Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Prehistory of the Shroud (3) #46: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is #46, "Prehistory of the Shroud (3)," of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!" For more information about this "overwhelming" series, see the "Main index #1" and "Other marks and images #26." For more information about this "Prehistory" series, see "Prehistory" (1).

[Main index #1] [Previous: Prehistory of the Shroud (2) #45] [Next: Prehistory of the Shroud (4) #47]

Prehistory of the Shroud (AD 30-1354).

[Above (enlarge) Gold solidus coin[GS24], minted 692-95 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian II (r. 685–695, 705-11)[WW91a, 308-309; WW98, 16; AM00, 128-129; OM10, 26]. The face of Jesus on the coin has many "Vignon markings" features found on the face of the man on Shroud, including wrinkles in the Shroud cloth, proving beyond reasonable doubt that the 7th century engraver of this coin had the Shroud before him as his model! See "692" below.]

526b Antioch was severely damaged by a major earthquake[DG63, 243; OM10, 22; AEW], followed by a fire[AEW], which together killed 250,000[DG63, 243; AEW]. Most of Antioch's buildings and walls were destroyed including the Cathedral[DG63, 244; AEW]. Emperor Justin I (r. 518-27) despatched a relief team, and engineers to clear away the rubble and begin rebuilding public faciliies[DG63, 244-45].

528 A major aftershock earthquake did further major damage to Antioch's buildings and the city walls[DG63, 245; OM10, 22; AEW]. Attorney and amateur historian, Jack Markwardt's original 1998 theory was that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was hidden in 362 within Antioch Cathedral by the Arian Treasurer Theodoretus (-362) (see "361") so well that his fellow Arians could not find it[MJ98, 304], even though the cathedral could not have been very large and the Arians could have searched every square centimetre of it multiple times in the 18 years from 362 to 380 - see 01Jan20). So when they were expelled from Antioch in 380 (see "380"), according to Markwardt's original theory, the Arians had to leave the Image of Edessa/Shroud behind[MJ98, 304]. And, ccording to Markwardt, it remained lost within Antioch cathedral for ~166 years from 362 to ~528 when, "in the process of clearing away the debris of the earthquake-ravaged cathedral, Monophysites discovered the Shroud in the place where it had been hidden in 362[MJ98, 304-305]. Markwardt does not provide any evidence for this, and in fact he abandoned his original theory and proposed a new theory in 2008, which Markwardt then abandoned and in 2014 proposed a third theory (see below). Markwardt had rightly criticised Ian Wilson's theory that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was concealed in Edessa's "city walls for almost five centuries" (see "525") and "was not grounded in history":

"In 1978, Ian Wilson ... suggested that, shortly after the Crucifixion, an otherwise-unknown disciple named Thaddeus had carried Christ's image-bearing burial shroud to Edessa where it was soon portraitized and concealed in the city walls for almost five centuries. This particular portion of the theory was not grounded in history but, instead, was based upon the so-called Abgar legend, a fourth-century Syrian tale significantly permutated by tenth-century Byzantines in order to bestow an Apostolic history upon the Mandylion cloth that had been brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944[MJ98, 296].
Here is Markwardt's 2014 theory, summarised by him in an email to me dated 22 January 2020:
"Just a quick note about your recent posting regarding the Church of Antioch and the Turin Shroud. While you have accurately recounted what I had written on that subject in 1999, I have since presented and published two papers making certain modifications to my 1999 conclusions. In 2008, I presented a paper at the Columbus Shroud Conference entitled Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret and concluded therein that, in 362, Theodoretus, an Arian presbyter, concealed the relics of Antioch, including the Shroud, in the city walls of Antioch above the city’s Gate of the Cherubim (not in the cathedral) and that this action served as the basis for the story told about Edessa in the tenth-century Byzantine Narratio de imagine Edessena. I also pointed out that, in about 538 and as the walls of Antioch were being reconstructed, a “very awesome icon bearing the likeness of our Saviour, Jesus Christ” appeared in the “Place of the Cherubim” and its ongoing presence in that area made it the most sacred part of the city. In 2008, it was still my belief that, in 540, the Shroud was taken to Edessa by Antiochenes as the Persian army attacked and ultimately destroyed the city; however, in 2010, I began to do very extensive academic research into the history of the Shroud, and in 2014, presented a paper at the St. Louis Shroud Conference entitled Modern Scholarship and the History of the Turin Shroud and concluded therein that, in 540, the Shroud was taken to Cilicia, in Anatolia (not to Edessa) by Patriarch Ephraemius and that, thirty-four years later, it was taken to Constantinople where it became known as the Image of God Incarnate, remained in the Byzantine imperial treasury for more than six centuries, and was publicly exhibited in 1203-1204. I believe that these later modifications remedied the problems which you identified in my 1999 paper" (emphasis Markwardt's)[MJ20].
See my post of 01Jan20 where I critiqued Markwardt's 2014 theory and concluded:
"But Markwardt's claim that in 362, the Arian Treasurer of the the cathedral, Theodoretus, carried the cathedral's passion relics, including the 5-7 feet (1.5-2.1 metre) long Roman lance, a large and heavy silver chalice and the Shroud, ~3 kilometres or ~2 miles across Antioch into its Jewish quarter (see map ...), and hid it [them] in the wall near the Gate of the Cherubim without being seen, where they lay undiscovered for 172 years, simply beggars belief!"
By contrast my Ravenna Theory (see 07Dec16; 08Jan19, 01Jan20 & 22Jan24) is that the Arians who controlled Antioch Cathedral from 357 (see "357"), if the Image of Edessa/Shroud was among the cathedral's relics (which Markwardt agees it was), then the Arians would have taken it with them in 380 and joined the Arian Ostrogoths who had been permitted to settle inside the Western Roman Empire from the 380s[OSW].

540a Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius (c.500–65) captured Ravenna[SRW] after a 2 year siege and took the Arian Ostrogoth king Vitiges (r. 536-40) captive to Constantinople where he died that same year[VTW]. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (r. 482–565) had in 535 commissioned Belisarius to attack the Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy[BLW], as part of Justinian's strategy to recover the territory of the Western Roman Empire that had been lost in the previous century[JNW]. It is my Ravenna Theory (see above) that before the 540 Byzantine capture of Ravenna, the Image of Edessa/Shroud was taken by Ravenna's Arians to Arian-friendly Edessa[ETW].

540b Persian king Khosrow I (r. 531–79) in June 540 sacked and burned Antioch[DG63, 247; OM10, 22; KNW].

544 In March Khosrow I besieged Edessa[SEW] but the city resisted the siege and the Persians were "forced to retreat from Edessa":

"Khosrow turned south towards Edessa and besieged the city. Edessa was now a much more important city than Antioch was, but the garrison which occupied the city was able to resist the siege. The Persians were forced to retreat from Edessa ..."[KNW]
Historian Evagrius Scholasticus (c.536-94), recorded in his Ecclesiastical History that the Persians built a huge mound of timber higher than Edessa's wall, that was to be moved next to the wall from which his army could attack the city[AM00, 137]. The Edessans countered by tunneling under the wall with the aim of setting the mound on fire from below before it could be moved forward to the wall[AM00, 137]. Evagrius described the crucial role of "the divinely made image not made by the hands of man" (the Image of Edessa/Shroud) in the defense of the city:
"The mine was completed; but they [the Edessans] failed in attempting to fire the wood, because the fire, having no exit whence it could obtain a supply of air, was unable to take hold of it. In this state of utter perplexity they brought out the divinely made image not made by the hands of man [Gk acheiropoietos], which Christ our God sent to King Abgar when he desired to see him. Accordingly, having introduced this sacred likeness into the mine and washed it over with water, they sprinkled some upon the timber ... the timber immediately caught the flame, and being in an instant reduced to cinders, communicated with that above, and the fire spread in all directions"[WI79, 137; AM00, 137].
Evagrius was only ~8 years old when this occurred[WI10, 128] , so his "which Christ our God sent to King Abgar when he desired to see him" was what he had been told. But the original Abgar V story said nothing about an image of Jesus on a cloth[see "50"]. Evagrius' account is the first mention of the Image of Edessa/Shroud in Edessa[CD86, 37]. Wilson, who believes that the Shroud was discovered in Edessa's wall in 525 (see "525"), nevertheless pointed out that, 'This account [of Evagrius] ... could be regarded as the entry of the Mandylion [Shroud] into history, the first description from which one can be sure that the cloth ... was ... a real historical object"[WI79, 137]! Secular historian Procopius of Caesarea (c.500–c.554) also wrote about Edessa's repulse of the 544 Persian siege, by digging a tunnel underneath the Persian siege tower, filling the tunnel with inflammable material and setting fire to it, which in turn consumed the tower[GM09, 170]. But Procopius did not mention an image[SD89a, 81; SD91, 184; WI98, 161]. However, Procopius was writing a secular history[WI98, 161], and was a skeptic who was not interested in recording such things[DR84, 60].

Evagrius' "not made by the hands of man" is the Greek word acheiropoietos, lit. a = "not" + cheiro = "hands" + poietos = "made," which occurs 4 times in the New Testament for things that are God-made, not man-made (Mk 14:58; 2Cor 5:1; Col 2:11). Evagrius' is the first known application of acheiropoietos to the Image of Edessa/Shroud[GV01, 4; WI91, 134; WI10, 129] and is the first known item of historical evidence that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was in Edessa[GV01].

According to the 945 `Official History' [see "945c"] it was during the Persian siege of 544 that Edessa's bishop Eulalius was led in a vision to find where "the divinely created image of Christ ... lay hidden in the place above the city gates"[WI79, 282; DR84, 57-58]. But apart from this being self-evidently highly implausible, there is no bishop Eulalius in the history of Edessa[GM09, 77; WI10, 130]. And if a bishop of Edessa had discovered "the divinely made image not made by the hands of man" hidden above Edessa's gate during the Persian siege of 544, he would be well-known and Evagrius would surely have mentioned it. So since Evagrius was the first to mention the Image of Edessa/Shroud already in Edessa 544, but with no viable explanation how it came to be there, the most likely (if not the only) explanation is that it had arrived in Edessa from elsewhere, shortly before 544, as my Ravenna Theory proposes.

549 Completion of the mosaic in the apse of the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, featuring a huge jeweled cross, at the centre of which is the Shroud-like head of Christ within a circle (below)[WI79, 141-142]. The head of Jesus within a circle conforms to the way

[Above (enlarge)[HA17]: Extract of the head of Christ at the centre of the large jeweled cross in the apse of the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. By my count this mosaic has the following 11 of the 15 Vignon Markings">Vignon Markings: "(1) Transverse streak across forehead, (2) three-sided "square" between brows, ... (4) second V within marking 2, ... (6) accentuated left cheek, ...(8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, ... (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair"[WI78, 82e]. The "two strands of hair (15)," in particular, are a common Byzantine way of representing the bloodstains on the man's forehead[SD91, 185; PM96, 193; WS00, 110-111].].

his head appeared within the nimbus of the Image of Edessa[WI79, 141-142]. Classe was Ravenna's port[CRW]. As with the Christ Enthroned" mosaic in the Sant'Apollinare Nuovo church, Ravenna (see "526a"), since this is a mosaic, created in situ with thousands of tiles, not a portable painting, it is further proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was in Ravenna in the early sixth century! Although my Ravenna Theory is that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was taken by the Arians to Edessa in, or before, 540 (see 07Dec16), work on Sant'Apollinare in Classe started at the beginning of the 6th century by order of Bishop Ursicinus (r. 533-36)[BSW].

c. 550 Christ Pantocrator, St Catherine's monastery, Sinai[CPW]. This encaustic (hot coloured wax) on wood[SD91, 186-187] (a technique which died out in the eight century[WI10, 135]), icon of Christ

[Above (enlarge): The Vignon Markings on the face of the Shroud of Turin[WI78, 82e] (left) compared with that of the icon of Christ Pantocrator at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai[FSW (right). By my count there are at least eleven of the fifteen Vignon markings on this mid-sixth century icon which are also on the face of the Shroud[16Feb12]. This is further proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud existed in c. 550, that is more than seven centuries before its earliest 1260 radiocarbon date and more than eight centuries before it first appeared in undisputed history in c. 1355 at Lirey, France!]

Pantocrator ("ruler of all")[WI98, 158, at the isolated Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, which escaped the iconoclasm[SD91, 186] of the eighth through ninth centuries [see "723" and "842"]. Dated mid-sixth century[CPW], this icon was a gift from the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (c.482–565), who had the monastery built between 548 and 565[CPW]. This is the earliest surviving painted icon of Christ[SD91, 186]. Historian Dan Scavone (1934-) wrote of it:

"A comparison of this icon with the face on the Shroud of Turin will, for many, put an end to their doubts about the Shroud. The icon is nearly perfectly congruent to the Shroud-face. Notice especially the high right eyebrow, the very hollow right cheek, and the garment neckline. The artist seems even to have rendered even the creases and wrinkles still seen on the Shroud, meaning that it must have been inspired by, i.e., copied from, the Shroud (my emphasis)[SD91, 186].
So marked are these oddities, that Princeton University art historian, Professor Kurt Weitzmann (1904-93), while making no connection with the Shroud, remarked of this icon that:
"... the pupils of the eyes are not at the same level; the eyebrow over Christ's left eye is arched higher than over his right ... one side of the mustache droops at a slightly different angle from the other, while the beard is combed in the opposite direction ... Many of these subtleties remain attached to this particular type of Christ image and can be seen in later copies ..." (my emphasis)[WK76, 15]
Flower images in the halo around the head (nimbus) of this icon are

[Above (enlarge): Flower image on the Shroud (right - red circle) is depicted in the nimbus (halo) (left - blue circle), at the same location on St. Catherine's Sinai icon!]

found at the same locations on the Shroud[WW98, 81; GV01, 150; OM10, 259]. The artist has even rendered the xray images of the Shroud man's teeth [see 10Dec15 and "X-rays #22"] as chapped

[Above (enlarge): Upper: Teeth visible under the Shroudman's lips[LM10a]; and Lower: the sixth century St Catherine's Pantocrator artist's interpretation[FSW] of them that Jesus had chapped (cracked) lips!]

(cracked) lips![WW98, 117; WW99, 71] . This means that this icon must have been copied directly, or indirectly, from the Image of Edessa/Shroud[SD89b, 311] in the mid-sixth century. At this time, the Image of Edessa/Shroud was in Edessa (see "544) and would be there until 944 (see 944a"). But as Scavone pointed out:

"It would not be necessary to place the Shroud in Constantinople for the engravers to see, as it was not necessary to place it in Sinai for the painter of the 6th c. icon to have used. They may have worked from sketches made during visits to Edessa or from no-longer-extant copies of the Edessa icon"[SD91, 188]
Directly or indirectly, this icon alone (and it is not alone - see next and previous) proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud existed in the mid-sixth century and so, yet again, refutes the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of Shroud[SD89b, 311]!

c.560 Codex Purpureus Rossanensis. "The Rossano Gospels ... at the cathedral of Rossano in Italy, is a 6th-century illuminated manuscript

[Above (enlarge): Extract from "Miniature of the Last Supper from the Rossano Gospels"[RGW]. Jesus is Shroud-like with Jewish shoulder length hair and full beard, by contrast to the apostles who look like Greeks. This is evidence that this c. 560 image of Jesus was copied, directly or indirectly from the Image of Edessa/Shroud!]

Gospel Book written following the reconquest of the Italian peninsula by the Byzantine Empire [in 540 - See "540a" above]. Also known as Codex purpureus Rossanensis due to the reddish (purpureus in Latin) appearance of its pages, the codex is one of the oldest surviving illuminated manuscripts of the New Testament"[RGW]. CIELT's (Centre International d'Études sur le Linceul de Turin) Andre Van Cauwenberghe (1911-2008) pointed out of this sixth century manuscript that "Christ represented possesses all the noted [Vignon Markings">Vignon markings] features":

"The ... artists, apparently had a model ... showing the characteristics which we notice so positively on observing the Face of Christ on the Shroud: - A mass of hair surrounding the face - A nose, long and thin, which the artists of the era, on seeing it in dark shades, have translated naturally to white - A thin mouth surmounted by something they judged to be a moustache - A forked beard - A lock of hair. It is important to note that only Christ is portrayed in this manner. The oldest representation and the most striking, because of the quite particular character of the portrait of Christ, very similar to the Shroud, is the `Apostelcommunion', the `Communion of the Apostles' of the 6th century, originating in Constantinople (Codex Rossanensis). The twelve apostles are completely different to Christ. But the Christ represented possesses all the noted [Vignon markings] features"[VC90].
c. 570 First mention of the continued existence of "the face cloth [soudarion] that had been on Jesus' head" (Jn 20:7), i.e. the Sudarium of Oviedo, by the chronicler of the pilgrimage of the anonymous pilgrim of Piacenza (wrongly called St Antoninus Martyr who died in 303), in a cave convent on the banks of the Jordan, in which was: "the sudarium that was on the face (or forehead) of the Lord)"[SD89a, 76; GM98, 12; GM99, 129; BJ01, 22-23; OM10, 185].

c. 575 Emesa vase. This sixth century Byzantine style[WI79, 102; WI98, 141] silver vase from Homs (ancient Emesa), Syria[IJ98, 153; WI98, 141], which is in the Louvre, Paris[VR87, 13; WI10, 135]. It has a medallion face of Jesus[WI79, 102; MR86, 77; WI98, 141] which bears a strong resemblance to the face on the Shroud[WM86, 105; SD91, 184;

[Left (enlarge): Face of Shroud-like Jesus on the sixth century Homs vase[VE24]

IJ98, 153]. It has many of the Vignon markings[MR86, 77; SD91, 189]. These similarities include, the narrowness of the face; the distortions carved into the right side of the face, where the Shroud face has two sizable bruises, the swollen cheek and the half-moon bruise below; and the shape of the head[SD91, 189-190].

c. 650 Mosaic depiction of the Image of Edessa[WI10, 1-2] (below),

[Above (enlarge[WI10, plate 19a]): Shroud-like mosaic depiction of the Image of Edessa, dated sixth-seventh century, from a house near Sanliurfa (ancient Edessa). See 13Mar16 that this 6th-7th century Image of Edessa mosaic has at least 9 Vignon markings, and 1 non-Vignon marking, found on the Shroud face!]

i.e. the Shroud "four-doubled' (tetradiplon)[15Sep12], hacked out of a wall of a house in Bireçik, a town on the banks of the Euphrates River about 73 km (45 miles) west of Sanliurfa (ancient Edessa)[WI10, 1-2; DP16, 140]. Shroud scholars Ian Wilson and Mark Guscin were in Sanliurfa museum in 2008 when they were shown by the museum's Muslim Director, archaeologist Prof. Mehmet Onal, the above 6 by 8 inch (~15 x ~20 cms) mosaic depiction of the Image of Edessa[WI10, 2]. Prof. Onal identified the mosaic both as the "Image of Edesessa" and "Jesus"[WI10, 1-2]! Guscin and Wilson dated the mosaic between the sixth and seventh centuries[WI10, 2, 138], which meant it was not only the earliest-known depiction of the Image of Edessa, it came from near the ancient city after which the Image of Edessa was named[WI10, 2]!

614 The Sudarium of Oviedo, the "face cloth" in Jn 20:7[GM98, 9;

[Above (enlarge): "Comparison of the Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin"[BJ01, 122]. "The most striking thing about all the stains [on the Sudarium of Oviedo] is that they coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud."[GM98, 27] (my emphasis).]

BJ01, 146-147; GV01, 114-6; OM10, 182, 312 n. 1] [see "30"], leaves Jerusalem in its chest (the Arca Santa) ahead of an impending invasion by the Persian king Khosrow II (r. 590-628)[GM98, 14; BJ01, 28-29; OM10, 182]. In 616 the Sudarium enters Spain from Jerusalem via Alexandria at Cartagena and is taken to Seville and placed in the custody of St. Isidore (c.560–636), Archbishop of Seville.[GM98, 14-15; BJ01, 28-31; GV01, 42]. Bloodstains, particularly those on the back of the head of the Sudarium of Oviedo are so similar in appearance to those on the corresponding part of the Shroud, that it is evident that the two cloths were in contact with the same wounded body within the same short time period[AA96, 83]. Since the Sudarium has been in Spain since the seventh century, this is further evidence that the "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud[DP89, 611] is wrong[AA00, 124]!

c.640 The Acts of Thaddaeus, a 7th century ("... between A.D. 609 and 72.")[GM09, 145] Greek update of the Abgar V legend [see "50"], described Jesus' image as having been imprinted on a tetradiplon ("four-doubled") sindon ("linen sheet"):

"And Ananias [Abgar V's courier], having gone and given the letter, was carefully looking at Christ, but was unable to fix Him in his mind. And He knew as knowing the heart, and asked to wash Himself; and a towel [tetradiplon] was given Him; and when He had washed Himself, He wiped His face with it. And His image having been imprinted upon the linen [sindon]"[RD51, 558]
Classics professor Robert Drews (1926-) explained how the Edessan clergy could know from its side that behind the face-only Image of Edessa was a four-doubled sheet.

"What exactly the authors meant by a cloth `folded four times' may be debated, but a reasonable guess is that in a slightly expanded form the cloth was arranged something like this:"[DR84, 41]. [Right (enlarge)]

Except that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was not "folded four times" but doubled four times, as Prof. Drews' own illustration shows.

In the Greek, "towel" is tetradiplon, i.e. tetra "four" + diplon "doubled," and "linen" is sindon, a large linen sheet[BW57; BJ01, 146-147; WI10, 50]. See my 2012, "Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin" for how doubling the Shroud four times, with the face always uppermost, results in the face centred in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in copies of the Image of Edessa! Again, this is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud was already in existence as the Image of Edessa `four-doubled' in the 7th century, at least six centuries before its earliest 13th century radiocarbon date!

633 The Mozarabic Rite of Roman Catholics living under Muslim rule in Iberian Spain (711–32)[MRW], was given its final form in 633 at the Fourth Council of Toledo, Spain[MRW], by Saint Leandro (c. 534-600) the Bishop of Seville (r. 579-600)[GM98, 17; GV01, 42]. Leandro had lived in Constantinople from 579 to 582[GM98, 17; GV01, 42]. The rite originated when Spain was under Arian Visigoth rule in the sixth century[MRW]. The Illatio or preface to the rite for Easter Saturday[WI79, 93; GM98, 17] states:

"Peter ran to the tomb with John and saw the recent imprints of the dead and risen one on the cloths" (my emphasis)[RC99, 55-56; GV01, 42].
While this didn't happen, as the sindon was not in the empty tomb when Peter and John entered it[Jn 20:6-7; BP28, 16; BW57, 83-84; "Servant of the priest (1)"], it is the earliest mention of Jesus' image being on his Shroud[SD89a, 76]! And when the the Image of Edessa/Shroud was in Edessa (see 544 and 944a)!

639 Edessa was conquered by Muslim forces[WI79, 254; SJ01, 193; OM10, 26] under the Rashidun Caliphate (632–661)[EDW]. The Image of Edessa/Shroud which was in Edessa [see "544"] fell under Muslim control[CN88, 71; OM10, 26] and remained so for over 300 years until 944[WI98, 148]. [see "944a"]. The conquest was peaceable[WI98, 267] and indeed Edessa's Syriac-speaking population were happy to be liberated from their Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire rulers in distant Constantinople[WI10, 299]. In return, Edessan Christians were allowed by their Muslim overlords to continue their religious observances, including veneration of the Image of Edessa/Shroud[OM10, 26], and Edessa's Hagia Sophia cathedral was preserved[WI79, 254].

680 A Bishop Arculf (fl. 7th century) of Perigueux, France[GM69; WI79, 94; WI10, 109] (however Arculf is not listed as one of that diocese's bishops), returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in about 680[SD89a, 76; WI10, 109; ARW], was shipwrecked on the island of Iona in the Scottish Hebrides[WI79, 94; WI10, 108]. Arculf recounted his pilgrimage to the Abbot of Iona Abbey, Irish scholar and saint Adamnan (c. 624–704)[GM69; WI79, 94; ADW], who recorded it in his De Locis Sanctis ("On Holy Places"), completed in 698[DLW]. In particular, Adamnan recorded in Latin that in Jerusalem Arculf had seen, "the sudarium of our Lord which was placed over his head in the tomb"[BA34, 50; WI10, 108-109]. However, Arculf described this cloth as "eight foot long"[WM86, 103; SD89a, 76], which is much shorter than the Shroud's 14 feet[BP28, 144; WI79, 94; SD89a, 77; WI10, 109]. It cannot have been the Shroud folded in two[SD89a, 77] because Arculf stated that "it began to fly on high, like a bird with out-spread wings"[MJ95] and the Shroud would have unfolded revealing its full length. Also Arculf claimed that he had kissed this "sudarium"[SD89a, 77] and that close up Arculf would have realised that the cloth was folded. Finally, Arculf did not mention that this "sudarium" had an image of Jesus imprinted on it, which he surely would have, had there been one[WI79, 94; SD89a, 77; WI10, 109]. It also cannot have been the "face cloth" [Greek soudarion] of John 20:7 (see the Sudarium of Oviedo above), because at ~84 x ~53 cm (= ~33 x ~21 in. = ~2.8 ft x 1.7 ft), that is a much smaller cloth[BP28, 144; WI10, 109]. Since Latin had no word of its own for the Greek sindon used of the Shroud in the gospels (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53), it was a common confusion in Latin writers that the word "sudarium" was used to mean the much larger Shroud[GM98, 11]. Some have speculated that what Arculf saw was a single sided copy of the Shroud, such as the Besançon[CN88, 62; IJ98, 210; OM10, 113] or the Compiegne[WI79, 94; WM86, 103] shroud, but they both had images. but since it would have been an amazing coincidence if Arculf just happened to be in Jerusalem when this once-only `trial by fire' occurred, and being French he would not understand the Syriac language in which the event was presumably conducted, what Arculf likely saw was an embellished re-enactment of a past `trial by fire' that the Sudarium of Oviedo, which unlike the Shroud, had been in or near Jerusalem until 614 (see above), had been subjected to. The Sudarium of Oviedo has a burn hole that appears to

[Above (enlarge): Major stains on the reverse side of the Sudarium of Oviedo[BJ01, 120]. The burn hole can be clearly seen below the word "PRINCIPLE" (sic) and to the right of the word "WOUNDS". When enlarged the dark burn marks around it can be seen.]

have been caused by a lighted wax candle[GM98, 32], so that could have been the result of a `trial by fire' that the Sudarium had been subjected to and survived. But even if he misunderstood what he saw, Arculf's testimony shows it was common knowledge among 7th century Christians that Jesus' burial cloths had been recovered from His tomb and existed in their day!

692 Between 692 and 695 Byzantine Emperor Justinian II ((r. 685–695, 705-11) minted tremissis and solidus[WW91a, 308; WW91b, 16; AM00, 128] coins bearing an image of Jesus' face[WW91a, 308; WI92, 2-3; GV01, 101]. The coins are inscribed "Jesu Christu, Rex Regnantium" ("Jesus Christ, King of Kings")[WW98, 16; WI10, 155,168]. They are therefore in the category of Christ Pantocrator [Greek pas "all" and kratos "rule"[ZS92, 1093-1094]. Hence "literally ruler of all, but usually translated as `Almighty'"[CPW] (2Cor 6:18; Rev 1:8; 4:8;11:17; 15:3; 16:7,14; 19:6,15; 21:22)] icons[WI91, 161; PM96, 195; OM10, 26]. These were the first coins to bear Jesus' image[SD91, 187; WW91a, 308; WI91, 166; PM96, 194; WW98, 158; GV01, 101; OM10, 26].

As can be seen below, Jesus' face on the Justinian II c. 692 gold solidus

[Above (enlarge): Comparison of positive (left) of the Shroud face (enhanced)[LM10b] and a Justinian II 692 gold solidus coin (right). It is obvious that the engraver of this late 7th century coin based his design on the face of the man on the Shroud: ~568 years before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud! And ~663 years before the Shroud first appeared in 1355, in undisputed history, at Lirey, France!]

coin, which was evidently based on the Image of Edessa[WA83, 303; WI91, 166; WW98, 267; OM10, 26], bears a striking resemblance to the face of the man on the Shroud[SD91, 188; PM96, 194; WI98, 158, 267; OM10, 26], proving that they are one and the same[WI82, 4; WI98, 158]. Note that the c.692 solidus coin above depicts three protuberances which are also on the Shroud. See my post of 27May23 where I proposed that the three Hebrew/Aramaic letters evident in a hologram, which these protuberances evidently are, is a Roman criminal and/or execution number! These resemblances include long hair that falls behind the shoulders, a long forked beard, a moustache, and a small tuft on the forehead where there is a `reversed 3' bloodstain on the ShroudPM96, 195] Even wrinkles in the Shroud fabric were reproduced on the coin[WW91a, 308]!

By my count [see 23Feb12] there are at least twelve out of the fifteen "Vignon markings" on the Shroud face that are on Jesus' face on this coin (see above): "... (2) three-sided `square' between brows, (3) V shape at bridge of nose, ... (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, (12) forked beard, (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair." So this 692-695 Justinian II solidus coin is further proof beyond reasonable doubts that the Image of Edessa/Shroud existed more five centuries before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date (1260 - 695 = 565)! And more six centuries before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in c. 1355 at Lirey, France (1355 - 695 = 660)!

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]

AA96. Adler, A.D., 1996, "Updating Recent Studies on the Shroud of Turin," in AC02, 81-86.
AA00. Adler, A.D., 2000, "The Shroud Fabric and the Body Image: Chemical and Physical Characteristics," in AC02, 113-127.
AEW. "526 Antioch earthquake," Wikipedia, 7 January 2024.
AC02. Adler, A.D. & Crispino, D., ed., 2002, "The Orphaned Manuscript: A Gathering of Publications on the Shroud of Turin," Effatà Editrice: Cantalupa, Italy.
ADW. "Adomnán," Wikipedia, 5 March 2024.
AM00. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY.
BA91. Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, 1991.
ARW. "Arculf," Wikipedia, 5 October 2023.
BA34, 50. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London.
BJ01. Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA.
BLW. "Belisarius," Wikipedia, 18 February 2024.
BSW. "Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe," Wikipedia, 11 December 2023.
BP28. Beecher, P.A., 1928, "The Holy Shroud: Reply to the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.," M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin.
BW57. Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI.
CN88. Currer-Briggs, N., 1988, "The Shroud and the Grail: A Modern Quest for the True Grail," St. Martin's Press: New York NY.
CD86. Crispino, D.C., 1986, "Recently Published," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 19, June, 32-43.
CPW. "Christ Pantocrator (Sinai)," Wikipedia, 16 February 2024.
CRW. "Classe, ancient port of Ravenna," Wikipedia, 9 November 2023.
DG63. Downey, G., 1963, "Ancient Antioch," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ.
DLW. Adamnan, "De Locis Sanctis," Wikipedia, 10 October 2023.
DP16. Dayvault, P.E., 2016, "The Keramion Lost and Found: A Journey to the Face of God," Morgan James Publishing: New York NY.
DP89. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, 611-615.
DR84. Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD.
EDW. "Edessa," Wikipedia, 23 February 2024.
EPW. "Encaustic painting," Wikipedia, 13 January 2024.
ETW. "Ephrem the Syrian," Wikipedia, 13 January 2024.
FSW. "File:Spas vsederzhitel sinay.jpg," Wikimedia Commons, 4 February 2024.
GM69. Green, M., 1969, "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, No. 3, Autumn, 319-345.
GM98. Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK.
GM09. Guscin, M., 2009, "The Image of Edessa," Brill: Leiden, Netherlands & Boston MA.
GM99. Guscin, M., 1999, "Recent Historical Investigations on the Sudarium of Oviedo," in WB00, 122-141.
GS24. "Gold Solidus of Justinian II, Constantinople, 692 - 695. 1944.100.14572," American Numismatic Societ, 2024.
GV01. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL.
HA17. Hart, A., 2017, "The Mosaic Apse of Sant’Apollinaire in Classe, Ravenna: A miracle of design," Orthodox Arts Journal.
IJ98. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY.; Wilson, 1998, 141.
JNW. "Justinian I," Wikipedia, 18 February 2024.
KNW. "Khosrow I," Wikipedia, 20 February 2024.
LM10a. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Face Only Vertical," Sindonology.org.
LM10b. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Face Only Vertical," Sindonology.org.
MJ20. Markwardt, J.J., "The Shroud in Antioch," Email 22/01/2020, 12:43 pm to S.E. Jones.
MJ95. Macpherson, J.R., 1895, "Pilgrimage of Arculfus in the Holy Land About the Year A.D. 670," London. No longer online.
MJ98. Markwardt, J.J., 1998, "Antioch and the Shroud," in MM02, 296-319
MM02. Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC.
MR86. Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY.
MRW. "Mozarabic Rite," Wikipedia, 4 December 2023,.
OM10. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK.
OSW. "Ostrogoths," Wikipedia, 24 November 2023.
PM96. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta.
RD51. Roberts, A. & Donaldson, J., eds, 1951, "The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325," Vol. VIII: The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, Reprinted 1974.
RC99, 56. Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN.
RGW. "Rossano Gospels," Wikipedia, 24 November 2020.
SD89a. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA.
SD89b. Scavone, D., "The Shroud of Turin in Constantinople: The Documentary Evidence," in Sutton, R.F., Jr., 1989, "Daidalikon: Studies in Memory of Raymond V Schoder," Bolchazy Carducci Publishers: Wauconda IL, 311-329.
SD91. Scavone, D.C., 1991, "The History of the Turin Shroud to the 14th C.," in BA91, 171-204.
SEW. "Siege of Edessa (544)," Wikipedia, 7 July 2023.
SJ01. Segal, J.B., 2001, "Edessa: The Blessed City," [1970], Gorgias Press: Piscataway NJ, Second edition, Reprinted, 2005.
SRW. "Siege of Ravenna (539–540)," Wikipedia, 24 August 2023.
VTW. "Vitiges," Wikipedia, 31 October 2023.
VC90. Van Cauwenberghe, A., 1990, "A Tentative Account of Comparative Iconography," translated by Victoria Harper, First published in La Lettre Mensuelle du CIELT, Paris, October 1990. In Shroud News, No 63, February 1991, 12-15, 12-13.
VE24. "Vase from Emesa," Louvre Museum, Paris, 12 February 2024 .
VKW. "Visigothic Kingdom," Wikipedia, 26 February 2024.
VR87. Van Haelst, R., 1987, "Did I see the Lord?," Shroud News, No. 44, December, 11-15.
WA83. Whanger, A., "Comment" in Meacham, W., 1983, "The Authentication of the Turin Shroud: An Issue in Archaeological Epistemology," Current Anthropology, Vol. 24, No. 3, June, 283-311.WB00. Walsh, B., ed., 2000, "Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Research Conference, Richmond, Virginia," Magisterium Press: Glen Allen VA, 69-77.
WI78. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
WI82. Wilson, I., 1982, "News - New Artistic Claims From Duke University," BSTS Newsletter, No. 1, June.
WI91. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London.
WI98. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY.
WI10. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London.
WI92. Wilson, I., 1992, "The Shroud Face on a Coin Precisely Datable to 692-5 AD," BSTS Newsletter, No. 30, December/January, 2-4.
WK76. Weitzmann, K., 1976, "The Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai: The Icons," Princeton University Press; in WM86, 107.
WM86, Wilson, I. & Miller, V., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London.
WS00. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London.
WW91a. Whanger, A. & Whanger, M., 1991a, "A Quantitative Optical Technique for Analyzing and Authenticating the Images on the Shroud of Turin," in BA91, 303-324.
WW91b, Whanger, A.D. & Whanger, M., 1991b, "Evidence of Early Origin and Nature of the Shroud of Turin by Image Analysis and Optical Comparison," Shroud News. No. 65, June 1991, 8-18.
WW98. Whanger, M. & Whanger, A.D., 1998, "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House Publishers: Franklin TN.
WW99. Whanger, A. & Whanger, M., 1999, "The Real Date of the Shroud: The Visual Evidence," in WB00, 69-77.
ZS92. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994.

Posted 20 February 2024. Updated 25 July 2024.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Report of the 1969 Turin Commission on the Shroud: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is "Report of the 1969 Turin Commission on the Shroud," part #26 of my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia, which will help me write Chapter 14, "Science and the Shroud" of my book in progress, "Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus!" See 06Jul17, 03Jun18, 04Apr22, 13Jul22 & 8 Nov 22. My thanks to Joe Marino who scanned the report into PDFs and emailed them to me. The report is one 1976 document, which includes also the 1973 Turin Commission on the Shroud. I will treat the 1969 and 1973 Commissions separately.

[Index #1] [Previous: Objections answered (1) #25] [Next: Report of the 1973 Commission (1) #27]

On 25th March 1969, by letter and subsequent interviews, Cardinal Michele Pellegrino (r. 1965-77), Archbishop of Turin, with the approval of Pope Paul VI (r. 1963-78) and ex-King Umberto II (r. 1946), established a special

[Right: Cover of the report PDF.]

commission to verify the state of preservation of the Shroud and provisions for its future preservation; and to study the possibility of further examinations and research on the Cloth[JM76, 3, 6; WI79, 64-65; TF06, 1].

Commission members were: Mons. Pietro Caramella - Chairman; Mons.Jose Cottino – Vice-Chairman; Mons. Sergio Baldi - Secretary; and Professors: Silvio Curto, Enzo Delorenzi, Giorgio Frache, Noemi Gabrielli, Giovanni Judica Cordiglia, Camillo Lenti and Enrico Medi – experts; as well as Prof. Luigi Gedda - King Umberto II's personal representative[JM76, 3; WR77, 37; WI79, 65; GV01, 55].

Pietro Caramello (1908 -97) was an Italian priest and Professor of Philosophy[PCW], and the Shroud's actual custodian below the Cardinal[WI79, 65]. Jose Cottino (1913-83) was actually an American, from New Bedford, Massachusetts[AF82, 92; CD84, 37]. Silvio Curto (1919-2015) was Curator of the Egyptian Museum of Turin[GV01, 55; SCW]. Enzo Delorenzi was Head of Radiology at the Mauriziano Hospital in Turin[WI79, 65; GV01, 55]. Giorgio Frache was Director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the University of Modena[GV01, 55]. Noemi Gabrielli (1901-79) was the former Director of the Piedmontese art galleries[BR78, 77; RC99, 74; GV01, 55]. Dr Giovanni Judica Cordiglia (-1980) was a lecturer in Forensic Medicine at the University of Milan[WR77, 37; GV01, 55]. Camillo Lenti was a biochemistry professor. Enrico Medi (1911-74) was a physicist at the University of Rome[WR77, 37]. Luigi Gedda (1902-2000) was an anthropologist[WR77, 37].

The existence and membership of the commission was not officially made public for three years[WI79, 66; BR78, 49], hence it is known as the "Secret Commission"[GV01, 55; TF06, 1]. However leaks to the press had by 1973 revealed the commission's existence and membership[WR77, 37; WI79, 66; SH90, 61; GV01, 55].

On 16 June, Cardinal Pellegrino celebrated the Mass of the Holy Shroud on the altar of the Royal Chapel, facing towards the Royal Palace[JM76, 3; WI79, 64]. Immediately afterwards , in the presence of the members of the to-be-appointed commission, and other dignitaries, the grille of the safe on the altar was opened, with the three keys, one of which was presented by the Archbishop and two by the Palatine Clergy[JM76, 3; JM76, 3; WI79, 64]. The silver casket containing the Shroud was brought down and transported to the adjoining Royal Chapel, which had been equipped for the examination [JM76, 3-4; WI79, 64].

Here the Cardinal Archbishop, having verified the identity of the seals, had the casket opened and the Shroud removed. The Shroud was then placed on the table provided , for the purpose, which was covered with a white cloth. The Palatine Chaplains took turns at watching over the Shroud day and night during the period of the investigation[JM76, 4].

During the examination of the Shroud it was placed on a vertical frame, suitably placed for photography which was to be undertaken by the expert photographer Giovanni Battista Judica Cordiglia (1939-2018), son of Dr Giovanni Judica Cordiglia[WI79, 65-66; CD83, 61; CD85, 31], assisted by Carlo Andrea Filipello[JM76, 4].

The experts then made examinations with the naked eye and with a microscope, by normal light, by Wood's light (ultraviolet) and by infrared light[JM76, 4]. They had lengthy discussions on the data obtained, finally drawing conclusions which, compiled in a separate report, shall be presented to Cardinal Pellegrino[JM76, 4].

On completion of the examinations the Shroud was replaced on the 18 June at 10 am[JM76, 4].

The relic was rolled up again and returned to its silver casket with the seals of the Archbishop and of the Royal Chapel and the casket was replaced on the altar, in the presence of Mons. Francesco Sanmartino, Aitular Archbishop of Summola, Vicar General and Auxiliary of the Archbishop, who signed this report with the witnesses Mons. Caramella and Mons. Cottino, Count Provana, Arch. Chierici and Ragonier. Toncelli[JM76, 4].


After exhaustive discussions the said commission agreed the following conclusions:

1. The shroud was observed to be in in excellent state of preservation, and it is advised that it should, for the time being, be kept in the usual condition (wound on a roll, wrapped in silk, in the established place). Later a method of preservation of the cloth between two panes of glass may be studied, which would also be suitable for future exhibition, as well as following relevant museum experience. Within the scope of such studies the advisability of keeping or substituting the present backing of white cloth will also be examined[JM76, 6].

2. With reference to the second point contained in the previously mentioned letter of the Archbishop, it is felt that research on the famous relic should be conducted along the following lines:

a) Ascertaining at least the probable dating of the cloth and patches, by means of archaeological research and eventually by physical and chemical means[JM76, 6].

b) Ascertaining the various substances present in the marks of a different colour which are to be found on the cloth[JM76, 7].

c) *Weighty [Italian unclear] and separate examinations of the Shroud (with packing cloths - without packing cloths - without the backing cloth - as far as possible, taking into account the conditions laid down by the proprietor)[JM76, 7].

d) Examination of the whole sheet by various optical methods (photography, microphotography, chromatic and spectroscopic analysis) on various bands of different wavelengths, under different angles, both of the source and of the registering apparatus, with precise references to a fixed system of coordinate axes. The construction of suitable equipment will be proposed for this[JM76, 7].

e) Examination of the material itself[JM76, 7].

f) Documentary cinema shots - recording with telecamera and videorecorder[JM76, 7].

g) Equipping a room as a laboratory in the immediate vicinity of the chapel with adequate guard, for the occasion of a new inspection which it is foreseen will take some time[JM76, 7];

3. The separate experts reserve to themselves the right, having personally investigated the problem of the Shroud, to inform the chair of eventual further observations and suggestions that after examination by all the other members of the commission may give place to other proposals[JM76, 7].

4 In conclusion the requests listed below are submitted to the royal owner and the appropriate authorities:

a) The removal of the white backing cloth, that is sewn together with the patches, leaving; the patches themselves intact[JM76, 7].

b) The removal of minimal samples (for microdetermination) for the physical, chemical and textile [Italian "merceological"] examinations etc.

5. The commission takes note of the declaration of Count Umberto di Provana di Collegno, present at the meeting, and of Prof. Luigi Gedda, according to whom His Majesty Umberto II intends that the parts of the backing cloth eventually removed be returned to him. Should the substitution of the said backing cloth be necessary His Majesty will undertake the task[JM76, 8].

6. The commission was unanimously satisfied at having had the possibility of, directly and at length and with all calm, observing the Holy Shroud over two days[JM76, 8].

This allowed and will allow concrete proposals to be made, as those described above, for the development of investigations. The chair will do its best to comply with the requests of the commissioners where they request bibliographical or photographic aid and useful informationk[JM76, 8].

Turin, 17th June 1969

Signed: Mons. Pietro Caramella
Mons. Jose Cottino
Don. Sergio Baldi
Prof. Giorgio Frache
Giovanni Judica Cordiglia
Silvio Curto
Noemi Gabrielli
Camillo Lenti *
Enrico .Medi *
Enzo Delorenzi
Luigi Gedda

* Prof. Camillo Lenti later resigned from the commission for personal reasons.
Prof. Enrico Medi, who had enthusiastically participated in the examination, formulating suggestions and proposals, was prevented from continuing his valuable collaboration by the painful illness which caused his premature death[JM76, 8].

Conclusion. I was preparing a summary of the 1969 Commission for my book, but it is taking too long. So I will make a few observations. Cardinal Pellegrino was criticised for the commission being secret[BR78, 49; WI79, 66] and for not including Shroud experts from beyond Italy[BR78, 49; WI79, 65]. But he was motivated primarily by the urgent need to check on the condition of the Shroud and its ongoing preservation in Turin's polluted industrial atmosphere[WR77, 37; SH81, 59-60]. Also, it would have been an enormous task for Turin's clergy (who had a full-time day job of running a diocese of ~2 million adherents) to organise an international Shroud commission. There were few, if any, internationally known English-speaking Shroud scholars in 1969: Shroud News' first issue was in was in 1980; Shroud Spectrum International's was in 1981 and the BSTS Newsletter's was in 1982 - more than a decade later! Some critics disparaged the number of priests on the Commission[BR78, 49; WI79, 65]. But there were only three: Chairman Caramello, Vice-Chairman Cottino and Secretary Baldi[GV01, 55). And the Chairman, Pietro Caramello (1908-97) was no ordinary priest: he was ordained a priest at age 18, by a special papal dispensation[PCW] so he evidently had a genius IQ! It may be that the "priest" Caramello, the actual Shroud custodian[WI79, 65],was the unsung driving force behind the 1969 and 1973 Commissions. Shroudies should be grateful, as I am, that Cardinal Pellegrino established the 1969 Commission, with its farsighted recommendations, which paved the way for the 1973 Commission and its testing, which started the actual scientifc examination of the Shroud itself!

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]

AF82. Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ.
BR78. Brent, P. & Rolfe, D., 1978, "The Silent Witness: The Mysteries of the Turin Shroud Revealed," Futura Publications: London.
CD83. Crispino, D.C. , 1983, "In Memoriam - Max Frei," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 6, March, 60-61.
CD84. Crispino, D.C., 1984, "In Memoriam: Mons. Jose Cottino," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 10, March, 37-38.
CD85. Crispino, D.C., 1985, "News and Activities Around the Worldi," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 16, September, 30-31.
GV01. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL.
JM76. Jepps, M., ed., 1976, "Report of Turin Commission on the Holy Shroud," Turin, Italy.
PCW. "Pietro Caramello," Wikipedia, 24 January 2020.
RC99, Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN.
SH81. Stevenson K.E. & Habermas G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI.
SH90. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN.
SCW. "Silvio Curto," Wikipedia, 12 February 2023.
TF06. Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
WR77. Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY.

Posted 13 February 2024. Updated 25 May 2024.