Monday, November 5, 2012

The Shroud of Turin: 2.2. The Shroud's location

This is part 8, "2.2. The Shroud's location" in my series, The Shroud of Jesus? The previous page was part 7, "2.1. A linen sheet " See part 1, the main Contents page, for more information about this series .

© Stephen E. Jones

1578 Turin Cathedral. Since 1578[1], over 400 years, except for comparatively brief periods in times of war[2], and fire (see below), the Shroud has been located in or around St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Turin, Italy.

[Above (click to enlarge): Belltower, Church and Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista). The Chapel of the Holy Shroud, which was for nearly 300 years (1694-1993), the resting place of the Shroud of Turin, was added to the structure in 1668-1694[3].]

1694 Royal Chapel. In 1694 the Shroud was moved into a purpose-built Chapel of the Holy Shroud (Capella della Santa Sindone), or Royal Chapel, between the Cathedral and the Savoy Royal Palace, designed by the Italian architect Guarino Guarini (1624-1683)[4].

[Above (click to enlarge): Interior of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud before it was closed for repair in 1990[5].

1993 Turin Cathedral. In 1990, the Guarini Chapel had to be closed because of large lumps of stone falling from its dome[6]. A bulletproof laminated

[Right: The Shroud's casket, in its bulletproof glass display case, behind the high altar of Turin Cathedral, between 1993 and the 1997 fire[7].]

glass display case was constructed for the Shroud in the Cathedral, behind the high altar, and in 1993 the Shroud, still in its 17th century silvered wooden casket, was installed into its new home[8].

1997 fire. On the night of 11 April, 1997, a major fire gutted the Royal Chapel, part of the Cathedral and the adjoining Royal Palace[9]. But for the heroic action of a fireman, Mario Trematore, who ignoring the extreme risk to his own life, broke into the Shroud's laminated glass case with his fireman's axe, and dragged the Shroud's container to safety, the Shroud would almost certainly have been destroyed[10].

[Above: Fire engulfs the Royal Chapel and Turin Cathedral on the night of 11 April, 1997.[11]

1997-98 Archbishop of Turin's residence. The Shroud in its container was taken under cover of darkness to the residence of the then Archbishop of Turin, the late Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini (1924-2011), and when opened the Shroud was found to be undamaged.[12] Because there were indications that the fire was deliberately lit[13], the Shroud's location was kept secret until 1998[14].

1998-2005 Turin Cathedral. For the 1998 exhibition, the Shroud was displayed in Turin Cathedral with a steel wall behind it to hide the fire damage to the Chapel behind it, and upon the wall was painted a trompe l'oeil (illusory perspective) scene of how the interior of the Chapel would have looked in the 1820s[15].

[Above: The Shroud (behind the curtains) in Turin Cathedral from 1998. On display is a photograph of the Shroud[16].]

For the 1998 exposition a 4.6 x 1.4 m [17], fire-proof[18], glass-fronted, conservation case was constructed in which the Shroud could be permanently stored flat in a primarily inert argon atmosphere where no microorganisms can live to attack it.[19] The glass is 6 cms thick and bullet-proof and the container is air-conditioned to maintain optimum levels of temperature and humidity.[20] The case can be tilted ninety degrees when the Shroud is on public display.[21]

[Above: The Shroud in its high-technology conservation container is prayed over by the present Archbishop of Turin, Severino Poletto (1933-)[22].]

2005 Turin Cathedral. In 2005[23], the Shroud, inside its case, was installed

[Left: Floor plan of Turin Cathedral showing the Shroud's present location since 2005, in a side chapel in the left transept of the Cathedral[24].]

in its new permanent reliquary (see below), in a side chapel in the north (left) transept of Turin Cathedral[25].

[Above (click to enlarge): The Shroud's reliquary, its current resting place, in a side chapel of Turin Cathedral[26].]

1. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.220. [return]
2. In 1706 a French army besieged Turin, but the Shroud had as a precaution been quietly moved to the north coastal Italian city of Genoa for its safety. Then in World War II, the Shroud was secretly moved to a monastery in the southern Italian province of Avellino for seven years from 1939 to 1946. (Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.271,274). [return]
3. "Turin Cathedral," Wikipedia, 5 September 2012). [return]
4. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.112. [return]
5. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.17. [return]
6. Wilson, 2010, p.282. [return]
7. Wilson, 2010, p.282. [return]
8. Wilson, 2010, p.282. [return]
9. "The 1997 Fire,", April, 1997. [return]
10. Wilson, 1998, p.2. [return]
11. Wilson, 2010, p.274H[return]
12. Wilson, 1998, p.2. [return]
13. Wilson, 1998, p.2. [return]
14. Wilson, 2010, p.283. [return]
15. Wilson, 2010, pp.283-284. [return]
16. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.ii. [return]
17. Whiting, B., "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, p.177. [return]
18. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.350. [return]
19. Wilson, 2010, p.284. [return]
20. "From Turin: Revealed: The Shroud's New Home," British Society of the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 49, June 1999. [return]
21. Wilson, 2010, p.284. [return]
22. Wilson, 2010, p.82A. [return]
23. Schwortz, B., "2005 Website News," [return]
24. "News 2000," Collegamento pro Sindone. [return]
25. de Wesselow, 2012, p.350. [return]
26. Schwortz, 2005. [return]

Continued in part 9, "2.3. The man on the Shroud".

Last updated: 10 June, 2015.

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