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제목 On the Holy Shroud (2017-12-30)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2018-01-01






On the Holy Shroud (2017-12-30)


My dear Friends,
I apologize for this conference, first because I cannot speak your language; secondly because being in the process of moving from Asia to Australia for my new assignment, many of my documents on the Holy Shroud are packed up and I had to prepare the text of this conference by memory. So, there will be some elements missing, and some inaccuracies – I beg you to forgive me for them. I will do my best to give you the best information that I can.


1/ This copy of the Holy Shroud
The holy Shroud is a long piece of cloth, 4.4 by 1.1 metres, which is presently kept in Turin.
The Church has honoured it and acknowledged it to be the burial cloth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though it is not a defined dogma, the Church has exposed it many times for centuries to the veneration of the faithful, and this is a practical acknowledgement of great importance. Some sceptics have put this fact in question, but have no solid arguments in their favour, while on the contrary there is a multiplicity of solid arguments in favour of its authenticity. How many of you have seen the original?

Such cloth is unique in the world, and irreplaceable. So, it is carefully kept in Turin, and it would be practically impossible for it to come to Japan/Korea. So, unless you had the grace to be able to go to Turin at a time it was exposed – which is rare – you have here the next best thing: a full-size copy of it, together with the full-size negative view of it.
 
This copy was made from a very precise electronic scan of the original in 2002, after it had been cleaned from the patches (see later), and before it was sealed in inert gas for protection. These copies are made from the computer data file, and are very precise in resolution. The negatives are also made from the same computer data file through an electronic photographic process. The image is set in a plastic film which is sealed onto the cloth of these replicas. When you will come closer, after the conference, you will be able to see the precision of the image – very good.


2/ Visual analysis
The first thing that strikes the viewer of the original… is that the image is rather difficult to see. These copies are easier to see than the original, because the contrast of the image is somehow enhanced by a computer process.

The first thing one notices are those triangles, which actually are holes in the original, due to a fire which took place at Chambery on 4th December 1532. The cloth was repaired by good nuns with patches, which remained on it until 2002: many of the old images of the Shroud exhibit these patches. The present copy is done after these patches were removed. The Shroud was folded in 48 folds, and one can see the fold that was exposed to the fire, and the top layers more damaged than the inner layers. Some of the melting silver fell on a corner and caused the whole. One sees also these big triangles which are water marks in the efforts of extinguishing the fire. There are also some other holes, which were older than this fire (they do not fit the 48 layer fold that was at the time of the fire and these marks can be found on the Pray manuscript from the 12th century).

Abstracting from all these historical accidents, one can still recognise that this cloth has the marks of a dead man. The cloth was put on a slab, the dead person’s back was laid on it, and the cloth was folded over the head to cover the whole body.

One can see the marks of a face, chest, arms, hands, legs and feet, on both sides.

And that man was heavily wounded: one can see the marks of whips especially on the shoulders, but even on the arms and legs; the marks of nails in the wrist and feet with the blood that flowed from them, the marks of a spear that has pierced the side with lots of blood, the marks of thorns on the forehead and on the back of the head.

Looking carefully, one sees also the mark of a heavy load – the Cross – on the shoulder; the mark of a blow on the cheek near the nose (mentioned by St John: a servant of the high priest has given a big blow in the face to our Lord Jesus Christ).

Now though crucifixions were frequent with the Romans, the combination of all these wounds together would be very rare, for many reasons. First usually if a slave was condemned to death, there was no scourging before: it was either scourging or crucifixion, rarely both. In the case of Christ, Pilate had him scourged in an effort to spare him the crucifixion: he wanted to satisfy the hatred of the Pharisees, and thought that would be sufficient. But they persisted in asking for His death.

Moreover, the crowning with thorns is exceptional. I am not aware of any other case in Roman times. Then again, the crucified usually had their legs broken (and there are some crucified persons whose bones have been found, with their legs broken) but here the legs are not broken, but the side is pierced.

One has to add that being the punishment of bad slaves, usually after the crucifixion the body was thrown into a pit, not buried carefully in an expensive cloth!

Put all together, there is no other known case in history that would match all these wounds but our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a first important argument for its authenticity.
 
3/ Further visual analysis: proof of the Resurrection
It is not only what we can see that is important, but also what we cannot see. Indeed, first one will look in vain for any trace of paint-brush, of any pigment. One can see none. Hence the Shroud fits very well an icon named “the icon not made by human hands”, which we find in Edessa and is part of the puzzle of the Shroud’s history.


Secondly, one can see no mark of corruption on the Shroud. Now, usually one finds the bones of the dead, while the flesh and cloths that surrounded it are completely corrupted. Here one finds no bones, no corruption in the cloth and no marks of corruption in the body that was put on the cloth. This is also remarkable.

Also, there are many Egyptian mummies with cloth but so tightly bound with the body that they can hardly be separated. Here one finds the cloth without the body, and perfectly separated from the body.

Thirdly, one can see that the blood marks are very precise, and that there is no TEARING of the clot, of the cloth, of the flesh at all. Considering that fact, doctors and nurses said that this could only be explained by the resurrection. A body with wounds so many and so deep, with so many marks of blood, some of them rather large such as the marks of the nails and the opening of the chest, if you put a bandage around such wounds, you cannot take off that bandage three days later without tearing anything: this is simply impossible.

Now the body did not stay longer than three days in this cloth, otherwise there would have been marks of corruption. Moreover, one notice the neck: extended on the back and almost not visible on the front: the Crucified had bent his head forward when he breathed His last breath, and rigor mortis had kept that head up, in spite of the fact that the body was laid on the back. Now after three days, when corruption starts, rigor mortis disappears and the head would have fallen back onto the slab: and this is not shown on the Shroud. So, the body did not stay more than three days in it. And it impossible to take that cloth away from the body three days after the burial without tearing anything: the only explanation is the Resurrection. This is a second important argument for its authenticity.

4/ History
The history of the Shroud is like a puzzle in which some pieces are missing, yet one can see the whole quite clearly. Preconceived ideas against our Lord Jesus Christ make that some refuse the most reasonable explanations, though similar explanation would be acceptable for any other item – indeed there are many other famous items whose history has also missing pieces.

a) The holy Gospels themselves speak of the burial cloth of our Lord Jesus Christ: Matthew, Mark and Luke use the word “sindon”: St Jerome uses that word in Latin, which is a copy of the Greek (“σινδών”) and even of the Hebrew (“‎סְדִינִ֔ים ”) and has a Sanskrit common root. It designates a fine cloth usually of costly material. For instance it is used in the Old Testament as the cloth required from Samson for his marriage (Judges 14:12-13), or for the cloth made by the “strong woman” of the book of Proverbs: “She made a sindon [fine linen], and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite” (Prov. 31:24).

Now there is a very telling word in St Matthew. Usually St Matthew summarizes the Gospel events, telling only some essential points. But when he speaks of the Sindon, here is what he says: “And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth” (Mt. 27:59). St Mark gives more details: “And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock” (Mk. 15:46). Now I say this, especially to the good women here: when you go and buy a piece of cloth, do you buy dirty clothes? No! Of course. So, St Matthew mentioning the word “clean cloth” seems to say something useless… unless it implies that AFTER the Resurrection, the cloth was no longer clean. That little word in St Matthew is an indirect indication that the marks found on that cloth after the Resurrection were all due to the buried body of Christ in it.

b) Edessa: The next historical reference to the Shroud is found at Edessa, where history tells us that there was an “icon not made by human hands”: that expression fits very well the Shroud as we know it at Turin, for it has an image of Christ, and not only the human eye cannot find any sign of painting, but even the microscope cannot find any such paint! It is likely that the Shroud was folded then, and only the face was seen, as the top fold, set in a beautiful frame.

History also tells us that this “icon not made by human hands” was taken as model for the making of many other icons, and by the study of iconography, one can see the influence of that icon. Before that time, one finds pictures of Christ as a young Roman man, without beard and with short hair, but after one find systematically our Lord painted with longer hair and a beard as in the Shroud. These icons copied from that “icon not made by human hands” also exhibit strange features, such as very large eyes, which are easily explained by the fact the painters did not understand the effect of photographic negative, inversion of light and dark on the Shroud.

Now we find on the Shroud today a piece that may be related to that time in history. Indeed, look at the bottom, there is what seems to be two apparent missing rectangles at the two bottom corners, but in fact, you can also see a long seam along the whole of that side: there is an additional piece, sewn onto the Shroud! It is anterior to all the later folds, since they fit the new width of the shroud with it. There is no written record of when and why that piece was added, but the most likely explanation is that… without it, the face is OFF CENTER. With this additional piece, then the face is properly at the centre of the shroud, width-wise, and so would fit a beautiful frame where it was exposed at Edessa.

So, as you can see, there are three strong arguments in favour of acknowledging that icon to be the Shroud: 1/ the name itself of “icon not made by human hands”, 2/ its influence on the iconography, and 3/ the additional strip of cloth added to one side of the Shroud to centre the image. 4/ One should add the presence of pollens from the area of Edessa, later found on the Shroud (see later).

Those who reject this presence of the Shroud at Edessa, under that name, have no arguments for them except the absence of more explicit written documents. Now without claiming that the first arguments are absolute proof, yet they certainly are much stronger than a simple silence!

Note that the additional band added – probably to centre the image of the face on the width of the Shroud – is an argument for its authenticity. Indeed, what artist would draw an image off centre on a large canvas, and then add one piece to his canvas to re-centre that image? Moreover, this is not only true of the width, but also of the length. Look at the heels on the back side: the cloth extends quite a few centimetres beyond the end of the feet. But look on the top of the feet on the front side of the cloth and see where the mark of the nail is – it is quite clear that … the toes were not covered by the cloth! Now what artist would draw such a long image thoroughly on both sides… and leave off the toes? He would rather shorten the legs and show the full body pictures, not leave the toes off his picture! Hence these little lack of being centred are arguments that confirm it is not a fake.

c) Constantinople. Then there are historical evidence that the burial cloth of Christ was at Constantinople from about the 10th century to the end of the 12th century. In 944 the cloth was taken from Edessa to Constantinople. The sermon delivered by Gregory the archdeacon of the Hagia Sophia clearly describes a full body image on the linen. There is a sermon for the translation of the burial cloth of Christ from Edessa to Constantinople. There is the list of the treasure of the empress which mentions it. There is the testimony of a devout knight who said it was exposed every Friday in a certain church where he liked to venerate it, before the sack of Constantinople in 1204: that knight also mentions that the Shroud was no longer seen after the sack of the city.

And there is the “Pray Manuscript” that has several striking elements pointing to the fact the painter had seen the Shroud as we know it: in particular he drew our Lord Jesus Christ with only four fingers at his hands, though his angle of sight should have represented the thumb, which on the Shroud is hidden under the fingers, and thus no visible. But not seeing any thumb on the Shroud it is as if that painter thought Christ had no thumb! And then there is the fact that the Shroud is among the list of the relics claimed by the emperor from the Pope after the sack of Constantinople. That makes up to five historical proofs, more than necessary to establish a historical certitude.

Both the testimony of the knight and of the emperor establish the fact that the Shroud had been stolen, along with many other relics, from that city during the famous “sack of Constantinople.” What happened was that the knights were exacerbated by the lack of support of the emperor for their Crusade: all these knights were evidently helping the emperor against his threatening Muslim neighbours and he was offering them no help. They reacted wrongly and sacked the city. The emperor complained to the Pope. The Pope severely condemned the sack of that city, and demanded that the stolen relics be restituted, as they should. But many were not – including the Shroud.

d) Lirey, in Champagne, France. About 1350, the Shroud appears in France in the family of the descendants of a knight: his descendants asked for the permission for a pilgrimage to it, which was first given, then withdrawn, then given again. Thus there is about a gap of 150 years of silence; yet the very fact that it had been stolen renders this very easily understandable: the thief did not want to restitute it, and only when his heirs was no longer fearing that restitution would be demanded did they start exposing it publicly.

As I said, it was temporarily forbidden, because of the opposition of certain people – and the document of the bishop claiming that he found the artist who painted it is often presented as a proof that it was a fake from the middle ages. But that document itself is refuted by modern science that has established beyond doubt that there is no paint on it! So, since the document attacking the authenticity of the Shroud is itself clearly a lie, how could the enemies of the Shroud present such lie as a proof?

e) Chambery. Later the Shroud was acquired by the Duke of Savoy and was thus transferred to Chambery. That is where it suffered from a fire in the chapel where it was reserved on the 4th December 1532. Later the duke of Savoy established himself in Turin, and wanted to bring the Shroud with him, but the canons of the Chambery did not allow such precious relic to leave their city. The duke found in the next occurrence the occasion he was looking for.

f) Translation to Turin in 1578: St Charles Borromeo was bishop of Milan at that time. A great pestilence rose in his city; he worked very hard, giving himself the sacraments to the dying, and begging the Lord to spare his city. He made the vow to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Shroud if God would spare his city, and was granted his petition. So he set for that pilgrimage. Now Turin is on one side of the Alps and Chambery on the other… and there was not yet any “tunnel under the Mont Blanc” at that time! These mountains are above 4000m high, so it is not an easy task to cross them! The paths are often much above 2000m, and the poor bishop’s health was not good. So, the Duke of Turin requested the canons of Chambery to bring to Shroud to the other side of the alps: St Charles Borromeo venerated it in Turin… and the Duke of Savoy kept the Shroud in Turin!

In Champagne, in Chambery and in Turin the Shroud was often the object the veneration of the faithful. A feast had been instituted to celebrate this exceptional relic. At one of the exposition, the Holy Shroud was held by four bishops and a Cardinal; one of the bishop was St Francis of Sales (or St Charles Borromeo? I am not sure). That saint was shedding abundant tears while meditating on the sufferings of Christ. Some tears were falling on the Shroud. The Cardinal told him: “Hold yourself, my lord!” But the Saint answered: “If my Lord and Master did not hesitate to shed His Blood for me on that Shroud, is it wrong that I shed tears for Him?”

During the French Revolution, Napoléon’s armies invaded northern Italy. The Shroud was then hidden to avoid being stolen. But from that time, due to the revolutionary ideas widely spread in Piedmont, there were only few public expositions in the late 18th century and the 19th century, less than half a dozen.

g) 1898: first photograph. At the end of the 19th century, in order to help revive the Faith in Piedmont the bishops decide to make a great public exposition. At that occasion, a good amateur photographer, Secondo Pia, asked permission to take a photograph of the Shroud. When he developed its negative, he thought he had an apparition! He rushed to the bishop and said: “Look!” For the first time in close to 2000 years, the face of Christ was “visible” again, the negative photographic method had revealed this HIDDEN image. That hidden image had been there for more than 1850 years, and was reserved by God for our time of “scientism” and scepticism, where people refuse to believe what they can’t see. Well, God said, then LOOK! Science itself was showing the face of Christ to us again!

This is the SIMPLEST AND GREATEST PROOF of the authenticity of the Holy Shroud: how could a forger make an image containing such beautiful image, without any anatomic error, more than 500 years before the invention of photography, that would only be visible with photography? We have today absolutely no idea of what science will discover in 500 years! There is no way we could produce some artefact that could only be revealed with such science.

Moreover, some modern scientists who refuse to believe in the Shroud have tried to make “fake shrouds”, and they have failed: none of their trials have the properties of the Shroud image (no paint pigment, perfect photographic properties and even three-dimensional properties). If these scientists with their knowledge of modern science cannot do something that come even close to the perfection of the Holy Shroud, how could a forger do so 500 years ago? This is evidently impossible. So, it is not a forgery.
 

5/ Science
This first photographic image sent a shock wave in the scientific community. A French Doctor, Yves Delage, member of the French Academy of Science – which was a gathering of sceptics – went to Turin: he was an agnostic who was used to laugh at holy pictures and statues, always finding anatomic faults in them (artists are not medical doctors…) He analysed the Shroud, but found no mistake. He presented a paper on the Shroud to the Academy of Sciences, Paris, arguing for the Shroud's medical and general scientific convincingness, and stating his opinion that it genuinely wrapped the body of Christ. His paper is rejected by the Academy. He was so disgusted by them that he gave his resignation.

The Shroud had started its challenge to the scientific community – it is still challenging it today!

The Shroud was first analysed by medical doctors, as Yves Delage. One of his pupils, Paul Vignon – a good Catholic – took a great interest in the Shroud and is really the founder of the “Sindonology – science of the Holy Shroud.” Since the Shroud contains a double image of the body, front and back, it is quite evident that the measurements must match – and they do match: a feat that a painter/forger would have a very hard time to achieve.

Another famous doctor who studied the Shroud is Dr Barbet, author of a book entitled: “The Passion of Jesus Christ according to the surgeon” (French title, the English translation is entitled: “A Doctor at Calvary”).

Other doctors in medicine have thoroughly studied the Shroud, and have concluded very positively on it. One can mention Dr Robert Bucklin and Dr Frederick Zugibe and many others.

b) STURP: in 1978, for the 400th anniversary of the translation of the Shroud to Turin, it is decided that there will be a public exposition. There were so many pilgrims, more than 3 millions, that they had to extend the time of the exposition. The whole seminary of Ecône – I was there – went. That is the first time I saw it: I fell in love for it at first sight! At that time, a group of American scientists formed itself and called itself the STURP (“Shroud of Turin Research Project”); they asked permission to analyse it. The Church said that they were not allowed to touch it – the Church did not want any experiment that would destroy this irreplaceable relic. But these scientists said: “this is not a problem for us. It is like a star: we can look at it, but we can’t touch it. Yet we have methods to studies the stars, especially spectroscopy,” that is, the analysis of the light that is reflected by it. So the Church gave them five days. They brought about 3 tons of scientific machines.

At first, they thought it would be very easy to prove it was a fake. But when their first viewing showed clearly that there was no pigment on it, they became very intensely interested and decided to use every minute granted to them: they made three shifts and were actives during the entire 120 hours allotted to them. They published their conclusion over several years in scientific journals. They summarize thus their conclusion: “We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved.”

c) The physicist John P. Jackson, member of the STURP, used a three-dimensional technology that gives satisfactory results with the mountain reliefs on Mars, and that technology gives acceptable results also for the Holy Shroud. No other image of on earth, neither painted not even photographed, would give such satisfactory results, because of the shadows. These results are confirmed by the Italian prof. Giovanni Tamburelli who obtained a 3D-elaboration from the Shroud with even higher resolution.

d) Textile experts: According to textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg of Hamburg, a seam in the cloth corresponds to a fabric found at the fortress of Masada near the Dead Sea, which dated to the 1st century. The weaving pattern, 3:1 twill, is consistent with first-century Syrian design, according to the appraisal of Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology in Belgium. Flury-Lemberg stated: "The linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin does not display any weaving or sewing techniques which would speak against its origin as a high-quality product of the textile workers of the first century."

e) An expert in flowers and pollens found all kinds of pollens on the Shroud that confirm the above history of its whereabouts, though pollens are not always as precise as one thinks, because some species of flowers live in wide areas. So, this is not a strict proof, but it corroborates the data of other sciences.


6/ Carbon 14 dating?
The first suggestions to use carbon dating to find the date of the cloth were rejected because at that time (1960s) it would have required the destruction of a large piece of this irreplaceable relic. But later, when technology had improved and only required a small sample, the idea was taken again. Thus, on 29th September 1986, a protocol had been agreed for this experiment. Such protocol is a set of rules which all persons involved agree to follow in the performance of the experiment in order to guarantee the reliability of its results. This 1986 protocol involved six points:

1/ there would be two methods of carbon dating, a newer one and an older one.
2/ there would be seven laboratories.
3/ there would be two other cloths of known origin (and date) as “control samples”.
4/ there would be “blind testing”, i.e. the three cloths (Shroud + 2 samples) would be put in numbered containers, with the laboratories not knowing which cloth was in which container.
5/ the tests would be performed simultaneously by the laboratories, so that they would not know the results of the others when doing their own tests.
6/ there would be the joint supervision of the British Museum, the archbishop of Turin and the Pontifical Academy of Science.

But ALL THESE agreed rules were BROKEN: only one method was used, in only three laboratories, with a third suspicious control sample, without blind testing, one laboratory doing its experiment a whole month after the other two and having access to their results, and the Pontifical Academy of Science was excluded from supervision of the experiment. The fact that all these rules, not just one or two, have been broken already casts a severe doubt on the reliability of the result. Some scientists said so very loudly, but later – because the results were according to their wishes, they quashed their conscience and accepted them.

On the agreed date, April 21st 1988, three pieces of the Shroud were cut, weighted, together with the other two control samples brought by Dr Tite of the British Museum and a third one brought by G. Vial from France. All these cutting and weighing activities were duly photographed and recorded on video. Then Dr Tite and the archbishop of Turin went to the side sacristy and put these into numbered steel containers, the fourth sample being put in a simple envelope since it was additional and apparently had not been foreseen! The actions in that side sacristy were not photographed nor video-recorded. Then they went with all the other and gave the containers to the representatives of the laboratories… but told them which cloth each container, thus not observing the blind-testing protocol rule.

The big question: why then go to the side sacristy for putting these cloths in their containers, if they were to tell the laboratories which cloth each container contained? This make no longer any sense…

Then the Tucson laboratory in Arizona and the Zürich laboratory in Switzerland did their experiment – and their results were of the second half of the fourteenth century: somehow too late because there is historical evidence that the Shroud already existed in the mid-14th century at Lirey. But the Oxford laboratory did its experiment one month later and found results about 100 years earlier than the other two. Putting the results together they simply adopted a wider range of dates: AD 1260 – 1390, bringing the middle around 1325, just earlier than the known expositions.

Now there is a FRAUD in the very report of the experiment, which was finally published in the Nature magazine, Vol. 337, No. 6208, pp. 611-615, 16th February, 1989, available on the internet at:
http://www.shroud.com/nature.htm
 
The fraud consists in a rounding, that made people swallow a result which universally adopted scientific standards would reject. In its table 2, summary of data, it indicates that the chi square value for the Shroud is 6.4, with two degrees of freedom and rounds up the significance to 5%. Now if you make the calculation yourself, you would find that the significance is 4.07% and not 5%. Such rounding is a fraud, because 5% is the threshold under which any scientific experiment must be considered as non-conclusive! In laymen’s term: something happened in the experiment that requires it to be done again: one CANNOT rely on its results! If the significance is properly calculated, then the conclusion that imposes itself is that one cannot rely on that Carbon Dating experiment! To round up that significance in order to make people swallow a result which is scientifically not-acceptable is a fraud.

Given the fact of that fraud – which anyone with a scientific calculator can verify – one should not exclude the possibility of other frauds in that same experiment. Very often, in order to explain the results of that experiment, the one explanation which many people exclude a-priori is that of a fraud in that experiment: yet, as we shall see, it is the most likely explanation of all!

Let us list the possible solutions that diverse people have put forward to explain these results:

1/ the Shroud is a medieval forgery, really dating from AD 1260 – 1390. But then, “if the most advanced technologies available in the 21st century could not produce a facsimile of the shroud image, he reasons, how could it have been executed by a medieval forger?” (Physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro)

2/ the Shroud is authentic, but carbon dating is not reliable: this non-reliability of the method is very unlikely, especially if it can be so-widely wrong, otherwise it would never be used so often in scientific world.

3/ There is coating of fungus that twisted the results. Now in order to change so much the calculated date of the cloth, there would be need of a large quantity of such fungus, and then it is very unlikely that such fungus would not have been observed at the time of the microscopic examinations by the STURP.

4/ Some have suggested a “perfect invisible seam repair” done sometime in the Middle ages. But if such “perfect seam” can be invisible to the naked eye, it is also unlikely that it be invisible to the microscope!

5/ That the fire would have changed the carbon content. But the cut is from an area very little touched by the fire – so unlikely to change much the date.

6/ The last option: that the cloth measured by the three laboratories was NOT the cloth of the Shroud, but that it had been exchanged – in the side room, with no video-recording away from the eyes of the crowd – with another cloth of medieval origin. Now, such fraud cannot be ascertained since the guilty person has not confessed his deed – but it is undoubtedly the EASIEST to reproduce. Moreover, that would render an account of the presence of that fourth sample. Indeed, that fourth sample is from a cope of St. Louis, bishop of Toulouse, and had been asked by Dr Tite from G. Vial: that cloth was exactly from the “desired range”: “On the basis of the stylistic details and the historical evidence the cope could be dated at AD 1290 - 1310 (reign of King Phillipe IV).” Now G. Vial was not able to send it to Dr Tite, because of the strikes of the French Postal system, which rendered such sending very unreliable, so he decided to bring it himself, and on the day insisted that it be used, though Dr Tite has brought another sample. What does it prove? That Dr Tite was looking for a medieval cloth from the early 14th century.

Now if Dr Tite has brought a medieval cloth from the late 14th century, and passed it as the cloth of an “early second century AD mummy of Cleopatra from Thebes” (not the friend of Julius Caesar, but another Egyptian noble), and exchanged it with the Shroud in the side room, everything fits easily together. Moreover it explains the results for the third sample: the middle year is year AD 37-44, very close to Christ, but Cleopatra died about 70 years later: you do not bury a noble in a seventy year old cloth!

Given that Dr Tite did one fraud in the very report of the experiment, why would he not have done another fraud within the experiment itself? The fact of the one fraud proves the possibility of the second! And given the very unlikeliness of the other solutions, one should adopt the most likely one: the Carbon 14 Dating experiment of the Holy Shroud was itself a fraud, not the Shroud!

Note that one year later, one million British pounds are given to Prof. Hall, of the Oxford laboratory, for his results on the carbon-dating of the Holy Shroud, which were assigned to a new chair of archaeology at the university to be occupied by Dr Tite: the 30 pieces of silver received by Judas have grown to 1,000,000£!

7/ After the Carbon-dating, studies continued
A textile expert pointed out that the bleaching of the cloth was an ancient method, before the 8th century. More recent method would use large bath and bleach the whole cloth after the weaving; ancient method would use smaller bath and bleach the thread before the weaving. Given the fact that each bath is not always as strong as another, in the ancient methods the thread is not evenly bleached and some threads are darker than others; in the more recent method since the whole cloth is bleached at once, it is evenly bleached. Now even a naked-eye observation – even on this copy – can easily detect that the bleach is uneven, hence pointing to an older method: the cloth is anterior to the 8th century (hence the so-called carbon-14 dating of the Shroud did not give the right dates).

Many experts were not satisfied by the results of the carbon-14 dating, and have continued their research and analysis after it, not fearing to assert a date that does not fit the official results of the carbon-14 dating.

I have not followed all these recent studies closely. In general, I think one needs to keep a certain prudence with regard of some of the studies done. One can easily be carried away either in one direction (denying the authenticity of the Shroud without sufficient reason) or in the opposite direction (asserting certain thesis in favour of that authenticity, but also without sufficient reason).

It is important to keep a certain measure with regard to certain assertions. For instance, some say that there are coins on the eyes, coins of the time of Tiberius Caesar: now this is possible, and there are indeed some resemblance, but I think one should not assert this as an absolute certitude: the points of resemblance are not enough to make such assertion. So one should say that there may have been some coins on the eyes: it is a legitimate opinion, but not an absolute certitude. The same is true for quite a few other resemblances: flowers, inscriptions, etc. They may be true, but are far from evident.

These questions are very different from the fact that this Shroud has contained a body with all the wounds that the Gospel describe in our Lord Jesus Christ: this fact has so much arguments in its favour that one may consider it as a certitude. If one denies its certitude, there would be a great many other so-called “scientific facts” that should be put in question, not having as much proofs as this one!


8/ The Holy Shroud in the light of Faith
Science is useful; it brings a soul at the door of Faith, but of itself it is not sufficient to enter. One remarkable aspect of modern science’s analysis of the Holy Shroud is that it shows the image on the Shroud to have properties linked with light: properties of a photographic negative; three-dimensional properties; superficial oxidation of the fibres similarly to the images caused by the radiation at Hiroshima, etc. It is as if the image was caused by a very powerful and short flash of light… in a dark tomb! That makes one immediately think of the Resurrection. Unfortunately, science cannot make experiments with the Resurrection, since it is not replicated at will. Yet, sciences points to it, like St John the Baptist pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ saying: “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Hearing these words, St Andrew and St John followed Jesus, who turned Himself and said to them: “What seek you?” They answered: “Rabbi, where dwellest thou?” He said to them: “Come and see!” (Jn. 1:38-39). Come and see, we can say the same in front of the Shroud: Let all come and see for themselves! Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Shroud speaks in silence: His eyes are closed; His mouth is closed on the Shroud; yet how eloquently does He speak to the souls who come and see Him!

The prophet Zachary announced 400 years earlier: “And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn” (Zach. 12:10).


“My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. Turn not away thy face from me” (Ps. 26:8-9).

“Seek ye the Lord, and be strengthened: seek his face evermore” (Ps. 104:4).

“Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found: call upon him, while he is near” (Isa. 55:6).

Of many great ancient men, we have statues sometimes made in their very lifetime. But of none we have an actual photograph! Of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have in a certain way His very photograph! This is absolutely unique for any great man of more than 150 years ago.

“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:6).

We see in the Shroud the truth of these words: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). We see the Love of God Who sent His Son: “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn. 3:16). And not only to live with us, but also and above all to die for our salvation: “He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). We see all that in the Shroud.

“See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have” (Lk. 24:39). “He shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord” (Jn. 20:20).

“Then He saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing” (Jn. 20:27). We can do the same on the Shroud.

With St Ignatius, we can say, while looking at each of the wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ: “It is FOR ME that He suffered this!” As St Paul said: “I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

“Be ye therefore imitators of God, as most dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness” (Eph. 5:1-2). In order to imitate Him, we must look at Him: no better way to look at Him than to meditate on this most holy image, “not made by human hands”.

“But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). If we want to bear for eternity the resemblance with the glorious Lord, we must put on here below the resemblance with the suffering Lord, as St Paul says: “we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:16-18).

We should also remember that all what we see on the Shroud, the Blessed Virgin Mary (and St John and the holy women) saw it live at the foot of the Cross; then our Lady washed the body and laid Him in this cloth with sorrow and love more than we can ever say. To look at the Passion of Jesus through the eyes of Mary, this is the best way.

Lastly let us consider that we see on the Shroud the image of Christ, but the reality of His body is not there. However, in the Holy Eucharist, though we do not see His image, we know that the reality of the His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is there, fully and substantially, alive! Hence the immense superiority of the Holy Eucharist above the Holy Shroud. And at the Mass, it is not just the image of all His suffering, but the very Sacrifice of Christ which He offered on the Cross, and which is really offered on the Altar.


Fr. F. Laisney