Monday, March 24, 2008

Shroud News - February 2008

Here also belatedly, is my Shroud of Turin News for February 2008, hot on the heels of my Shroud News for January 2008.

[Above: A high-definition digital photo of the face on the Shroud, Discovery News]

There does not seem to have been any othew news about the Shroud in February, except the BBC documentary that was shown on Easter Saturday, of which I have to date heard nothing, presumably because it is still a public holiday. I want to `clear the decks' of February's Shroud news items, so I can report on the programme and any results of tests, either specially or in the March Shroud News, or both. These February items are in descending date order (most recent first). My comments are in bold.

Shroud of Turin Gets High-Def Scrutiny, Discovery News, Rossella Lorenzi, Feb. 28, 2008 -- The Turin shroud, the 14-by 4-foot linen long believed to have been wrapped around Jesus' body after the crucifixion, has entered the digital age. A huge 12.8 billion-pixel image was made of the linen, on which the smudged outline of the body of a man is indelibly impressed. The image was made following a Vatican request to obtain the most detailed reproduction of the yellowing ancient cloth. The technology allows a level of scrutiny of the linen as never achieved before. "The Shroud has been photographed in high definition for the first time. We have stitched together 1,600 shots, each the size of a credit card, to create a huge photo which is almost 1,300 times stronger than a picture taken with a 10 million pixel digital camera," This was shown on the BBC documentary shown on Easter Saturday (although I have not yet seen it here in Australia). It will be interesting to see what this reveals, e.g. the presence of flower and coin images, etc. The very fact that such a high-definition photo can be done and yet not reveal any artist's workings such as brushstrokes, etc, shows that the Shroud image can not be a human product. No fake, let alone a medieval one, could have stood up to this amount of scientific scrutiny for so long.

Fresh tests on Shroud of Turin,, Jonathan Petre, 26/02/2008 ... The Oxford laboratory that declared the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake 20 years ago is investigating claims that its findings were wrong. The head of the world-renowned laboratory has admitted that carbon dating tests it carried out on Christendom's most famous relic may be inaccurate. Carbon dating tests carried out 20 years ago on the Shroud of Turin suggested that the relic was a forgery Professor Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said he was treating seriously a new theory suggesting that contamination had skewed the results. Though he stressed that he would be surprised if the supposedly definitive 1988 tests were shown to be far out - especially "a thousand years wrong" - he insisted that he was keeping an open mind. The development will re-ignite speculation about the four-metre linen sheet, which many believe bears the miraculous image of the crucified Christ. ... The results, which are due next month, will form part of a documentary on the Turin Shroud that is being broadcast on BBC 2 on Easter Saturday. ... This is basically the same article in The West Australian newspaper that I posted last month. As previously mentioned, this article is wrong in its claim that there will "Fresh tests on the Shroud of Turin" when there are not to be any tests on the Shroud itself. I assume that if anything is to be tested, it will be other items of old linen of known date, to see if radiocarbon-dating of old linen is inherently difficult, if not impossible, to date accurately.

Age test of Shroud of Turin planned, United Press International, Feb. 25, 2008 ...A British scientist is overseeing new tests on the Shroud of Turin that he says will show it dates to the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Professor Christopher Ramsey of Oxford wants to check the theory that some type of contamination of the cloth caused the carbon-dating tests run in 1988 to mistakenly peg the shroud as a medieval forgery. The 14-foot-long cloth bearing the image of a man is said to be the burial shroud of Jesus. However carbon dating 20 years ago indicated the cloth dated from A.D. 1260-1390. Ramsey's retest is based on the theory that the level of contamination on the cloth required to skew carbon-14 dating results is far less than had been thought back in the 1980s ... The project will be covered in a BBC documentary that will reportedly include new supporting archaeological evidence. "This new theory only requires 2 percent contamination to skew the results by 1,500 years," said David Rolfe, the director of the documentary. "It springs from published data about the behavior of carbon-14 in the atmosphere which was unknown when the original tests were carried out 20 years ago." ... See above on there not going to be "new tests on the Shroud of Turin" itself. Also, Professor Ramsey was not going to "show it dates to the time of Jesus." As the previous article says, Prof. Ramsay does not believe the Shroud could be even "a thousand years wrong."

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

Updated: 3 July 2015

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shroud News - January 2008

Here, very belatedly, are news items about the Shroud of Turin, in January 2008.

[Left: Dorsal image of the man on the Shroud, showing his ponytail [I no longer maintain that this is a ponytail-see comment below.] (see below). Image Gallery, The Shroud of Turin Education Project]

Previous issues of Shroud News were: Dec-07, Nov-07, Oct-2007, Sep-07, Aug-07 & Jul-07. My comments are in bold. Celebrates 12th Anniversary, January 21, 2008 ... "A Detailed Critical Review of the Chemical Studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations," by Thibault Heimburger, M.D. A valuable comparison of the testing, analysis and interpretation of STURP's 1978 data by STURP's John Heller and Alan Adler versus Walter McCrone (see `tagline' quote, Heimburger, 2008).

British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter, December 2007. ... "The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Man on The Shroud's ponytail," by Cesar Barta. Evidence that the ponytail

[Above (click to enlarge): `Butterfly Wings' and other stains on the reverse side of the Sudarium of Oviedo, Bennett, J., "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo" (2001)]

on the Shroud's back image matches the stains and folds of the Sudarium of Oviedo (see `tagline' quotes, Barta, 2007). This is yet more evidence to add to the already overwhelming evidence that the Shroud of Turin (and the Sudarium of Oviedo) are the very graveclothes of Jesus Christ! See Shroud Report Interview with Mark Guscin for how the Sudarium of Oviedo fitted over Jesus' head.

"The 'Missing Years' of the Shroud," by Alessandro Piana. An important piece of historical research which shows how after the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Shroud might have come into the possession of a French Crusader knight Otho de la Roche (1180-1324, who became the Duke of Athens and was an ancestor of Jeanne de Vergy, the wife of Geoffroi I de Charny (c.1300-1356), the first documented owner of the Shroud (see `tagline' quotes, Piana, 2007).

The Silent Witness II - by David Rolfe. A brief introduction to the BBC 2 documentary

[Right: David Rolfe on cover of December's British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter]

on the Shroud to screen tonight, Saturday 22 March, at 8:30-9:30 pm London time. While I probably won't be able to see it in Australia, at least for some time, I will blog about reports by those who have seen it.

"A Proposal to Radio Carbon Date the Pollen on the Shroud of Turin" by Stephen E. Jones. That is, yours truly. See part #1 of my series of comments on my article.

"Shrouded in mystery," Savannah Morning News, Dana Clark Felty, January 26, 2008. A reflection by Barrie Schwortz, photographer member of the Shroud of Turin Research Project's team which examined the Shroud 30 years ago in 1978, who is Jewish, states:

"It's not a painting, not a photograph, not an etching, not a scorch, not a burn, not a man-made image of any kind ... I believe that the Shroud of Turin wrapped the crucified body of Jesus of Nazareth ... the facts present a challenge to those unwilling to consider the possibility that it's genuine. ... it does, in fact, provide a real enigma to those who may want to reject the whole concept of Christianity.'"
Why the Turin Shroud is not authentic, Spero News, David Roemer, January 18, 2008 ... The reason the image on the Shroud is miraculous and is a sign of Jesus'authority is that scientists have failed so far to give a reasonable explanation of how the image was formed. The first scientist to try and fail was Vignon. It is an ongoing failure of science and history and an ongoing mystery. Whereas the Resurrection and healings of Jesus were miraculous events occurring at particular points in time, the Shroud is a miraculous artifact that will endure until its mystery is solved by scientists and historians. Having read this several times, it seems to me that the title of this article should be "Why the Turin Shroud is authentic"!

See `tagline' quotes below (Emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine).

"Conclusion I examined carefully, objectively and in detail almost all the published articles about this important question. All the arguments presented in these studies have been discussed: nothing was omitted (at least to my knowledge), contrary to what is too often observed on both sides of the controversy. In addition, I have tried to find in scientific papers on the Internet the answers to some of the most important questions. I can conclude what follows: - STURP, Heller and Adler conducted their studies following the true scientific method, using the largest set of methods and instruments available, carefully comparing the properties of all the types of objects, testing all the samples for a good representativeness, developing appropriate methods and using a number of controls. On the opposite McCrone's conclusions were in fact based on questionable visual examinations, a few poor tests on bad samples, using no or bad controls and without distinguishing between blood and image samples etc. - STURP conclusions are compatible with all the observed facts, while McCrone's are not compatible with many of them. The STURP findings are self-consistent, and, some of them, could not have been imagined at the beginning (the bilirubin and the particular nature of the blood). They are also perfectly consistent with the forensic studies. - STURP's interpretation is able to explain most of McCrone's findings on the basis of his biased conditions of observations, his use of bad tests and finally wrong interpretations, while McCrone's hypothesis can not explain most of the facts observed by STURP or even by everybody else (fluorescent serum halo for example). ... Definitely, the Shroud is not a painting and the blood is real blood." (Heimburger, T., "A Detailed Critical Review of the Chemical Studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations," January 21, 2008. Emphasis original).

"General coincidences According to tradition, both the Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin are relics of Christ. A series of determining coincidences have been discovered in various specialities of scientific research. Both cloths were used on a man with a beard, moustache and long hair. The correspondence between various anatomical aspects of the two faces is good, such as the nose and the nostrils, the eyebrows, the size of the mouth and chin and even the shape of the beard ... Both the Shroud and the Sudarium clearly show death by crucifixion, and in the case of the Sudarium the subject died in an upright position after torture that caused a pulmonary oedema, perfectly compatible with crucifixion, as both hanging and being impaled on a stake can be eliminated. Both subjects bled through the nose and mouth. The blood is postmortem and lifeblood in the same areas on both cloths. Both subjects underwent torture that is recognisable as being crowned with thorns, leaving lifeblood flows on the nape of the neck. When a photograph of the Sudarium is superimposed on the nape area of the Shroud the geometric coincidence between the stains is 75%. Possible discrepancies are due to the fact that the Shroud is not creased in this area while the Sudarium is. The blood group on both is the scarce AB. The chances of the blood group coinciding is approximately one in a thousand ... and it does coincide. There are other signs too that the Sudarium of Oviedo was used on the Man on the Shroud. The Man's hair on the Shroud remains next to the cheeks in spite of the horizontal position of the body, and this is explained by the fixative effect the Sudarium had, holding the hair in that position for over two hours of use." (Barta, C., 2007, "The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Man on the Shroud's ponytail," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 66, December. Emphasis original).

"The ponytail on the Shroud We would like to add to these coincidences the presence of the matted hair tied up in a ponytail on the Man of the Shroud. It is easy to see the back of the hair on the Shroud image. If we look carefully and use the reinforced negative image, we can clearly see long hair falling from the bottom of the nape of the neck to the space between the shoulder blades .... The hair looks very much like a ponytail and yet we cannot see anything that is holding it in such a position. ... However, it would seem unlikely that the subject's hair would remain in place after the torture suffered. Furthermore, there is no evidence of anything holding the ponytail in position. How could it have held thus? We believe there is a simpler and more probable solution that comes from the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo on the Man on the Shroud's head; the so-called `ponytail' is the result of the Sudarium being placed and sewn around the hair on the back of the head to hold it in place." (Barta, 2007, p.3-4. Emphasis original).

"The ponytail on the Sudarium There is a stain in the lower left corner of the obverse of the Sudarium that looks like the silhouette of a butterfly ... It is just below the stain dots on the nape of the neck and can be reproduced in the laboratory when bloodstained cotton is wrapped in linen and pressure is applied to it .... The cotton is like a lock of compressed hair and the butterfly stain corresponds to the ponytail. The presence of this unique lock of hair is indeed a point of coincidence between the two cloths, but its origin lies precisely in the way the Sudarium of Oviedo was used on the victim. The most likely sequence of use begins by placing the edge of the cloth on the right of the nape of the neck with the lower corner slightly below the cervical vertebrae, thus covering the back of the neck and the top of the head. The rest of the Sudarium covered the left ear, the nose and mouth and reached the right cheek. It was then folded back again on the nose and mouth. The right ear was left uncovered in the first phase. In order to hold the cloth in this position it was sewn with linen thread (some is still left) to the hair on the back of the head. This can be deduced by sets of two holes relatively parallel from the bloodstains to the butterfly stain .... The sewing holes do not only cover the area between the stains but the strains themselves and then they go a few centimetres further on each side. The holes are conical and we can thus deduce where the needle went in and where it came out again. There was a matted lock of hair between the linen and the stitches for approximately two hours .... Dirty hair impregnated with blood and sweat held in this position for two hours would leave it firmly in place. The author has carried out various experiments of the process of what happened to Jesus' hair during the passion. Volunteers' hair was covered with serum, dust and blood and it was seen that it became firm when the blood originally from the thorns dried ..." (Barta, 2007, p.4-6).

"A series of stains were produced in the corner of the Sudarium in this position that we shall now describe. A series of small bloodstains can be seen towards the lower left corner of the reverse side, which were produced by small sharp objects that could very well correspond to a crown of thorns, as mentioned in the gospels. These stains consist of lifeblood, i.e. the blood was shed while the subject was still alive, it stained the hair and before drying soaked the part of the Sudarium that was placed over the nape of the neck. The blood soaked through the cloth and can also be seen on the right hand side of the obverse. The stains correspond to those in the same area of the Shroud in size, number, shape and blood type. We thus have a reference point to compare the adjacent zones on both cloths. The butterfly stain is about 10cm below the stains on the nape of the neck on the Sudarium. In spite of its being close to the lifeblood on the nape of the neck, this stain consists of post mortem blood. The different nature of the two fluids is evident when they are illuminated with infrared light. The butterfly stain disappears while those on the nape of the neck are still visible .... Invisibility under infrared light is a characteristic that the butterfly stain shares with the main central stains, which could suggest a common origin. It could be the same mixture of pulmonary oedema fluid and blood that flowed out of the nose and mouth when the body was lying face up. In that position the fluid came out of the right of the mouth and ran down to the lower part of the jaw, the right of the neck and dripped down onto the lowest point of the cervical area. This became the central part of the butterfly stain on the Sudarium .... A small stain is visible on the same area of the Shroud, whose nature has not been defined and it could correspond to the point where the oedema fluid passed through the matted hair ..." (Barta, 2007, p.6-8).

"We conclude that the hair was pulled back and sewn to the Sudarium on the back of the head. When the Sudarium was removed the ponytail shape would remain as the hair was not washed. When the dead body was placed inside the Shroud, the ponytail was recorded by the image formation process. The lock of hair defined by the use of the Sudarium could therefore be the Shroud's ponytail. This explanation was unexpectedly confirmed while overlaying the stains on the nape of the neck on the two cloths. We had to turn the Sudarium 19º, and in this position the stained corner of the Sudarium lies just over the sideways movement in the ponytail on the Shroud. ... the hair falls down from the left of the head towards the centre of the back and just where the edge of the Sudarium would be the ponytail moves sideways to fall vertically. The Oviedo cloth would have held the hair sideways and from that point the hair was free to fall straight. This also explains the shape of the ponytail on the Shroud. ... The presence of the peculiar lock of hair on the dorsal image of the Shroud is further proof of the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo on the head of the Man of the Shroud." (Barta, 2007, pp.8-9).

"One of the more difficult steps in writing the chronology of places in which the Shroud has been preserved is the historical gap of more or less one hundred and fifty years, from 1204 in Constantinople to its reappearance in Lirey in the 14th century. Different hypotheses have been formulated about these `missing years' One hypothesis extensively accepted is that the Holy Shroud that appeared in France, in Lirey, in the 14th century, is the same one seen in Constantinople in 1204 and taken during the Crusaders' plunder. So where was in the years in between? The Shroud in Constantinople In 944 the Byzantine army under John Curcuas besieged Arabian Edessa. The inhabitants were not able to withstand and losing control of the city had to hand over the most precious treasure preserved in the city, the mysterious image of Jesus face `not made by human hands'. This was taken to Constantinople in triumph on August 15th of the same year. Among different proofs of its arrival in the Byzantine capital there are the 13th century miniatures of John Skylitzes Cronaca. A crowd accompanied the Shroud in a long procession to the Pharos Theotokos church, near the Bucoleon, where it was placed in the oriental wing. Numerous records of ordinary travellers and famous kings in the 11th and 12th centuries mention the presence of the Shroud in the capital of the Eastern Empire, where it would remain until the Crusade in the 13th century. Robert de Clary was a knight and a chronicler of the crusade. In August 1203, during a ceasefire, he visited the city and described in his memories the treasures of Constantinople. He wrote: `Among other astonishing things there is a church called Saint Mary of Blacherne, where there is the Shroud, in which Our Lord Jesus was wrapped and that every Holy Friday is lifted up vertically, so that the shape of Our Lord could be seen very well.' [di Clari, R., "La conquista di Costantinopoli," Nada Patrone, A.M., transl., Genoa, 1972, p.227] Based on de Clary's description in those years the Shroud was lifted up vertically to show only the frontal image. After a short ceasefire, on 12th April the following year there was a second plunder of the city by the Crusaders. Many treasures were stolen along with relics. What happened to the Shroud? The answer is uncertain. De Clary wrote: `Nobody, nor Greek, neither Latin, knew what happened to the Shroud after the city siege.' [Ibid.]" (Piana, A., 2007, "The Shroud's "Missing Years," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 66. December, pp.9-25,28-31, pp.9-11).

"A trace in Athens We can state that the Shroud disappeared from Constantinople in the period between April 1204 and August 1205. Three elements confirm the presence of the Shroud in Athens in the summer of 1205. First of all a letter written on 1st August 1205 by Theodor Angel Comnenus, nephew of Isaac II, Byzantine Emperor, during the plunder of 1204, to Pope Innocent III. In this missive Theodor begged the Holy Father to retrieve as soon as possible precious relics that had been missing for over a year and wrote about the presence of the Holy Shroud in Athens. Moreover we have the statement of the papal legate Benedict of Santa Susanna, who in the summer of 1205 was in Athens to attend an inter-religious meeting. Then, Nicolas of Otranto, the abbot of Casola, wrote in 1207 about relics stolen in 1204 and mentioned the fabric used in the burial that he saw subsequently with his own eyes. Nicolas of Otranto was indeed in Athens in 1206 and so it is possible that he saw the Shroud." (Piana, 2007, pp.9-11).

"Sharing out the Eastern Empire According to agreements existing before the siege new fiefs gained should be distributed among twenty-four dignitaries, twelve representing Venice and twelve the army. Fiefs should have a `free and absolute status', should belong completely to new owners, apart from the right and the service due to the Emperor and Empire, they should be inherited directly by sons and daughters of new owners. Moreover there was a clause according to which nobody should leave until March 1205, that is they should stay for one year. After the splitting up of the Byzantine empire came the birth of the Eastern Latin Empire, in which they would have Baldwin of Fiandra as new emperor, Boniface of Monferrato as King of Thessalonika ... and Otho de La Roche, baron of Ray-sur-Saône as Lord of Athens. ... Among the Burgundy knights taking part in the siege of Constantinople was Otho de la Roche, counsellor for Marquis Boniface of Monferrato, knight commander of the Fourth Crusade. ... After the election of the new Emperor, on May 9th 1204, Otho was with .. an army, riding southward, toward the lands promised them as fiefs. .... Considering the route and the battles faced, we hypothesise that they arrived in Attica, and afterwards in Athens, around the end of 1204 or the beginning of 1205. Otho, with some faithful friends, stayed there to domesticate the fief .... In the same period the presence of the Shroud is mentioned in Athens. Otho's lands were growing; his sovereignty was absolute in Attica, the region including Athens after the siege of Constantinople." (Piana, 2007, pp.11-14).

"Ray-sur-Saône castle Ray-sur-Saône castle is today in a small village of around two hundred people. Family documents mention Guy de Ray as the first owner, a valiant knight who was alive in 1080. It was only in 1170 that his nephew of the same name first obtained the title of Baron of Ray. During this period the lands still belonged to the monks of Saint-Vincent in Chalon-sur-Saône, to which was paid out an annual rent of a gold coin. In fact during the medieval period the Counts of Burgundy donated some fiefs to religious orders to defend their lands. Only in 1230 did Otho buy it from Etienne of Oiselay, son of Count Etienne of Burgundy. 28 In the castle, restructured in 18th century, lives Countess Diane-Régina de Salverte, direct descendent of Otho de la Roche. In the ancient tower of the castle are preserved numerous family treasures. Among these they have objects from the Fourth Crusade, taken there directly by Otho de la Roche. ... Behind these objects there is a wooden coffer with a label, on which there is written: `13th century coffer in which was preserved in Ray Castle the Shroud of Christ brought by Otho de Ray from Constantinople. 1206.' The front side of the coffer is simply chiselled, while in the middle of the sides there are inlaid shields. It is parallelepiped, 45 centimetres long, 25 wide 30 deep. .... According to family tradition it could state that the Shroud, after disappearing from Constantinople, was kept in Ray-sur-Saône castle." (Piana, 2007, pp.15-16).

"How, when and why the Shroud arrived in Ray-sur-Saône We have to answer three questions. First of all how the Shroud came to Otho's hands and was then transferred to France; then when did it arrive in France and finally if the folded Shroud could be kept in the coffer just described. .... We have seen that Otho followed the Commander in Chief of the Crusade, Boniface of Monferrato. During the siege, the Marquis of Monferrato came to the Bucoleon and found his treasure. We have seen that Otho took some relics to France. However, Bucoleon was at a certain distance from the place were Robert de Clary said he had seen the Shroud during the first siege, i.e. in Saint Mary of Blachernae. Emperors in Constantinople lived in the Bucoleon until the end of the 12th century, then they resided in Blachernae. This is the reason why the Shroud was moved from the Pharos church, near the Bucoleon where it was put in 944, to be transferred to Blachernae, near the new imperial residence. ... It is more plausible that during the sharing out of the plunder, Otho de la Roche was given the Shroud. ... Where could the Shroud have been kept during its stay in Athens? The most logical place seems to be in the fortress on the Acropolis, a well guarded place. ... When was it taken to France? ... We have seen before that, depending on the agreement established, nobody could leave new properties before March 1205. Moreover we know that, until the end of July the same year, the Shroud was still in Greece, as stated in the letter sent to Pope Innocent III, belonging to the Chartularium Culisanense, and in other witnesses. ... the latest record signalling the presence of Otho in Athens is a papal bull of Honorius III dated February 12th 1225. .... Otho returned to France with his second wife and contributed to the enrichment of Bellevaux abbey. The presence in Europe of the Shroud after 1204 was confirmed besides the la Roche familiar tradition by another significant proof. A headstone with a cross on the top outside of the local castle reminds the visitor that the first Lord of Athens died in Ray-sur-Saône in 1224. Actually a document in the archives of the diocese of Langres states that Otho died in 1234, while his second wife Elisabeth died two years later. This should prove that Otho and Elisabeth lived in France to the end of their lives." (Piana, 2007, pp.16-17).

"Now we come to the last question: could the Shroud have been kept in the coffer present in Ray-sur-Saône castle? Once opened its inner dimensions are more or less 37. 5 centimetres long, 16. 5 wide and 25 deep. The most suitable folding pattern for the coffer dimensions is in 96. This can be obtained with twelve folds in the length and eight in the width. So we obtain ninety-six rectangles, 36.33 centimetres long and 13. 75 wide. We can not exclude that the Shroud was folded in 48 rectangles, 37 centimetres long and 28 wide, and put in the coffer with a small deformation in respect to the folding obtained. We have a lot of witnesses regarding the existence of coffers in which the Shroud was preserved during its movements in different centuries. At the Shroud Museum in Turin we can see the coffer used for moving the Shroud from Chambéry to Turin in 1578. Its shape and dimensions are very similar to that of the one found in Ray-sur-Saône castle. It is likely that the two coffers could have preserved the Shroud in different historical periods." (Piana, 2007, pp.19-20).

"A copy of the Shroud in Ray castle Further proof supporting the hypothesis of a link between Lords of Ray-sur-Saône and the Shroud is the fact that in the same show cabinet where the coffer is, there is a drape 50 centimetres long and 30 wide, with floral ornaments. On the fabric is painted the frontal part of a male human being, extremely similar to the man of the Shroud .... In fact, this yellowish body is represented supine with his wrists crossed on the pubis. On his feet, on his hands and on the side the small red dots represent blood coming from wounds, caused by nails and the lance. It has a bearded face with protruding cheekbones and a crown of thorns on the forehead. This image is a lot alike, if not completely similar, to that of the Shroud. Similar details are the bruised cheekbones, the marks of the crown of thorns and the wounds on the left side. Different is the crossing of the hands, left on right, and the feet, that are separated and not overlapped. It is surprising and it seems that the painter coupled observation of the Shroud to some beliefs of the period. More significant examples are the wounds put in the palm of the hands and not in the wrists. This piece is a lot like the painting of the `Besançon Shroud'. Copies, once realised, were for important personalities of the Church or for noble friends of the family. All these elements suggest that the Shroud could have remained in the case in Ray-sur-Saône when Otho de la Roche returned to France, probably around 1226. The reasons for concealing the Shroud by Otho and his family are that the 12th Ecumenical Council, the Fourth Lateran, started on 11 November 1215,45 banned the transaction of relics, condemning it as sacrilegious. It would have been difficult to explain the presence in the family of such a treasure and so popular veneration was reserved to the copy shown in Besançon. So the Shroud present in France from 1226 would have been shown in public only one and a half centuries later, not far away from Ray-sur-Saône." (Piana, 2007, pp.20-21).

"The Shroud and the Vergy family After one hundred and fifty years the Shroud was kept in a collegiate church, built for this purpose, not far from Ray-sur-Saône castle. Geoffroi I de Charny is considered the first owner of the Shroud in Lirey in the 14th century. Different elements make us think this was not completely true. It is quite strange that de Charny family did not publicly show this precious treasure until the middle of the 14th century. It was not by chance that Geoffroi I, a well-known knight in France for his bravery, a friend of kings and popes, waited until 1343, a year after his wedding with Jeanne de Vergy, before building a chapel. We need to point out that if Otho de la Roche had descendants, one of them was Jeanne de Vergy and not Geoffroi I. Jeanne probably brought the Shroud as a dowry for the wedding. In fact Geoffroi I became Lord of Lirey and Savoy only after his marriage to Jeanne. Moreover, on the brass plaque found in the Seine in the 19th century, there are coats of arms of both families, not only de Charny. Besides, in not even one document about Geoffroi I de Charny was the Shroud mentioned. In fact, his son, Geoffroi II, did not inherit a Shroud when his father died, as in documents related to the foundation of the collegiate church a lot of relics are mentioned but not the Shroud. In the end, the chance that the Shroud was property of Jeanne de Vergy is supported by the fact that in the period between 1360 and 1389 the Shroud was preserved in Monfort-en-Auxois, a de Vergy property. It is plausible that the king's request was formulated in the period immediately after that in which Geoffroi I obtained the Shroud, that is after his wedding with Jeanne de Vergy." (Piana, 2007, pp.21-22).

"To prove the relationship between Jeanne de Vergy and Otho de la Roche we have to analyse family trees of some noble families from Franc-County and Burgundy between the 12th and 15th centuries. ... Otho de la Roche married his cousin Isabelle, latest heiress of the principal branch of the family and, in this way, he obtained the title of Baron of Ray. From their marriage three heirs were born: Guy, Bonne and Otho II .... From the marriage with Elisabeth de Chappes Guillaume was born. For our interest Otho II is important. He died in 1254 leaving two daughters, Guillermette and Isabelle (or Elisabeth), who would marry into the family of Oiselay and de Vergy respectively, and a son, Jean, who would become Baron of Ray-sur-Saône. Let see now the de Vergy family. Jeanne de Vergy was Guillaume's and Agnès de Durnayn's daughter. Her father was the son of Jean I and Marguerite de Noyers. Jean I was son of Henry I de Vergy and Isabelle de Ray, daughter of Otho II de la Roche and sister of Jean, Lord of Ray. These genealogical trees show how Jeanne de Vergy was related, in the fifth generation, to Otho de la Roche .... It was this woman, descendant of the man that brought the Shroud to France in the 13th century, who married Geoffroi I de Charny. It is through this wedding that `the most loyal and valorous of all knights' obtained the Shroud that, through different generations, arrived in the hands of the de Vergy from the de la Roche family." (Piana, 2007, pp.22-23).

"But this relationship on its own does not explain when, how or why the Shroud changed ownership from Ray-sur-Saône to de Vergy. While the de la Roche family declined (in 1386 we do not find any trace of la Roche-sur-l'Ognon in genealogies), the Lords of Ray-sur-Saône were prospering. Their apogee was in the 14th century when two barons, Gauthier (who died in 1357) and Jean II (died in 1394), became `Guardian of Burgundy County', that is they were the people in charge during the king's succession or during the king's absence. The transfer of the Shroud from the Lords of Ray could be linked to the murder of the sixth and last Duke of Athens, Gauthier V de Brienne, that took place on May 13th 1311, around lake Copais. This event ended the history of the French dukedom of Athens that the Ray family had maintained for a long time. In this period the Lord of Ray-sur-Saône was Aymé; the heiress of Ray and Henry I de Vergy were already married, so the link between the two families was already established. The fact that the Shroud arrived in the hands of the de Vergy family could be linked to the fact that in 1191 the de Vergy family became Senechal of Burgundy. The transfer could also have taken place while Jeanne was going to marry Geoffroi I de Charny, a well known man in France." (Piana, 2007, pp.23-24).

"Conclusions ... Based on elements collected up to now we can state that the Shroud was in France from the 13th century, when Otho, Lord of Athens, brought it to his fief, after having acquired it during the Fourth Crusade. After his death in France in 1234, the Shroud remained in Ray-sur-Saône family hands, preserved in a case in the family castle. I think that this rules out its public exhibition in France for many years, to avoid an excommunication coming from the fact of having stolen memorabilia from the crusade. So the Holy Shroud remained in the castle, apart from some movements following the Lords of Ray, until its handing over to the de Vergy family. Jeanne de Vergy married Geoffroi I de Charny, a valiant knight and friend of clergymen and kings, and then decided to show the Shroud and asked her husband to build a church for this purpose, a collegiate church, in Lirey. Her second wedding with a relative of the antipope Clemente VII allowed Jeanne de Vergy to eliminate doubts about the authenticity of the Shroud." (Piana, 2007, pp.24-25).

Posted: 22 March 2008. Updated: 5 August 2018.