results stated that the linen fibers dated back to the Middle Ages. Opponents to these findings have interpreted this data in various ways, including the belief that fire damage tainted the results of the test or that fabric samples came from a non-representative portion of the shroud. The debate ceases to rest with people using science versus divine formation.