CATHEDRAL, Shroud Of Turin

Audio File length: 2.41
English / USA Language: English / USA

At the back of Turin's Catheral, two black marble staircases lead you to the chapel which conserves one of the most important and controversial relics of Christianity.

The Shroud of Turin is a linen sheet about four and a half meters long which, according to Christian legend, was used to wrap Jesus' body in his tomb. The sheet bears the image, both in front and in back, of the body of a naked man with signs of torture including traces of death by crucifixion. 1The fabric, which is normally kept folded, has visible traces of a fire that took place in the first half of the 1500s, after which the center portion was patched. The Shroud is exposed only on very solemn occasions, and incredibly long lines of pilgrims and devotees come to see it. You can see an accurate reproduction of it in the Cathedral.

Debate over the shroud's authenticity divides specialists into two opposing sides: this is definitely an incredible object, and is one of the most examined ones in the world. The skeptics argue that it dates back at most to 1200; the "believers" identify a series of elements that date it much further back, up to the time of Jesus. In any case, both sides agree that the sheet is of Middle Eastern production. However, it is not at all clear how the human image is imprinted in the fabric, which is seen much more clearly in negative reproductions. Chemical analyses have detected the presence of human blood on the fabric. What do you think?

The first documentation of the Shroud dates back to the 1300s, when a knight named Godfrey came to possess it. In the mid 1400s the Shroud was acquired by the Dukes of Savoy, who preserved it at their capital Chambéry, where they had a chapel built for it. Thirty years later a fire damaged the fabric, which was partially burned by molten silver from the reliquary. When the capital of the Duchy of Savoy was moved to Turin, Emanuele Filiberto had the Shroud brought as well. The chapel was built about 100 years later.


FUN FACT: did you know that the mystery of the Shroud also extends to its owner? In fact, no one knows who owns it: according to some it belongs to the Italian State, which would have acquired it in 1948 along with the Savoy's possessions when the Republican Constitution came into effect. According to others, the State has never claimed ownership and therefore it belongs to the Holy See.

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