History of the Shroud
Much has been said about the Shroud
and its early history. Ian Wilson, a renowned Shroud historian, has
pieced together a complete history of the Shroud. He has done a wonderful job of
in the missing years before its appearance in Constantinople in 944 AD. After
Constantinople was sacked and plundered during the Fourth Crusade of 1204 AD,
the Shroud went missing. It resurfaced 149 years later (1353) in Lirey France in
the care of a French Knight Geoffroi de Charney.
Crusader Knights played a big part in the raid of
Constantinople during the
Fourth Crusade, and the Knights Templers are known to have had a great reverence for holy objects.
They of course would have known about the Shroud.
It is believed they secretly smuggled the Shroud into France, their country of
An interesting link has surfaced connecting the Knights
Templar to this event. The Knights Templar was disbanded in 1307 by
King Philip IV and Pope Clement V on trumped up charges of Heresy. Sir Knight Geoffrey de Charny
(Preceptor of Normandy for the Knights Templar) and Jacques De Molay
(Grand Master of the Knights Templar) were burned at the stake together
on charges of heresy. This event speaks to a very high ranking
Knight of the Order (Geoffrey de Charny) who was executed with the
highest ranked Knight of the Order, Grand Master Jacque Molay.
The 1353 exhibit of the Shroud in Lirey France
was carried out by
a different Geoffroi de Charney. He has long been suspected of being related to
the first Geoffrey de Charny.
Evidence here points to: the Shroud being passed on within the same family for safe keeping.
survivor of this second Charney family bequeathed the Shroud to the Duke of Savoy in 1453 AD..
Umberto II of Savoy, (the last king of Italy), died in 1986 and bequeathed the
Shroud to the Catholic Church, in perpetual care of Pope John Paul II and his
The Shroud of Turin, (1979, Ian Wilson) is a classical read on the early
travels of the Shroud..
Prior to 1353, the Shroud is not
fully documented, but a significant historical trail allows for the
following reconstruction of the cloth's early history.
»» 70 A.D. - Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Empire. Legend suggests
the Shroud was taken to Edessa (now Urfa, Turkey) by St Jude Thaddeus,
one of the original Apostles of Jesus Christ.
History and Journey
Sometime following this date.
Persecutions in the second century caused the cloth to be hidden away inside the
fortified wall surrounding the city.
»» 525 A.D. - A severe flood destroyed most of Edessa. The cloth was
rediscovered during the rebuilding of the walls. It became known as "The Image
of Edessa" and later was called the "Mandylion".
»» 944 A.D. - The Byzantine Imperial Army invaded Edessa for the express
reason of retrieving the cloth from the city which had fallen to Islam. It was
taken to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and presented to the Emperor.
»» 1204 A.D. - Constantinople was invaded by the Fourth Crusade and the
Mandylion disappeared. Evidence suggests it was secretly kept by the Knights
»» 1353 A.D. - Geoffrey DeCharney first exhibited the
Shroud in Lirey, France.
Evidence indicates that certain ancestral family members were also leaders
within the Templar organization.
Could the Shroud and the Mandylion be the same cloth?
Many say yes. If not, then what was the "Image on Cloth" stolen from
Constantinople? Where did it go? Or is it the Shroud?
Both science and history seem to indicate that this is the case.
»» Again in 1353 - The Shroud's fully documented history began in Western
Europe when it was revealed by Geoffrey DeCharney in Lirey, France.
»» 1452 A.D. - DeCharney's granddaughter sold the cloth to the Duke of Savoy
in exchange for two castles.
»» 1532 A.D. - The burial linen was severely damaged by fire in Chambery,
»» 1578 A.D. - The cloth was moved to Turin, Italy for safe keeping and
remains there until this day.
»» 1898 A.D. - The Shroud was photographed for the first time by Secondo Pia.
These first pictures led to the discovery that the image on the cloth is
actually a negative. In other words, the image becomes positive only when the
light values are reversed in a photographic negative. This discovery startled
the scientific community and stimulated worldwide interest.
»» 1931 A.D. - Guisseppe Enrie photographed the Shroud again with more
advanced film technology confirming that the Shroud is indeed a negative image.
Copies of Enrie's photos were circulated throughout the world prompting more
scientific inquiry and interest.
»» 1950 A.D.- Dr. Pierre Barbet, a prominent French Surgeon, published his
landmark book, A Doctor at Calvary documenting 15 years of medical research on
the Shroud image. He described the physiology and pathology of the man on the
Shroud as "anatomically perfect".
»» 1973 A.D. - Max Frei, a noted Swiss criminologist, was given permission to
take dust samples from the Shroud which contained pollen. He discovered 22
pollen species from plants that are unique to areas around Constantinople and
Edessa, and 7 pollen species from plants common only to the Middle East. The
pollen trail confirmed the historical trail.
»» 1975 A.D.- Air Force scientists John Jackson and Eric Jumper, using a
sophisticated image enhancement analyzer designed for the space program,
discovered the Shroud image contained encoded 3-D data not found in ordinary
reflected light photographs. This discovery indicated that the cloth must have
been enfolded around a real human figure at the time the image was formed.
»» 1978 A.D. - The Shroud was on public exhibit for the first time since 1933
and was displayed for six weeks. Over 3 million people passed through the
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to view it behind bullet proof glass. At the
close of the exhibition, 40 scientists comprising the Shroud of Turin Research
Project (STURP), mostly from the United States, analyzed the Shroud for five
continuous days (122 hours) working in shifts around the clock.
»» 1986 A.D. - Umberto II of Savoy, who was deposed
as the king of Italy in 1946, died in 1986 and bequeathed the Shroud to John
Paul II and his successors, thus ending over four centuries of control of the
Shroud by the House of Savoy.
»» 1988 A.D.- The Shroud was carbon dated by three laboratories as being only
700 to 800 years old. This now poses the greatest dilemma for proponents of the
Shroud. The Shroud cannot be explained in a medieval context because it
presupposes medical, artistic, and historical knowledge of crucifixion practices
totally unknown in the Middle Ages. It also contradicts other documentation
pointing to a Middle East origin from the first century including a Roman coin
over the right eye minted between 29 to 33 AD. The validity of the C-14 tests is
now being seriously questioned due to issues of; improper protocol such as
relying only on one sample site for the test; the possible contamination of the
sample; carbon enrichment due to the 1532 fire; or even the possibility of
having dated a re-woven part of the Shroud since it was cut from the outside
edge (exactly where C-14 experts say to avoid due to possibilities of exess
contamination). One cannot dismiss the Shroud's authenticity based on C-14
alone. Science must be in harmony to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. This
is not the case with the Shroud. After the year 2,000 more testing will be done
that may answer some of these questions. In the meantime, the Shroud remains one
of the greatest mystery stories of all time.
»» 1997 A.D. - Noted Israeli Botanist and a professor at Hebrew University,
Avinoam Danin confirmed Dr. Alan Whanger's discovery of flower images on the
Shroud. Of the 28 images found, pollen for 27 of them are confirmed to be from
plants around Jerusalem. This evidence suggests the Shroud was used for an
actual burial in the land of Israel.
- Also in 1997, fire broke out in the dome of Saint John the Baptist Cathedral
in Turin. Firefighters saved the Shroud by breaking the glass of its bullet
proof outer container and removing it from the cathedral. The Shroud was not
damaged in any way.
»» 2002 A.D. - The Shroud is cleaned and restored by the Catholic