2002 Website News
These are the items that were included on the "Late Breaking Website News" page in 2002. Items are listed with the most recent one first, and each article carries the posting date indicating when it was first uploaded. You should find this an interesting look at the important Shroud and Website events in 2002.
Holiday Wishes and the 7th Anniversary Update
I had originally hoped to update the website once more before the holidays. Unfortunately, my other obligations have kept me busy and I now find myself completely out of time. So instead of an update, I'll just take this opportunity to wish all of you a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.
January 21, 2003 will mark the Seventh Anniversary of the Shroud of Turin Website. Historically, the anniversary updates have always been the largest of the year, and this next update will be no exception. It will include four additions to the Comments on the Restoration page, a new issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, some new links on the Links to More Information page and much more. It will also include a very special feature article about the Archbishop of Baghdad, his new Shroud book and his efforts to promote Shroud studies in Iraq and to the Arabic speaking world in general. I think you will find it a truly fascinating story. My best wishes to all of you. See you on January 21st.
Posted December 20 2002
New Paper From Ray Rogers
I am pleased to announce the publication of an important new paper from Ray Rogers on the Scientific Papers & Articles page of this site. As many of you know, Ray is a retired pyrolysis chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratories and was an original member of the STURP team. The paper is somewhat technical and is titled, The Chemistry of Autocatalytic Processes in the Context of the Shroud of Turin. It discusses the damage to the cloth resulting from the fire of 1532 and concludes that it posed no immediate or ongoing threat to the Shroud. Reportedly, the fear of additional damage to the Shroud by autocatalysis in existing burn and scorch areas prompted the July 2002 restoration.
Posted October 24, 2002
Comments on the Comments
I recently received the criticism that the new Comments On The Restoration page of this website was unfair and unbalanced because the majority of the articles represented only one point of view on the Shroud's restoration. I would hope readers understand that the comments that were expressed were not meant to represent any particular consensus of opinion. My original goal was to simply provide a forum for qualified researchers to voice their professional opinions, and my hopes were that they would provide a good cross section representing all points of view. I published everything I received so far and fully expect the page to grow.
Let me reemphasize that I would welcome additional articles by ANY qualified researchers representing ANY point of view and urge those of you with an interest in this important subject to share your comments publicly. Guidelines for submissions can be found on the page. Sharing ideas openly, even contradictory ones, can prove enlightening to both participants and viewers alike.
Posted October 24, 2002
Comments On The Restoration
As I mentioned in my last update, a very broad range of diverse opinions have been expressed by Shroud experts regarding the recent restoration of the cloth. Since media coverage of the event was minimal, very few if any of the press reports (at least in the United States) accurately expressed in any detail the concerns being voiced by many researchers. In fact, many of the press reports characterized those researchers who voiced any objections to the restoration as being "miffed" because they were not invited to participate. That is completely false. The objections have been raised by qualified researchers who have studied the Shroud for many years and their opinions are based on credible scientific concerns, not "sour grapes."
In an effort to make these important opinions readily available to everyone, I created a new page on the website named Comments On The Restoration. I am pleased to announce that you will already find comments from nine researchers on the new page, all from names that are recognizable and respected in Shroud research, and I hope to add more in the near future. You will also find that some of the opinions are diametrically opposed to one another. Once again, you the viewer will have to read them, think about them and in the end, make up your own mind. No one ever promised you that studying the Shroud of Turin would be easy.
Posted October 15, 2002
Caltech Responds To Benford/Marino Claims
In my August 16, 2002 update (see below), I included several new Shroud papers by Sue Benford and Joseph Marino, as well as reprinting an article that had originally appeared in Il Messaggero, a major Rome newspaper. The Benford/Marino paper claimed that an unauthorized age dating of the Shroud of Turin took place in 1982, and stated that the work was done by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Il Messaggero article quoted Benford and Marino on this matter.
On October 1, 2002, I received an e-mail letter from Mr. Adam Cochran, the Intellectual Property Counsel of Caltech, which I am reprinting here in its entirety:Dear Mr. Schwortz
I am writing to bring to your attention a number of misstatements that appear on your web site, regarding the involvement of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Caltech Professor George R. Rossman in unauthorized age-dating studies on threads from the Shroud of Turin. These statements are not true.
Specifically, under the heading "Late Breaking News," there is a report from the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero in which the following text appears:"In 1982 a thread of the Raes sample had already been dated with a radiocarbon method at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech (sic))."
Elsewhere on your site, there is a PDF file entitled:
"Textile Evidence Supports Skewed Radiocarbon Date of Shroud of Turin (by) M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino" which states:"Unauthorized dating of Raes thread
Heller delivered the thread to the California Institute of Technology (CalTech (sic)) for dating by world-renowned mineralogist Dr. George R. Rossman . . . . Rossman cut the thread in half and, using what Adler described as Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTMS), dated each end of the thread separately. . . . Rossman found that the non-contaminated end of the thread dated to 200 AD while the starched end dated to 1200 AD. . . . . In a personal conversation with one of the authors (Benford), Rossman confirmed that he was, indeed, the person who carried out the 1982 C-14 testing on the Raes thread provided by Adler."
The truth is that Dr. Rossman has never worked on the Shroud of Turin (or threads from it), nor have members of his research group. He has never been involved in age-dating studies and has no expertise in the area. Furthermore, the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences has never had FTMS instruments. In fact, to my knowledge no one at Caltech has ever done 14-C age-dating work at the Institute. The interview alleged to have occurred between Dr. Rossman and the author of one of the articles, in fact, never happened.
We ask that you annotate the above mentioned Late Breaking News and Benford/Marino articles to indicate Caltech's position by linking to this letter, which is posted on your site. Thank you in advance for your consideration.Adam Cochran
The Intellectual Property Counsel
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California 91125
After agreeing to publish the Caltech letter, I contacted Sue Benford and Joseph Marino and asked them to provide additional clarification of the claims that they made in their paper. This is their response:
On Sept. 12, 2002, p. 15, Il Messegaro (Rome, Italy) reported correspondence they had received from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) regarding a 1982 unauthorized dating of a thread from the Shroud of Turin. In the article, Caltech representatives argued that "Neither Prof. Rossman nor any other group of research on behalf of the Caltech have ever carried out a study on the Shroud or on a sample of thread taken from it." It is our understanding that Caltech has submitted a similar statement for posting on the shroud.com website. As the discoverers of the details related to this testing, we would like to take this opportunity to respond to this statement with some facts.
The original source of our information about the California Institute of Technology's test, was from former Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) chemist Dr. Alan Adler in an audiotaped interview between him and Mark Antonacci on 28 December 1988. This source is cited in our paper (www.shroud.com/pdfs/textevid.pdf). Not only does the tape reveal the institution performing the test, but also refers to Dr. Rossman as the person who did the testing. On the tape, Adler further describes Rossman as a leading expert in the niche area of "moon rocks." A review of Rossman's publications on the Caltech website indicates several publications in this subject area; thus, confirming his identity (see below for a partial listing).
In order to obtain more information about the 1982 testing procedure and to verify Adler's statements, we contacted Rossman by telephone on June 30, 2002. He acknowledged having done the 1982 age-dating test but quickly ended the conversation stating he wanted no further communication about the Shroud.
In addition to the audiotape of Adler's interview, we also have the phone records documenting our two brief phone calls to Rossman's home on the date specified. Further, immediately following these two calls, we talked to Barrie Schwortz and relayed the specifics of the Rossman communication. In addition, the portion of the audiotape describing the 1982 testing was played for Dr. William Meacham, who asked for verification of the details in our paper.
It is important to note that Caltech has refuted our claims without first attempting to contact us seeking verification of our evidence. Should any of the Caltech representatives, including Dr. Rossman, wish to hear the audiotape in question, we would be happy to play it for them. We hope this helps to clarify the facts in this situation.
M. Sue Benford and Joseph Marino
Partial listing of Rossman's lunar ("moon rock") publications:
Bell PM, Mao HK, Rossman GR (1975) Absorption spectroscopy of ionic and molecular units in crystals and glasses. In Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy of Lunar and Terrestrial Minerals, C. Karr, Jr., ed., Academic Press, New York, 1-38.
Rossman GR (1977) Optical absorption spectra of major minerals in Luna 24 sample 24170 (abstract). Lunar Science Institute, Conference on Luna 24, Houston, Texas. December. Abs.: Conference on Luna 24, Lunar Science Institute, 156-159.
Taylor LA, Rossman GR, Qu Q (1995) Where has all the lunar water gone? (abstract). Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. March, 1995.
Posted October 15, 2002
Shroud Lecture Scheduled In San Antonio, Texas
The American Chemical Society and the Witte Museum of San Antonio, Texas, are co-sponsoring a Shroud of Turin Lecture/Symposium on Monday, November 11, 2002, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the museum, located at 3801 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas, 78209. The three scheduled speakers are Stephen J. Mattingly, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, David Stoney, Ph. D., Clinical Professor of Forensic Sciences at the University of Illinois and the current Director of the McCrone Research Institute, and Barrie M. Schwortz, Editor and Publisher of the Shroud of Turin Website.
Dr. Mattingly will discuss "The Role of Human Skin Bacteria in the Formation of Photographic-like Images on Linen." Dr. Stoney will discuss "Dr. McCrone's Microscopical and Microchemical Examination of Tapes from the Shroud of Turin," and I will present "Twenty-Five Years of Shroud Science: A Personal Perspective." All in all, this should be a very interesting evening.
Ticket prices are $15 for non-members, $10 for members of the Witte Museum and American Chemical Society and $8 for students. The ticket price includes hors d'oeuvres and wine. Reservations can be made by calling the Witte Museum's Guest Reservation Office at (210) 357-1910. You might also check out the Witte Museum's website at www.wittemuseum.org and the American Chemical Society San Antonio Chapter website at http://hackberry.chem.trinity.edu/SAACS/. I hope to meet some of you there.
Posted October 15, 2002
Shroud Spectrum International Back Issues Available Again
Shroud Spectrum International was the only peer-reviewed English language journal in the world exclusively devoted to scientific and scholarly studies of the Shroud. It was first published in December 1981 by Dorothy Crispino and forty-two issues were produced before publication was discontinued in December 1993. It included articles by many of the world's foremost sindonologists and remains an essential reference in any serious researcher's library.
This website has long included an Index To Shroud Spectrum International page that lists the complete contents of each issue, along with a method for ordering copies directly from the publisher. However, when Dorothy moved to Italy a year ago, she had to temporarily discontinue taking orders. I am pleased to announce that Dorothy is again able to take orders for back issues. Just click on the above link and select "Order/Price Info" from the Navigator Bar on the page for complete details. And while we are on the subject of Shroud Spectrum International, make sure to see the next item on this page (below) that announces a newly released Special Issue.
Posted October 15, 2002
Shroud Spectrum International Publishes New "Special Issue"
The Orphaned Manuscript: A Gathering of Publications on the Shroud of Turin by Alan D. Adler is the title of the newly released Special Issue of Shroud Spectrum International, edited by Dorthy Crispino. The book is a compilation of previously published papers written or co-authored by the late chemist, sindonologist and member of the Archdiocese of Turin's Conservation Committee, Alan D. Adler.
I have also added the contents of this Special Issue to the Index to Shroud Spectrum International page of this website. This link takes you directly to the Special Issue section where you will also find links to three of Adler's papers, as well as a link to the publisher's website, where you can order your own copy.
Posted October 15, 2002
Speakers Directory Updated
I am pleased to announce that the "Shroud Speakers Directory" page of this website has been updated to include our first Canadian speaker. I extend a warm welcome to Phillip H. Wiebe, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy at Trinity Western University, who has now been added to the page.
This is also a reminder to those of you that need speakers for your club or organization that a diverse group of professionals are represented on the page. Included in each listing is a brief biography of the speaker, the scope and content of their presentation, the equipment they require, the geographic area they are available in and contact information so you can reach them directly.
Posted October 15, 2002
Shroud of Turin Booklist Page Updated
Once again, I extend my thanks to Emanuela Marinelli for helping me keep the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this website up to date. I have just added about a dozen new entries to the list, most of them provided by Emanuela. I should also mention that the list represents the Marinelli Collection, one the largest Shroud libraries in the world, with over 600 titles.
Posted October 15, 2002
Restored Shroud Unveiled
Photograph © 2002 Archdiocese of Turin
As I reported in August, a major restoration of the Shroud of Turin was undertaken by its owners in June-July 2002. All thirty of the patches sewn into the cloth in 1534 by the Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire were removed, allowing the first unrestricted view of the actual holes burned into the cloth by the fire. It appears that some of the most seriously charred areas surrounding the burn holes were also removed during the restoration, most likely to allow the Shroud to be properly resewn to the new backing cloth. The original backing cloth (known as the Holland Cloth) that was added at the same time as the patches, was also removed and replaced with a new, lighter colored cloth, which can now be seen through the burn holes. Although the creases and wrinkles that had been previously evident on the Shroud are not visible in this photograph, I am assured by those who have seen the restored cloth that they are in fact, still there, although perhaps more faint. These are critical because they can help determine how the cloth was folded over the centuries and constitute an important clue for historians. For larger, more detailed views of the individual ventral and dorsal images and the ability to compare the old with the new, visit the Examine the Shroud page of this website
In a press conference held in Turin on September 21, 2002, the world was introduced to the newly restored cloth. New photographs and a full account of the restoration (in Italian) first appeared on the Archdiocese of Turin Website. In an effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information, I am including an Acrobat PDF file with a very preliminary computer software generated English translation of the "Story of the Restoration," graciously provided by Rev. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr. It is a bit rough, but should give you a good overview of the original article by Mons. Joseph Ghiberti that appears on the Archdiocese website. I also want to thank Emanuela Marinelli and Alessandro Malantrucco for keeping me informed. I will try and include a better quality translation at some point in the future, although I expect the multi-language Archdiocese website will soon be including an English language translation themselves. If that occurs, I will just remove the link.
IMPORTANT: In the last few days, I have spoken with more of the researchers who attended a special, invitation-only viewing of the Shroud in Turin, on Friday, September 20, 2002. They have expressed a very broad spectrum of opinions on the restoration and the results. Some believe that proper care was exercised in the performance of the restoration and that the removed materials were properly documented and archived so they could be used for future testing. Others believe that considerable material was lost or contaminated and that future testing would be severely impacted because of the intervention. Some even believe that certain tests now may never be able to be performed. From a personal point of view, the most disturbing comment made by one of the experts was that the proportions of the image itself may have been altered.
In an effort to provide website viewers with access to all of these opinions, I have created a new page on this site, titled "Comments On The Restoration." Still under construction, it will hopefully provide a forum that will allow experts to give concise written statements that present the scientific basis for their opinions. I am hopeful that this will prove enlightening for everyone. Expect to find a preliminary version on the website by mid-October. If you are a qualified researcher and wish to submit your comments, please see the page for some preliminary guidelines.
The Vatican news service published an English language article on September 22, 2002, that you might find interesting, so I am including it here in the form of an Acrobat PDF file. I am also including another link to the Archdiocese of Turin Website page where you can now view a streaming video of the restoration and scanning, along with some additional still photographs. To view the video you will need Real Player installed on your computer. A link is provided on their site to download it for free if you don't already have it.
Zenit News Service article titled "Restoration of the Shroud is Completed"
Link to the Shroud Restoration Video page on the Archidiocese of Turin Website
IMPORTANT: On September 23, 2002, another press conference about the restoration was held in Rome. The comments at this one were more critical of the recent intervention and presented differing opinions from those expressed on September 21st. I am including below a link to the Collegamento pro Sindone's excellent English language "News" page that reports on the press conferences and the varying opinions expressed. Scrolling further down their "News" page you will also find English language translations of all of the recent Italian (and many international) newspaper articles reporting on the restoration. For those of you not familiar with this site, it is one of the finest Shroud websites on the Internet and provides a broad range of important material not available anywhere else.
Collegamento pro Sindone "News" Page
Updated September 28, 2002
Updated September 26, 2002
Updated September 23, 2002
Posted September 21, 2002
Long Overdue Update
It has been almost six months since the last update to this website. That is the single longest period of silence the site has experienced since it first went online in January 1996. As most of you know, I built and maintain the website myself, without staff or assistance, and do so in my spare time while operating my professional imaging business. The last six months have been busy ones, not just for my business, but for the Shroud as well, and I accumulated a very large backlog of Shroud information while simultaneously working non-stop on several large client projects.
My original plan for this update was to work my way through that backlog of materials and start getting caught up. However, recent events have changed everything, and this update will deal solely with the critically important breaking news that came to us in the past week.
I will try and add some of the backlog to the website over the next few weeks, but first, as the old saying goes, "I have some good news and some bad news..."
Posted August 16, 2002
Three Important Papers Added
I am including first the text of an article by Orazio Petrosillo that appeared in Il Messaggero, a major Rome newspaper, on August 9, 2002. I wish to thank Emanuela, Maurizio and Simona Marinelli for providing me with the English translation of the article so promptly:
IL MESSAGGERO - Friday, August 9, 2002, page 8
Other polemics - The 1988 dating is questioned
Two scholars: there are also invisible repairs on that linen cloth. The radiocarbon test may have been inaccurate.
«According to the 14C test the cloth appeared Medieval. Perhaps only some threads were.»
ROME - Medieval was the darn, not the Shroud. Just while 30 visible patches are removed, some scholars direct their attention to the invisible darns on the Turinese Sheet. They were widely used in the Middle Ages for very precious cloths, just like the one venerated as the holiest of relics. Therefore, the result of the dating tests of the Shroud with the radiocarbon method (14C), carried out by the laboratories of Oxford, Tucson and Zurich in 1988 and dating the Shroud cloth between 1260 and 1390, has been altered by the presence, just in the area of the dating of the small linen samples, an invisible darn dating back to the 16th century. Sue Benford and Joseph Marino, two American sindonologists, claim this. A series of pictures of one of the samples taken in 1988 for the radiocarbon dating and of the remaining part that was not used were submitted to three textile experts, independently and without saying the samples had been taken from the Shroud. All the three experts recognized a different weaving on one side of the samples. According to the calculations of Beta Analytic, the largest provider of radiocarbon dating in the world, a mixture of 60% of material, from the 16th century, with 40% of material from the 1st century would carry a 13th century dating. The proportion of more recent material has been evaluated on the basis of what the three textile experts observed.
Interesting observations have been carried out by Ray Rogers, a chemist who was a member of STURP, the group of American scientists who examined the Shroud in 1978. Rogers has linen fibers (which the Shroud is made of) coming both from the same area of the sample for the 14C analysis (they had been cut by the Belgian expert Gilbert Raes in 1973) and from other areas of the Shroud. In only the Raes' corner, where the 1988 sampling had been carried out, the fibers appear coated and soaked by a yellow-brownish amorphous substance, whose color varies in intensity from one fiber to the other. On the contrary, the fibers coming from the other parts of the Shroud do not have such a coating, which is almost certainly a yellow-rubber vegetable, very likely the gum-arabic, once used for textile applications. Moreover, Rogers has observed a superimposition (splice) in the center of a thread of the Raes sample: it is an invisible darn, widely used in the 16th century. In 1982 a thread of the Raes sample had already been dated with a radiocarbon method at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). Half of the thread appeared covered with starch. The thread was divided in half: the non-starched part turned out to date from the 3rd century A.D., while the starched end gave a date of the 13th century A.D. This is a message for the Holy See to plan a new 14C test with serenity but in a multidisciplinary context and with a particular attention to the representativeness of the sample.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Please click here to read Caltech's Response to the claims made in this article.
One of the most noteworthy papers presented at the "Sindone 2000" Orvieto Worldwide Conference in August 2000, was "Evidence for the Skewing of the C-14 Dating of the Shroud of Turin Due to Repairs" by Joseph Marino and M. Sue Benford. It presented evidence that the corner of the Shroud where the C-14 samples were taken from in 1988 contained spurious fibers from a medieval reweaving, resulting in an inaccurate date. The information referred to by Orazio Petrosillo in his recent article (above) are two new papers by Benford and Marino that I am including in today's update.
The first paper, titled, "Textile Evidence Supports Skewed Radiocarbon Date of Shroud of Turin," provides additional evidence for their conclusions about the reweaving, but goes a step further. The researchers submitted their original paper to a number of internationally recognized experts for review. This paper includes the criticisms they received, along with their specific responses.
One of the reviewers was Ray Rogers, retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratories and former member of the STURP team that examined the cloth in 1978. He conducted an independent chemical analysis of Shroud samples still in his possession to determine if the Benford/Marino theory was even viable. His conclusions, included in the paper, corroborate their findings.
In fact, Ray was so taken by the new information that he was stimulated to reexamine the 1978 research and conclusions and integrate them all into one new paper, which I am proud to include in this update. It is titled, "Scientific Method Applied to the Shroud of Turin: A Review," and includes 26 illustrations, most of them in color. In it, Ray provides an excellent overview of known Shroud data, documents his chemical analysis of Shroud samples relevant to the Benford/Marino hypothesis, reviews other Shroud theories relative to the C-14 analysis and even points out corroboration for the Benford/Marino theory in the ultraviolet-fluorescence photographs made by Vernon D. Miller, Chief Scientific Photographer for the STURP team in 1978. Be aware however, that at 564k because of all the images, this is a rather large Acrobat .pdf file (in fact, the largest single file on the entire website) and may take a few minutes to download, depending on the speed of your connection.
One of the main criticisms leveled at Benford and Marino's original proposal was the credibilty of their claim that such an "invisible" reweaving method even existed, let alone was good enough to avoid detection by the experts who have studied the Shroud in the last century. Their second paper directly addresses this issue and documents the art of invisible reweaving in great detail. The paper is titled, "Historical Support of a 16th Century Restoration in the Shroud C-14 Sample Area," and includes excellent references that support their conclusions.
Any one of the observations made by Benford, Marino and Rogers would be enough to make one reconsider the validity of the 1988 C-14 results. Taken together, and coupled with the other evidence that has been presented over the past 14 years, it should make all but the most die-hard skeptic think twice about calling the Shroud of Turin a "medieval" relic based solely on the results of the 1988 testing.
What does it all mean? If Benford, Marino and Rogers are correct, then the C-14 laboratories reported the dates correctly in 1988 and only the sample taking should be called into question. Remember, the laboratories did not decide where the samples were taken from. For those not familiar with the history, the original protocol developed by a large panel of experts prior to the C-14 analysis was changed at the last moment, oestensibly by Prof. Luigi Gonella, then the scientific advisor to Archbishop Anastasio Ballestrero (the Archbishop of Turin and Curator of the Shroud) in 1988. Instead of taking samples from multiple sites across the Shroud and providing them to as many as seven laboratories that had calibrated their systems in anticipation of the tests, only one sample was removed from the controversial corner, and it was basically divided into thirds and provided to only three laboratories. Gonella later claimed this was done for "expediency."
Additional criticism has been leveled at the three laboratories for failing to perform chemical analyses on the linen samples prior to their destruction as part of the AMS radiocarbon dating process they used. A detailed chemical composition of the samples was never determined. Again, this represented a change from the original protocol. Most interesting was the response of Dr. Harry Gove, the world renown expert credited with inventing the AMS dating process itself. Not only did he call a press conference to openly object to the changes in the protocol, he also sent a letter to Pope John Paul II restating his objections. In fact, in a letter to the editor of Nature, Gove stated, "All these unnecessary and unexplained changes unilaterally dictated by the Archbishop of Turin will produce an age for the Turin Shroud which will be vastly less credible than that which could have been obtained if the original Turin Workshop Protocol had been followed." A detailed account of the events surrounding the carbon dating is documented in Dr. Gove's book, "Relic, Icon or Hoax? Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," from which I took this quote. (See the Shroud of Turin Booklist page on this website for the specific reference).
In the end, Orazio Petrosillo's closing comment sums it up very well. At some point in the future, the authorities should consider a new dating of the Shroud of Turin, this time adhering to a stringent set of guidelines and one in which the samples are carefully selected to represent various areas of the cloth. I believe that is the only solution to putting the controversy to rest, once and for all.
Posted August 16, 2002
Dramatic News From Turin
At the same time that we received the word from Rome announcing the work of Benford/Marino and Rogers, another startling announcement accompanied it. I will reprint here for you all of the articles, just as I received them. These appeared in Italian newspapers this past week and presented the world with incredible news. I will include my comments at the end. As before, my thanks to Emanuela, Maurizio and Simona Marinelli for providing the English translations. I apologize for some of the long paragraphs, but in my urgency to get all of this new material online quickly, I am forgoing the time necessary to reformat everything. Sorry.
IL MESSAGGERO - Friday, August 9, 2002, page 1
Thirty 1532 patches eliminated. Polemics.
Mystery on the Shroud secretly modified.
ROME - A new mystery on the Shroud. From June 20 to July 22 Jesus' supposed burial sheet has undergone a radical restoration intervention, without the Commission for the Shroud preservation being involved. The thirty "patches" affixed on the sheet after the 1532 fire and the backing cloth have been removed. Damages are feared. Polemics.
IL MESSAGGERO - Friday, August 9, 2002, page 8
The 1534 "patches" and backing cloth eliminated
Sindone, a new mystery: thirty darns disappeared
by Orazio Petrosillo
The operation has been led by the Swiss textile expert Flury-Lemberg between June and July. But the Commission for the relic preservation has not been involved. Turin, radical restoration intervention on Jesus' burial sheet. Damages are feared.
At first sight, the news appears incredible. The Shroud of Turin is not anymore the one millions and millions of people have venerated and contemplated in the last 1978, 1998 and Jubilee exhibitions. A month ago, in the utmost secrecy, they have made it change its universally known aspect (appearance). The Shroud of Turin is not anymore the one it has been for nearly five centuries, from April 1534 until some weeks ago. A restoration has been eliminated that had lasted since then. In fact, the thirty patches of various sizes, which the Chambéry Clare nuns had sewn on the Sheet in the restoration carried out after the fire of December 4, 1532, that had burnt it in various areas, have been removed. Moreover, the so-called "Holland cloth," then sewn on the back of the Shroud in order to better support it, has been replaced.
The most important antique-relic of Christianity, of universal value, because thought to be Jesus of Nazareth's burial sheet, with amazing confirmations from many scientific tests of various disciplines, has undergone an intervention certainly of no little conservative significance, with the elimination of a restoration of many centuries and remarkable risks for the Shroud Man's image itself. All of that was carried out in the utmost secrecy, without the scientific community and the religious one being informed and without ever being suggested to unsew the patches and the Holland cloth in any of the eight international conferences on the Shroud studies in the last four years. That demonstrates that no sindonologist thought such an intervention for the Shroud preservation.
From the historical-documentary point of view, the damage is obvious. Even if they may have acted with precaution and professionalism, the unsewing of the patches on the burned parts of the cloth, above all the one nearest the side wound, cannot have happened without loss of small fragments. It seems amazing indeed that such a permission has been guaranteed by the Custodian, Cardinal Severino Poletto, and granted (even if, as far as we know, with remarkable difficulty) by the Holy See, who is the relic owner. The "operation-patches" took place from last June 20 to July 22. The Shroud was removed from the new case put under the royal stand, in the left transept of the Turin Cathedral, and brought in the new adjoining sacristy, become inaccessible during all the works. The patches were removed from the sheet, 4.37 m long and 1.11 m wide. Those patches, more or less triangular, are in parallel couples next to the frontal and dorsal images of the Man, naked, scourged, hit on the face, who brought a helmet of thorns on the head and the horizontal arm of a cross on the shoulders, who was crucified with nails and pierced on the side after his death. In the fire of the night between December 3 and 4, 1532, in the "Sainte Chapelle" of Chambéry, a corner of the Shroud (folded in 48 layers measuring 27 cm to 36) was burnt, provoking symmetrical burns to the longitudinal and cross-sectional lines of folding.
The operation has been led by a textile expert of international reputation, the Swiss Mechtild Flury-Lemberg who, after removing the patches and the Holland cloth, has replaced the latter with a cloth of her property. The patches removed have been preserved in a sealed container, as well as the Holland cloth. One of the cloth foldings near the Man of the Shroud's face would have disappeared as a result of these unsewings, but another one would have remained. It seems that the two people in charge of the International Center of Sindonology, the mathematician Bruno Barberis, its director, and Gian Maria Zaccone, director of the Museum, have inspired this intervention, while Mgr. Giuseppe Ghiberti, the most important collaborator of the cardinal as far as the Shroud is concerned, seems to have been reluctant. Moreover, the whole Commission for the Shroud preservation (where, nevertheless, the same Flury-Lemberg is the only textile expert) does not seem to have been involved, nor, least of all, was Pier Luigi Baima Bollone, predecessor of Barberis and one of the most qualified scientists-sindonologists. Why has this clamorous "transformation" of the Shroud been carried out?, ask those few who have come to know it. Sure, the photos taken by the present trusted photographer of the Center, Giancarlo Durante, are worth millions of Euro and the next volume that will publish them will obtain for this a worldwide resonance. Nevertheless, a lot of things are not clear in what happened.
ANSA Press Agency, August 9, 2002
SHROUD: CURIA, INTERVENTION ON CLOTH AS AGREED WITH THE HOLY SEE
(ANSA) - TURIN, AUGUST 9 - "No mystery, the interventions and the new analyses on the Shroud are led in agreement with the Holy See and on the basis of the directions emerged from the world-wide symposium of experts of March 2000." This is what the Turin Curia has specified about the news, published today in "Il Messaggero," with regard to the elimination of the old darns from the linen that, according to the tradition, would have wrapped Jesus Christ's body. In truth the operation has been more complex and has involved also new scientific "non-invasive" assessments, that is, without damaging the cloth, as, instead, happened in 1988 for the 14C test. Between last June 20 and July 22 the Shroud was removed from the armored case put under the royal stand of the Turin Cathedral and taken in the adjoining sacristy to carry out the scientific-conservative intervention: "the results will be made public and documented also photographically in mid-September," has also specified the spokesman of Cardinal Severino Poletto. The Cardinal, who is the Custodian of the Shroud on behalf of the Holy See, to which it was donated by the Savoy family, is presently engaged outside Turin in spiritual exercises. On the most famous and important icon of the Christianity - whose last exhibitions, in 1998 and 2000, carried millions of pilgrims from all the world to Turin - there has been an intervention in the first place in order to remove the some thirty darns and patches made by the Clare nuns of Chambéry in 1534. Two years before, in the night between December 3 and 4, 1532, a fire, burst mysteriously in the "Sainte Chapelle" of the then capital city of the Savoy ducky, had damaged a border of the linen. The cloth, guarded in a silver urn, was burnt along the folds and some drops of melted metal pierced various layers: that's why some patched were put on the sides of the body image of a man naked, scourged, and crucified. According to what is known, the operation, led by the Swiss textile expert Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, also consisted in the substitution of the Holland cloth, sewn by the Clare nuns themselves on the back of the Shroud in order to allow a better preservation of it. But not only. The Shroud has been newly analyzed by experts in the century-old attempt to penetrate all the secrets of the image formation. By now, in fact, many scientists-sindonologists question the result of carbon 14, that had dated the linen from the Medieval Age, between 1260 and 1390. The samples examined by the laboratories of Oxford, Tucson and Zurich would have been contaminated just by the following interventions with medieval cloths. Moreover, in 1995 the Russian scholar Dmitri Kouznetsov came to the conclusion that the 1532 fire had modified the present radioactive carbon amount in the Shroud, altering its dating. The Shroud has been in Turin since 1578, where it was taken by the Duke Emanuele Filiberto in order to shorten the pilgrimage of Saint Carlo Borromeo, who wanted to venerate it in order to fulfill a vow. In 1694 the Shroud was put in the baroque chapel annexed to the Dome and built by the architect Guarino Guarini, just the one where you cannot go in yet, after the furious second fire that attacked the sheet in the night between April 11 and 12, 1997.
AP: Swiss expert says she tested Shroud of Turin
Fri Aug 9,12:54 PM ET
TURIN, Italy - A Swiss textiles expert said Friday that she was carrying out tests on the Shroud of Turin, which believers say was used as the burial cloth of Jesus.
Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, speaking by phone from Bern, Switzerland, acknowledged the tests, but would not explain what she was studying or what the tests consisted of.
She said the Vatican ( news - web sites) was aware of the tests. A Church spokesman was not available to confirm this, and a priest at the Turin cathedral where the shroud is kept refused to comment.
Flury-Lemberg said there would be a news conference on the matter in about two weeks or at the latest by early September.
"We have an agreement with Turin that we will only give information to the press when we have the possibility to give you real photographs and things like that," Flury-Lemberg said Friday.
The shroud, which remained in the Turin cathedral, is a strip of linen four meters (13 feet) long and one-meter (three-feet) wide that is marked by an image of Jesus, which believers say was left by his body after he was taken off the cross.
A carbon-dating test ended in 1988 with a scientific team declaring that the shroud apparently came from medieval times. Disputes have flourished since then on the validity of that study and others, including one by researchers at The Hebrew University that concluded that pollen and plant images on the shroud showed it originated in the area around Jerusalem sometime before the eighth century.
Typically, the shroud is kept under tight security, with only a handful of people allowed access, among them is Flury-Lemberg, who was part of a commission established to study its conservation in 2000, said shroud expert Luigi Gonella.
The shroud has been shown to the public for limited periods, and during 2000 more than 1 million visitors viewed it during a special showing for Holy Year celebrations.
IL MESSAGGERO - Saturday, August 10, 2002, page 10
The removal of the patches has been confirmed.
The Curia: "But the Shroud cloth has not been damaged"
by ORAZIO PETROSILLO
ROME - The Curia of Turin has fully confirmed the amazing operation of removal of the Shroud patches, completed in great secret in the Turin Cathedral new sacristy from June 20 to July 22 and revealed yesterday by our Newspaper. It has been announced that in the first half of September a press conference will take place in order to document, also photographically, the results of the operation, consisting in the removal of thirty patches sewn from the Chambery Clare nuns in 1534 on the burns of the Sheet, provoked by the December 4,1532 fire, and in the substitution of the backing cloth, called "Holland cloth." Only then will it be possible to have a general idea of how the Shroud has been "transformed" and answer question that the experts, who have been kept completely in the dark about it, ask: have the Sacred Linen carbonized parts been trimmed? However amazing it can appear, according to someone the "burns move forward as time goes on" (but in five centuries they would have "eaten" a lot of cloth), hence the idea to intervene, eliminating the carbonized parts. If so, last month's operation would have been "invasive". On the contrary, in yesterday's statement of the Turinese Curia spokesman, Marco Bonatti, who confirmed the intervention, there are references to new scientific "non invasive" tests, that is, which have not damaged the cloth. Obviously, this intervention, carried out by the textile expert Flury-Lemberg, has been authorized by the Shroud papal Custodian, cardinal Severino Poletto, after obtaining the consent of the Holy See, who owns of the precious Relic after the last Savoy family King Umberto II's testamentary donation in 1983. The news of this last "operation-Shroud" has also surprised many Turinese clergymen themselves, both for the intervention weight - with the removal of the thirty 16th century patches and the substitution of the "Holland cloth" below, completely stitched to the patches and to the Shroud (only the Face area was left out), and for "the furtive attitude, like Carbonari (? translator's note: the Carbonarist movement was a secret sect of the Italian 19th century Risorgimento)," that surrounded the operation. In the eight International Shroud Conferences, which have taken place in the last four years, we do not know of any expert suggesting such a challenging and risky intervention as necessary. The Curia has specified that the matter had been dealt with in the International Scientific Symposium, which had taken place behind closed doors in Villa Gualino (Turin) from March 2 to 5, 2000. When we asked them, some participants confirmed they did not hear of it at all, nor is there any trace of it in the Proceedings. Perhaps the three textile experts who were there (Flury-Lemberg, Testore, Vercelli) talked about it in an informal way. More probably, the decision must have been taken during the scanning of the Shroud back, carried out in November 2000. Then, the experts may have realized there were dust and dirt between the Shroud and the Holland cloth, sewn in 1534.
LA STAMPA - Saturday, August 10, 2002, page 15
THE OPERATION LED SECRETLY FROM JUNE 20 TO JULY 22
The Shroud changes. Five-century-old patches eliminated.
The Vatican: "Intervention decided after the 2000 world-wide symposium." According to the investigators those seams could damage the sheet
by Francesca Paci
The Shroud has been restored. The diocese of Turin admits the silent removal of the thirty patches sewn on the sheet after the 1532 fire in the "Sainte Chapelle", but it specifies that "the intervention has been led in total agreement with the Holy See and on the basis of the indications emerged from the 2000 world-wide symposium". From Rome they confirm. The Secretariat of State declares they have guaranteed "the quick procedure in virtue of the absolute trust the Cardinal Severino Poletto enjoys." The Vatican knew, so did the sindonologists for the relic conservation. According to the director of the Curia weekly magazine "La Voce del popolo", Marco Bonatti, "there is no mystery". The Commission knew "and supplied studies and advice on what to do". Intentionally anonymous sources reveal that the first idea to eliminate the "patches," sewn on the linen by the Chambery Clare nuns, came just from there, from the scientific community. It was suggested, four or five years ago, by the chemist Alan Adler, Professor at the American University of the New England, who recently died, when he was a member of the same group of scholars as Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, the Swiss textile expert, who carried out last July restoration. The history begins in March 2000. Forty investigators from all over the world arrive in Turin in order to discuss about the Shroud. There is the preservation problem of the nearly-five-century-old linen, the "photocopied" image of the face and the naked body thought to be Jesus', the trace of the side wound, escaped December 4, 1532 flames by few centimeters. The encounter produces the Proceedings, published in the following months, the speeches program signed by the Archdiocese, and a two-page report addressed to Rome. The Vatican approval is expected, "Cardinal Poletto's precaution enjoys the complete trust of Secretary Sodano, who supported his arrival in the Piedmontese chief town". The Shroud is owned directly by the Pope, having been donated to him by the Savoy family. Since 1578 the Shroud has been in Turin, where the Duke Emanuele Filiberto carried it in order to shorten the pilgrimage of Saint Carlo Borromeo, who had to fulfill a vow, and is kept by the town archbishop, who, in this case, has got a free hand, "an exceptional delegation that would not be valid for others". Therefore, when last June 20 the "patches" removal operation begins, the Holy See is not there to follow the intervention. The group, coordinated by Flury-Lemberg and protected in the shadow of the Cathedral new sacristy, goes on until July 22: unraveling the Clare nuns' patient and careful darn and replacing their Holland cloth with a new one meant more than a month of work. The sindologists had been studying on it for more than two years. In 1998 the Commission for the conservation had decided to keep the sheet extended rather than rolled up, in order to avoid that the folds damaged the linen that, as the tradition goes, would have wrapped Jesus' body. Marco Bonatti is convinced that the new restoration does not break off with the previous ones, "the aim is to eliminate the tension: those patches pulled the cloth." The approach is scientific, the observation is a part of the method. During the last intervention, for example, the "weavers" noticed some creases that "seemed caused by some drawing-pins." It was an old story, that the Shroud Museum Guardian Gian Maria Zaccone already knew; "according to a report of the 1898 Exhibition the sheet could have been hung just with some drawing-pins." A false alarm: the demonstration that "the monitoring has to be constant and coordinated". The accusation that the Turinese diocese rejects is to have acted alone. Those who had to know, knew, the others would have had "news of the result in a press conference after the holidays". The group of operating investigators, who is around the main icon of Christianity, defends him strongly. Pierluigi Baima Bollone, former director of "Centro Internazionale di Sindonologia" and present member of the Commission for the conservation of the relic, does not comment: "I have a engagement of confidentiality with the group I belong to." The present director of the Institute of Studies Bruno Barberis cannot be reached, perhaps he has gone to Lourdes. The trusted photographer, Giancarlo Durante, who took the last images of the Shroud before the "patches" removal, has heard "rumors", but he would not be able to say more. Severino Poletto, engaged in spiritual exercises outside Turin, through his own spokesman communicates that "in mid-September the intervention will be made known and documented photographically." However, it is useless to hope for a new exhibition before 2025. Marco Bonatti damps the enthusiasms of those who have missed the 1998 and 2000 stream-pilgrimages, and are ready to take the news of the restoration as an occasion to take advantage of, perhaps in four years, among events and lay festivals for the Olympic Games. "The indications of the diocese are not changed", cuts short the director of "La Voce del popolo". To see the restored Shroud there is a twenty-three-year-long queue.
AVVENIRE - Saturday, August 10, 2002, page 7
Poletto: Shroud successful restorations
The archbishop of Turin, Custodian of the Cloth, announced that in September information and images about the works concluded in these days will be available for the scientific community and the public opinion. The intervention on the holy relic, carried out reservedly and with the free way of the Vatican, was necessary in order to assure better preservation conditions. Unanimous the consent of the international Commission.
Holy relic. The works carried out in these days have the purpose to assure the best preservation conditions. The intervention concluded with the unanimous consent of the international Commission was authorized by the Holy See.
Poletto: "Shroud, successful restoration"
by Giulio Zambrelli
The Archbishop of Turin: in September information and images of the "renewed" Cloth will be available for the public opinion and the scientific community. A special publication is near.
"Next September - Cardinal Poletto informs us - all the information about the interventions recently carried out on the Holy Shroud will be available for the public opinion and the international scientific community, and the images of the "restored" Cloth will be available as well for everybody. An appropriate publication will contain the new images of the Shroud. But since now the archbishop of Turin, Custodian of the Shroud, wants to specify: "The interventions have been carried out reservedly not out of a great desire for secrecy, but to guarantee the necessary calm for those who had to work, besides obvious reasons of safety". The works carried out on the Shroud are completely included in the indications that in these years the Commission for the preservation supplied to the Custodian (in the Commission there are scientists from several nations, whose task is to study the best conditions for the preservation of the Cloth, and to indicate the necessary applications).
"The restoration intervention - Cardinal Poletto adds - was in writing authorized by the Holy See. And it was carried out completely meeting the two conditions that the Holy See itself requested: that there was the unanimous consent of the members of the Commission for the Shroud preservation, and that the competent authorities of the Italian State (editor's note: the Piedmontese regional Superintendence at the Patrimony) were properly informed". All the Archbishops of Turin, Custodians of the Shroud in the post-war period, from Fossati to Pellegrino, from Ballestrero to Saldarini and now Poletto have always considered the preservation problem has an absolute priority: for this reason, a Commission appointed to study and plan the interventions on the Cloth has existed for years. Obviously, the indications of the Commission are submitted to the approval of the Custodian and the Holy Father, who since 1983, for testamentary bequest of Umberto II of Savoy, is the owner of the Shroud.
The "turning-point" in the preservation strategy was the decision to maintain the Cloth no more rolled up around a wooden roller, like it had been for centuries since 1997, when the Shroud was in the Guarini Chapel and then in the Cathedral of Turin until the fire of April 11. In order to maintain the Shroud extended, it was necessary to study a completely new "system", as the Cloth measures m 4.36 to1.10, and therefore is decidedly more "cumbersome" than a wooden case... In these years, from 1997 on, they gradually realized the cases for 1998 and 2000 exhibitions, and the case for the permanent preservation; inside the Cathedral of Turin they located and equipped the areas for the care of the Shroud itself, so that it has a dignified and safe location without, however, interfering with the liturgical life of the Cathedral. Also the more recent interventions on the Cloth (carried out in proximity of the two exhibitions of 1998 and 2000, and now in the late spring of 2002) come to complete the new strategy of conservation: maintaining in these years the Shroud extended, it was in fact possible to contain the problem of the "folds", that wrinkled the cloth and made each movement or unrolling problematic.
"The last interventions - the Custodian still comments - were urgent and necessary because they contributed to remove from the Cloth impurities and residues, that could compromise in the time the preservation conditions, and damage the image legibility itself ". Obviously all the gathered material is not "dispersed", but it is catalogued and kept with care. For the Cardinal, in the next years this intervention will reveal all its "historical" utility, just because it will have contributed to give back the Shroud to the best possible keeping conditions, also in relationship to the technologies that science currently has. The work of preservation has nothing to do with the program of scientific researches on the Shroud; moreover, it is not planned any other radiocarbon test in order to verify the dating of the Sheet.
AVVENIRE - Saturday, August 10, 2002, page 7
The museum. - The Sheet, after having been survived to the frightful fire of 1997 is now kept in a special case. And in order to adequately protect the relic, they adopted the most modern systems of preservation and alarm.
Technology to defend the Cloth
It was of clear wood, studded with precious stones and enamels: set in the wood, they represented the instruments of the Lord's Passion: nails, hammer, Christ's garments, the crown of thorns.
Now the case that for centuries had contained the Cloth is in the museum of the Shroud, a few blocks away from that Chapel that had kept it for three centuries. A Chapel that is no more the same, too: the frightful fire of April 11, 1997 let the external walls and the dome stand, but inside there is still all the desolation of the rubble and covering fragments. The restoration works are still far from being completed. Since 1997 the Shroud has been kept "extended": around it, it was necessary to employ the most advanced technologies, both for the monitoring of the control and alarm systems, and for the case itself: a block of "virgin" aluminium, excavated without any welding, just to avoid any kind of contamination; on the block is placed a crystal "cover". During last hundred years the worries about the preservation have kept up with the increasing interest that the Shroud excited in the scientific world: from its first photography (1898), that revealed the fascination of the Face in its "negative-positive", around to the Cloth they carried out researches of any kind. And the scientific acquisitions brought also to discoveries of great value, like the ascertainment that the stains, visible on the body of the Crucified in orrespondence with the wounds at the hands, feet and side, are effectively of human blood; or like the researches on the pollens, that revealed the presence on the Shroud of botanical species localized in the Middle East two thousand years ago.
The result of the radiocarbon test, carried out in order to establish the "age" of the Shroud, and that indicated for the Cloth a medieval dating, remains much debated and contested.
ADNKRONOS Press Agency, August 10, 2002
Turin, August 10 (Adnkronos) - The Holy Sindone changes its 'face'. The restoration of the sheet has been completed, with the elimination of the thirty patches sewn by the Chambéry Clare nuns after the1532 fire in the Sainte Chapelle. The diocese of Turin, reports 'the Press', specifies that the intervention has been led in total agreement with the Holy See and on the basis of the indications emerged from the 2000 world-wide symposium.' The history of the restoration of what is thought to be Jesus' image began in March 2000, when 40 investigators from all over the world met in Turin and discussed about the problem of the Shroud preservation. The operation of the patches removal, begun last June 20 by the group coordinated by the Swiss textile expert Mechtild Flury-Leberg, became necessary to eliminate the tension between the cloth textures, in accordance with the 1998 previous study, which had led to the Shroud unrolling solution.. The Commission for the conservation, in fact, had established to guard the sheet extended instead of rolled up, just in order to avoid the folds damaging the sacred linen.
Until last July 22, the group of scholars worked on the Shroud, unravelling the patient and accurate darn, made by the French Clare nuns, who five centuries ago saved the cloth after the fire that on December 4, 1532 had burnt it in several areas. The Turinese daily paper says, for the Shroud restoration, the Vatican Secretariat of State has given its assent to the "quick procedure in virtue of the absolute trust the Cardinal Severino Poletto enjoys." In fact, the archbishop of Turin has guarded the sacred cloth since 1578, that is, since when the Duke Emanuele Filiberto carried it to this town.
In the meantime, the archbishop of Turin has declared that "in mid-September the intervention will be made known and documented photographically." However, a new exhibition, after the Jubilee year one, will not be possible before 2025 and, in that moment, the Shroud will show a different image, without the patches which covered its burns. (Rre/Pn/Adnkronos)
IL TEMPO - Sunday, August 11, 2002, page 15The Shroud is a "unique" object to be conserved in its integrity
by FRANCESCO SISINNI *
The NEWS of a most recent intervention on the Shroud, a relic that most of the scientific world thinks authentic and that all Christian believers in the world venerates as sacred, surprises and worries, all the more that such an intervention would have been allowed from those who, like the Church, with its famous edicts and its extraordinary Supervisors, has written fundamental pages in the history of protection. The news, just released, communicates that from the sheet, that would have wrapped the body of Jesus, deposed from the cross, would have been removed the thirty patches and the backing cloth, called of Holland, with which nearly five centuries ago they thought it right to patch it in the holes caused by the 1532 fire. The image and the suggestion that the news reawakens in our memory and conscience would induce to tell of that icy Turinese dawn, in which with the Cardinal Saldarini and some experts of the Ministry for the Cultural Inheritance decided to move the case containing the Shroud in a sure place for the period of the works in the Nineties, which also included the restoration of the Guarini Chapel or tell of those interesting conversations with Maria Gabriella of Savoy in the amiable convivial encounters at the Circle of the Hunting, flavored by the learned amphitryon Falcone Lucifero's Carducciana (translator's note: Giosuè Carducci was an Italian poet) lyric emphasis or, still, of the outcomes of the preparation and the participation to the International Symposium of Sindonology, promoted by the Lumsa, in Orvieto in 1999 or, finally and more simply, of the uncontrollable commotion always caused by the vision of those signs of martyrdom and death - and of death by cross.
However, here we just want to recall what has been learned and lived in so many years of study and experience, both in the theory and in the practical experience of the restoration, because the Shroud is a "document" of an extraordinary interest and an exceptional value, and that the Shroud is such a document is proved by the bi-millenarian memory, formed on that "testimony" committed to the tradition until the 13th century and to the history at least from 1300 up to today.
As one knows, it is just the tradition which narrates that that sheet, which "photographs" the dead Christ, was carried by Jesus' Apostles themselves to Edessa, where it would have been guarded by the king Abgar and from there it would have passed to Constantinople, to be venerated there in the Church of Blacherne, built for that purpose. The Shroud was brought to Athens, as a result of a theft, where it would have been stolen again and recovered.
From 1300 to 1453 - and this it is history - it belonged to the Charny family, who guarded it in the French village of Lirey. Bought by Ludovico of Savoy, it was guarded in Chambéry, in the Sainte Chapelle, where it endured the 1532 fire and was restored with the cloths, which would have been removed now. In 1587 Emanuele Filiberto carried the Shroud to Turin, where it has been kept since then in the Cathedral, since 1694, in the Guarini Chapel. In 1983 the exiled king Umberto II gave its possession to the Pope and since then the Bishop of Turin has been its custodian. In 1997 someone dared install some kitchens in a place contiguous to the Cathedral for a government lunch. From those kitchens the fire must have spread, which would have destroyed the sacred relic if a young fireman, risking his life, had not saved it.
Well, would this important object, on whose material and historical authenticity scholars from every part of the world have worked hard and, above all, in front of which millions of faithful from all over the world have kneeled down, have now undergone such a heavy intervention? And that in spite of the widespread convincement that the "do not touch," as far as the relics are concerned, is not dictated by a mere Conservatism, but by the consolidated culture of the protection, that admonishes us to have the due respect not only for the object in itself, but also for what the history has left on it, with signs which are testimonies to be conserved as well. For example, today who would dare remove the Renaissance and baroque integrations, and not only Bernini's famous ones, from the statues which have reached us mutilated from the Greek-Roman Classical Age? Nevertheless, those statues are not that "unique", that the Shroud is, instead. Sure, if the news of the intervention is founded, there must have been extremely serious reasons and therefore serious and urgent necessities to intervene. Therefore, a prompt information about it would be highly desirable, and so - to paraphrase Spadolini - we would tighten the Tiber once again.
* Cultural adviser of the Ministry of the Education in Aldo Moro's times, in 1974 collaborates with the Minister Giovanni Spadolini to the creation of the Ministry for the Cultural Inheritance and Environmental; he is its first National Council General Secretary and, then, its General Manager for 18 years. Appointed General Manager for the Defense of the Territory in the Ministry of the Public Labors, he is, then, appointed person in charge by the C.E.S. Office of Presidency for the protection of the Environment and is a member of some Commissions of Experts in the Higher Council of the Public Labors. He is the author of numerous essays and works. Main Councilman of the Society "Dante Alighieri" and Dante's House, Professor of Philosophy, History and History of the Arts in various Italian and foreign Universities, is a member of several national and international Academies and Cultural Institutes. He is the Director of the post-degree Improvement Course of Historical-artistic Studies of Gubbio. He is a member of the Orders of Knighthood of Malta, the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, Saint George and Saint Gregory and is Knight of Great Cross of the Order of the Italian Republic. He is a member of the Papal Commission for the Cultural Inheritage of the Church in the world. He is currently director of the Master in Historical-artistic Studies and Protection and Valorization of the cultural patrimony and environment at the LUMSA (Assumption University) of Rome.
IF YOU ARE STILL READING THIS, then you have learned that the Turin authorities have performed rather radical surgery on the Shroud. As no photographs were released, it is difficult to be certain exactly what has been done. There has been some confusion amongst sindonologists worldwide since the information released by the various Italian news services was rather sparse of any detail. Without question however, the thirty patches sewn into the cloth in 1534 to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire have been removed. Also removed was the backing cloth added at the same time as the patches, and usually referred to as the "Holland Cloth," although the first article on August 9 claimed that it had been "replaced."
As soon as the news broke, my telephone started to ring, and it did so continuously for the next three days. I spoke to at least a dozen noted sindonologists personally, and corresponded with many others via e-mail. There was a unanimous agreement that the dramatic interventions were "shocking" and "completely unexpected." I was hearing the collective gasp of sindonologists worldwide over my telephone.
Several of the newspaper articles implied that the subject of patch and Holland cloth removal had been addressed by the diverse group of experts that met in Turin at the invitation of the Centro and Archdiocese in March of 2000. Yet the published proceedings of that conference makes no mention of such a radical intervention. My first inclination was to think that it may have been discussed in smaller, more informal groups, but that was not the case, at least according to three of the American researchers who attended. They told me the subject had never been brought up, period.
Frankly, I could not find even one sindonologist (outside of the group that organized and performed the tests), who thought this was a good idea or could understand why such a major alteration of the venerated relic would even be permitted. There is no question that carbonized material from the edges of the repaired burn holes was loosened and trapped between the two cloths. This was a simple assumption considering the Shroud had been kept rolled on a dowel in a silver casket for hundreds of years and unrolled and rerolled scores of times over the centuries. (It is only since 1997 that it has been stored flat in a special case). Yet no papers or articles have been published anywhere that imply these loose particles, or the "problematic" creases mentioned in some of the press releases, were observed to cause any particular damage to the cloth. In fact, the creases in the Shroud continue to play an important role in the research done by historians attempting to trace the cloth's history. According to one expert I spoke with, "There is no way you can perform such a dramatic procedure on the Shroud without causing some lost or damaged data."
So where does that leave us? Well first, we have to remember that the work has been completed and is irreversible. And no amount of debate or recrimination can change that. For better or for worse, the deed is done and we will all have to live with the consequences. There are others, more qualified than me who might wish to say more, but I plan to do the only thing I can do and wait patiently, like the rest of the world, to see the results. What else can I say?
Posted August 16, 2002
Mark Antonacci Responds To Ray Rogers' Review of His Book
In October, 2001, I published an article titled, Comments on 'The Resurrection of the Shroud' by Mark Antonacci, a review of Mark's book submitted by former STURP team member, Ray Rogers. Ray had provided Mark with a copy of the review prior to submitting it to me, and I promised I would publish Mark's response once I received it.
When I received Mark's response, it was nearly 40 pages in length and unexpectedly included a somewhat modified version of the entire paper he presented at the Dallas Conference in late October. Normally, conference papers are only included on this website once the sponsors have had a reasonable opportunity to publish their written proceedings, and I gave those very same assurances verbally to the Dallas Conference organizers. Also, when conference papers are added, it is only to the Scientific Papers & Articles page, the Website Library page and the specific page of the website reserved for that particular conference.
Consequently, I only agreed to publish that portion of Mark's submission that included his specific responses to Ray's comments and was similar in length to the original review, in effect, giving Mark "equal time and space" on this site. I also agreed to create a link to the full paper on Mark's website. You can now read his specific responses to Ray's comments in an article titled, Mark Antonacci's Reply To Ray Rogers' Review of His Book on this website and the full paper Mark makes frequent references to on his website at www.resurrectionoftheshroud.com/Information/proposal11.html.
Posted February 21, 2002
Sindone Educational Gallery Sponsors Lectures
I am pleased to announce that the Sindone Educational Gallery in Stockton, California, is sponsoring their "2nd Shroud Conference" in the form of a lecture series on Sunday, March 3, 2002. I am honored to be one of the two speakers scheduled for the event and am proud to share the platform with Michael Hesemann, noted author, historian and lecturer from Germany. His topics will include "The Silent Witness of Golgatha, Relics of the Passion of our Lord," and "The Veronica."
My slide presentation will include an "Overview of the Shroud of Turin and a Behind the Scenes Look at the 1978 Scientific Examination of the Shroud." I'll also spend some time answering questions and meeting personally with the folks who attend. For more information, directions to the gallery, or to make reservations, visit the newly constructed Sindone Educational Gallery Website. I hope to meet some of you there.
Posted February 21, 2002
Shroud.com Celebrates 6th Anniversary!
I am very pleased to present this Sixth Anniversary Update of Shroud.com. I still find it hard to believe that six years have passed since the day I first put this site online on January 21, 1996. What started out as a simple plan to share some of my photographs of the Shroud with the public via the Internet has grown into the largest Shroud resource on the web. Simply amazing, and well beyond anything I could have imagined back in 1996.
In fact, the year 2001 was actually a banner year for the website, which received 4,429,000 hits from 364,631 visitors! Interestingly, over 778,000 of those hits were generated in the month of April alone, when the site had nearly 53,000 visitors and over 16 GB of bandwidth (we average around 30,000 visitors per month). And for anyone interested in the annual bandwidth generated by the site, it totalled over 89.2 GB in 2001. Since the site first went online, it has had visitors from 160 different countries.
Today's update isn't a large one, but it does include some important new information, as you will see below. It also afforded me the opportunity to finally correct or update many items that were submitted by viewers and accumulated over the last year. Unfortunately, these are too numerous to mention individually, but if you sent me an update, a correction or similar information, you should now find it included on the appropriate page of the site.
As I do every year, I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the site, be they researcher, scientist, artist, author or photographer. I particularly wish to thank those of you who continue to provide me with updated information, articles and links that help keep the site growing and up to date. Without your participation there would be no Shroud of Turin Website. Of course, the most important thank you goes to you, the website viewers, who support this site by continuing to come back. Thank you for helping make this website a success.
Editor & Publisher
Posted January 21, 2002
2nd International Dallas Shroud Conference Page Updated
I am happy to announce that the 2nd International Dallas Shroud Conference page of this website has been completed and is now included on the "Shroud Conferences & Symposia" page of the site. The page provides an overview of the conference, a complete listing of all of the speakers, the topics of each of their presentations and a photo of each presenter. Also included are more color photographs of the conference, a link to available audio cassettes of each speaker and a link to a CD Image disc that includes a PowerPoint® presentation and 92 photographs of the conference.
As I have done in the past with other Shroud conference pages, this page will also include some of the papers in their entirety, but not until after the printed proceedings are completed and made available by the conference organizers. Be sure to check this page again in the coming months.
Posted January 21, 2002
Comments From Our Viewers Page Updated
This is the first update of the "Comments From Our Viewers" page of this site in almost two years. It is not that I haven't received many letters from website viewers, the problem has been the sheer volume of those letters. I usually receive around 100 e-mails a day and there are so many good ones that it would never be possible to reprint them all.
Also, I hesitate to include many of the complimentary letters I receive since I do not wish to appear self-serving. I built this website to provide a broadly accessible resource of Shroud information to the public, not garner compliments for myself. However, as this is the sixth anniversary of the site, it seems appropriate to share with you a sampling of those letters that mean so very much to me. In many ways, they provide me with the daily source of inspiration that helps me overcome my frustrations when the work on the website becomes overwhelming and I feel like just quitting. In effect, they are the "payment" I receive for building and maintaining this site.
So I have updated the page with some of the best letters that I received in the last year or so and moved the earlier comments that appeared there to a new archive page titled, "Comments From Previous Years - 1996-2000". I hope you find the new letters as meaningful as I do.
Posted January 21, 2002
Links To More Information Updated
I am pleased to announce that I have added two new links to the Links To More Information page of the website. The first of these is to an article by George P. Hansen titled, "CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview" that takes an in-depth and somewhat critical look at the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), an organization that has been particularly vocal in publicly "debunking" the Shroud over the last ten or fifteen years. One of their most noted members and frequent media spokesman is Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow and former stage magician.
The second link is to the Shroud Man Website. This small but nicely done personal website produced by teacher Mark D. Williams, presents some interesting links, including a page about Byzantine icons and many color photographs. Notable are the large color images of the famous 1935 Ariel Aggemian portrait of Jesus based on the Shroud and the c550 AD Christ Pantocrator icon.
Posted January 21, 2002
Shroud Booklist and Bookstore Updated
Once again I extend my sincere thanks to Emanuela and Maurizio Marinelli of the Collegamento pro Sindone in Rome for their continued assistance is providing me with updated information for the Shroud Booklist page of this site. At least another ten titles have been added to the page thanks to their efforts. The list now contains well over 500 Shroud related books.
Also updated was the Bookstore In Association with Amazon.com, normally reached via the Website Store page of the website. This page provides synopses of a number of Shroud-related books, along with direct links to the appropriate pages on Amazon.com where they can be purchased. The most recent addition to the page is "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo" by Janice Bennett.
Posted January 21, 2002
Did You Place An Order In December?
On January 4, 2002, it came to my attention that there was a problem with the Secure Order Form on the Website Store page of the website. The problem was not security related, but had to do with an address change made by my service provider that caused several orders to be destroyed rather than being delivered to my mailbox. Fortunately, the problem was immediately corrected. This only occured on orders placed between December 25, 2001 and January 4, 2002, so if you placed an order on any of those dates and have not yet received it, please contact me by e-mail so I can check my records. There was no risk to your confidential information being compromised, it just didn't get through to my mailbox and was destroyed instead.
Should we determine that your order falls into this category and was not received, you will need to resubmit it via the Secure Order Form, or by telephone or fax. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Posted January 21, 2002
The next update to the site should go online sometime in the spring, prior to the Easter holiday. It will include another paper by Italian professional photographer Aldo Guerreschi that was originally presented at the "Sindone 2000" Orvieto Worldwide Conference held in August 2000. It will also include details about the upcoming Shroud conferences scheduled for later this year (April 2002 in Paris, France, and June 2002 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil) along with much more. Stay tuned...
Posted January 21, 2002
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