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
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
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
»» 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,
»» 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
»» 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
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