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History of the Shroud


     Much has been said about the Shroud and its early history. Ian Wilson, a renowned Shroud historian, has pieced together a complete history of the Shroud. He has done a wonderful job of filling in the missing years before its appearance in Constantinople in 944 AD. After Constantinople was sacked and plundered during the Fourth Crusade of 1204 AD, the Shroud went missing. It resurfaced 149 years later (1353) in Lirey France in the care of a French Knight Geoffroi de Charney.


    Crusader Knights played a big part in the raid of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, and the Knights Templers are known to have had a great reverence for holy objects. They of course would have known about the Shroud.  It is believed they secretly smuggled the Shroud into France, their country of residence.

    An interesting link has surfaced connecting the Knights Templar to this event.  The Knights Templar was disbanded in 1307 by King Philip IV and Pope Clement V on trumped up charges of Heresy.  Sir Knight Geoffrey de Charny (Preceptor of Normandy for the Knights Templar) and Jacques De Molay (Grand Master of the Knights Templar) were burned at the stake together on charges of heresy.  This event speaks to a very high ranking Knight of the Order (Geoffrey de Charny) who was executed with the highest ranked Knight of the Order, Grand Master Jacque Molay.
 

    The 1353 exhibit of the Shroud in Lirey France
was carried out by a different Geoffroi de Charney. He has long been suspected of being related to the first Geoffrey de Charny.    Evidence here points to: the Shroud being passed on within the same family for safe keeping.

    The last survivor of this second Charney family bequeathed the Shroud to the Duke of Savoy in 1453 AD..    Umberto II of Savoy, (the last king of Italy), died in 1986 and bequeathed the Shroud to the Catholic Church, in perpetual care of Pope John Paul II and his successors.    



The Shroud of Turin,
(1979, Ian Wilson) is a classical read on the early travels of the Shroud..



Prior to 1353, the Shroud is not fully documented, but a significant historical trail allows for the following reconstruction of the cloth's early history.

70 A.D. - Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Empire. Legend suggests the Shroud was taken to Edessa (now Urfa, Turkey) by St Jude Thaddeus
, one of the original Apostles of Jesus Christ.  History and Journey  Sometime following this date. Persecutions in the second century caused the cloth to be hidden away inside the fortified wall surrounding the city.

525 A.D. - A severe flood destroyed most of Edessa. The cloth was rediscovered during the rebuilding of the walls. It became known as "The Image of Edessa" and later was called the "Mandylion".

944 A.D. - The Byzantine Imperial Army invaded Edessa for the express reason of retrieving the cloth from the city which had fallen to Islam. It was taken to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and presented to the Emperor.

1204 A.D. - Constantinople was invaded by the Fourth Crusade and the Mandylion disappeared. Evidence suggests it was secretly kept by the Knights Templars.

1353 A.D. - Geoffrey DeCharney first exhibited the Shroud in Lirey, France. Evidence indicates that certain ancestral family members were also leaders within the Templar organization.

        Could the Shroud and the Mandylion be the same cloth?   Many say yes.   If not, then what was the "Image on Cloth" stolen from Constantinople?   Where did it go?   Or is it the Shroud?   Both science and history seem to indicate that this is the case.

Again in 1353 - The Shroud's fully documented history began in Western Europe when it was revealed by Geoffrey DeCharney in Lirey, France.

1452 A.D. - DeCharney's granddaughter sold the cloth to the Duke of Savoy in exchange for two castles.

1532 A.D. - The burial linen was severely damaged by fire in Chambery, France.

1578 A.D. - The cloth was moved to Turin, Italy for safe keeping and remains there until this day.

1898 A.D. - The Shroud was photographed for the first time by Secondo Pia. These first pictures led to the discovery that the image on the cloth is actually a negative. In other words, the image becomes positive only when the light values are reversed in a photographic negative. This discovery startled the scientific community and stimulated worldwide interest.

1931 A.D. - Guisseppe Enrie photographed the Shroud again with more advanced film technology confirming that the Shroud is indeed a negative image. Copies of Enrie's photos were circulated throughout the world prompting more scientific inquiry and interest.

1950 A.D.- Dr. Pierre Barbet, a prominent French Surgeon, published his landmark book, A Doctor at Calvary documenting 15 years of medical research on the Shroud image. He described the physiology and pathology of the man on the Shroud as "anatomically perfect".

1973 A.D. - Max Frei, a noted Swiss criminologist, was given permission to take dust samples from the Shroud which contained pollen. He discovered 22 pollen species from plants that are unique to areas around Constantinople and Edessa, and 7 pollen species from plants common only to the Middle East. The pollen trail confirmed the historical trail.

1975 A.D
.- Air Force scientists John Jackson and Eric Jumper, using a sophisticated image enhancement analyzer designed for the space program, discovered the Shroud image contained encoded 3-D data not found in ordinary reflected light photographs. This discovery indicated that the cloth must have been enfolded around a real human figure at the time the image was formed.

1978 A.D. - The Shroud was on public exhibit for the first time since 1933 and was displayed for six weeks. Over 3 million people passed through the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to view it behind bullet proof glass. At the close of the exhibition, 40 scientists comprising the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), mostly from the United States, analyzed the Shroud for five continuous days (122 hours) working in shifts around the clock.

1986 A.D. - Umberto II of Savoy, who was deposed as the king of Italy in 1946, died in 1986 and bequeathed the Shroud to John Paul II and his successors, thus ending over four centuries of control of the Shroud by the House of Savoy.

1988 A.D.- The Shroud was carbon dated by three laboratories as being only 700 to 800 years old. This now poses the greatest dilemma for proponents of the Shroud. The Shroud cannot be explained in a medieval context because it presupposes medical, artistic, and historical knowledge of crucifixion practices totally unknown in the Middle Ages. It also contradicts other documentation pointing to a Middle East origin from the first century including a Roman coin over the right eye minted between 29 to 33 AD. The validity of the C-14 tests is now being seriously questioned due to issues of; improper protocol such as relying only on one sample site for the test; the possible contamination of the sample; carbon enrichment due to the 1532 fire; or even the possibility of having dated a re-woven part of the Shroud since it was cut from the outside edge (exactly where C-14 experts say to avoid due to possibilities of exess contamination). One cannot dismiss the Shroud's authenticity based on C-14 alone. Science must be in harmony to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. This is not the case with the Shroud. After the year 2,000 more testing will be done that may answer some of these questions. In the meantime, the Shroud remains one of the greatest mystery stories of all time.

1997 A.D. - Noted Israeli Botanist and a professor at Hebrew University, Avinoam Danin confirmed Dr. Alan Whanger's discovery of flower images on the Shroud. Of the 28 images found, pollen for 27 of them are confirmed to be from plants around Jerusalem. This evidence suggests the Shroud was used for an actual burial in the land of Israel.

- Also in 1997, fire broke out in the dome of Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin. Firefighters saved the Shroud by breaking the glass of its bullet proof outer container and removing it from the cathedral. The Shroud was not damaged in any way.


2002 A.D.
- The Shroud is cleaned and restored by the Catholic Church.