The priceless linen cloth holds the image of a crucified man who is believed to be Jesus. The first known expositions of the artifact were held in 1355 in Lirey, France. However, strong evidence indicates that the shroud was elsewhere in Europe for hundreds of years before it was brought to Turin, Italy. Once there, it was often displayed to celebrate royal marriages and mark other notable occasions.
The first photograph of the Shroud was taken in 1898 by an Italian photographer named Secondo Pia. He also discovered that the image is a negative. This photograph is available for viewing at the Museum of the Shroud).
There have been many disputes regarding the Shroud’s authenticity and whether or not it really was used to wrap the body of Christ; countless hours of research have been spent on both sides of the argument. Some claim the Shroud is actually the work of a medieval artist.
In 1976, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) was born in the United States. This organization performed the first in-depth scientific examination of the artifact, carried out in Turin two years later. According to test results at that time, there was no evidence of an artist’s work in the image of the crucified man. A decade later, the Shroud was tested using radiocarbon dating and dated at around 1350 AD. But in 2005, chemist Raymond Rogers, a fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, discovered the carbon-14 testing from 1988 was, in fact, not done on the original burial cloth, but rather on a patch from the Middle Ages, thus creating an erroneous date for the actual shroud.
In 2002 Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemburg, former curator of the Abegg Foundation textile museum in Berne, Switzerland, announced that the weave and style of the materials were from the Dead Sea area and could only have been woven during the period 40 years before the birth of Christ up to 70 years afterward.
There have been numerous public exhibitions of the Shroud throughout the centuries. In 2000 it was announced that the next showing would be 2025, the next Holy Year. However, in 2013, Pope Francis authorized an earlier exhibition to take place in 2015.
In 2015 the Shroud will be open for viewing from April 19 to June 24. Catholic Digest pilgrims will be there in June for a full-day visit in Turin to view the Shroud. The Shroud is located in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, but the Museum of the Shroud is within walking distance of the Shroud exhibition. This attraction displays artifacts related to the Shroud, including the silver casket previously used to store it.
What else is there to see in Turin?
The Mole Antonelliana is another symbol of the city, completed in 1889, and is an example of some of the most impressive architecture in Turin. Overlooking the city is the Basilica Superga, where the tombs of the royal family Savoy are located. For more information about the 2015 Shroud Exhibition, go to Shroud.com. You can view an interactive image of the Shroud, as well as find answers to frequently asked questions and check out all the latest news about the artifact.