2007 Website News
These are the items that were included on the "Late Breaking Website News" page in 2007. 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 2007.
Last Website Update of 2007
Two New Papers Added To Scientific Papers & Articles Page
For several years I have been promising my friend Dr. Frederick Zugibe, noted forensic pathologist and Shroud expert, that I would publish on this website an interesting paper he wrote a number of years ago titled, The Jospice Mattress Cover Image. For those of you not familiar with it, the Jospice mattress cover image is the detailed imprint of a dead man that was left on his mattress after he died. Dr. Zugibe performed a hands on, scientific examination of the cover and the image that it bears. He then compared the mattress image to the image on the Shroud of Turin and wrote this paper to detail his observations and conclusions, but it was never published. I am happy to report that it is now accessible via both the Scientific Papers & Articles and the Shroud Library pages of the website and you can access it directly via the above link. There is another paper about the mattress, provided by Peter Carr and in Father O'Leary's own words, that has been on the site for a number of years. It is titled "The Imprint" and provides additional background on this fascinating object.
On another subject, I recently received an e-mail from my good friend Remi Van Haelst, a respected Shroud scholar well known to every serious Sindonologist. In his letter, Remi stated:
In my archives I found a paper which I forgot to publish. Is it possible to include it on your website? The "off the record" dates provided by Bottema are very important.I am always pleased to publish the work of credible scientists, so you will now find Remi's paper, titled, A Tantalizing Photograph Of Some Oxford Samples included on both the Scientific Papers & Articles and the Shroud Library pages of the site. The paper points out some interesting facts about the 1988 c14 dating samples. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to the kind input of highly observant website viewer Gian Marco Rinaldi, I discovered that this article originally appeared in 2001 on the Collegamento pro Sindone website, www.shroud.it. Thank you Gian for your valuable input).
Updated November 23, 2007
Posted November 21, 2007
Illustrations Added To Mechthild Flury-Lemberg Paper
In the last update (July 31, 2007). as part of the June 2007 Issue (#65) of the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, I included a paper by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg titled, The Invisible Mending of the Shroud in Theory and Reality. As always, I reprinted the text of the paper without the illustrations. However, many viewers wrote to me and urged me to obtain and publish them, since it is difficult to fully understand the text without seeing the necessary illustrations. Thanks to Mark Guscin, BSTS Newsletter Editor who kindly provided them to me, the illustrations can now be found on the website at this link: www.shroud.com/mechthild.htm. I have also included a link to the illustrations on the first page of the article itself. I want to thank all of you who wrote for sharing your thoughts and opinions with me.
Posted November 21, 2007
Website Search Engine Temporarily Out Of Service
I am sad to announce that as I write this, the Website Search Engine (accessible via the Main Menu and Website Library pages), is temporarily out of service. The company that provides the search engine, SiteLevel WhatUSeek, recently had a catastrophic hardware crash and is working diligently to restore the service. I first noticed that the search engine was not functioning on November 14, 2007. In all fairness, in the ten years I have used them for this website, this is the first time there has been any interruption of service. I ask that all of you be patient as the company assures me the service will be restored shortly. I personally rely on the Website Search Engine constantly, so I miss it as much as you do! (EDITOR'S NOTE: I was thrilled to find that the search engine was back and fully operational again only hours after I posted this update).
Updated November 23, 2007
Posted November 21, 2007
Shroud of Turin Backlit DuraTrans Transparencies
As any of you know who have ever visited one of the many Shroud Centers around the world that display my lifesize, backlit DuraTrans transparencies, these particular images of the Shroud are the most detailed and breathtaking available. One of the main reasons for their popularity is that they have a 400% greater dynamic range than a normal photographic print, and consequently, allow the viewer to see dramatically more depth and detail in the image. This makes for an excellent experience for the visitors to the various Shroud centers, but there was never a simple way to make these available directly to individuals. I could provide the custom made transparencies, but the purchaser then had to construct (or have constructed) a custom lightbox that would provide even backlighting for proper display of the transparency. This was always a costly and difficult proposition, since the lightboxes had to be rather deep and large to be effective.
Fortunately, technology has caught up with the need, thanks to a Ph.D. optical physicist named Ed Sinofsky. Ed mastered fiber optics working within the medical profession and then applied his knowledge to the creation of a new product, PhotoGlow® Frames and a new company, PhotoGlow®. These have the outward appearance of standard photographic frames (they are only 13/16" thick, with a 2" matte, solid metal frame and non-glare PlexiGlas), but they include a patented, truly innovative, integrated backlighting system with a dimmer that allows you to control the brightness of the extremely even display. In fact, once you unpack the frame, you simply attach your own wire, hang it up and plug it in.
This year, through the good graces of my friend and website viewer Louis Juarez, I found out about PhotoGlow® frames. Truthfully, Louis had been after me for several years to try and find a means of making smaller DuraTrans transparencies available on a broader basis, but the logistical problems of the backlighting always made that impossible. However, once I found out about PhotoGlow® frames, I contacted Ed Sinofsky immediately and we created several prototypes.
I selected two different high resolution digital files of the Shroud and had custom DuraTrans transparencies made of each. These then went to Ed's factory, where they were mounted in custom made PhotoGlow® frames. The results were nothing short of spectacular and I realized that I could finally make these amazing images available to the public. And that is what you will find when you visit the Website Store page, where I have included more information and larger photos. Of course, now my biggest frustration is that the photographs I am including do not even come close to capturing the effect of seeing one of the actual backlit transparencies with your own eyes! I think you will find these as amazing as I do!
Backlit DuraTrans Transparencies of the Shroud in PhotoGlow® Frames
(Click On Above Image For More Information and Larger Photos)
Please note that for Christmas delivery, U.S. orders via the Website Store page must be placed by December 10, 2007 and overseas orders must be placed by December 1, 2007.
Posted November 21, 2007
Man In Sepia Limited Edition Print Discontinued
Sadly, the Man In Sepia Limited Edition prints I have been offering on the Website Store for the past nine years are no longer available and the edition is officially closed. The special canvas I was using for the prints was discontinued by the manufacturer, and after months of testing different materials, I found nothing even close as a replacement. Rather than compromise the quality of future prints, I decided to close the edition when the last of my existing inventory was sold. Although the original intent was to make a maximum of 500 prints, the edition ended with Serial #197. I want to thank all of you who obtained prints from me over the years. Your patronage supported this website and helped keep it free of any advertising.
Updated November 30, 2007
Posted November 21, 2007
Shroud of Turin Booklist Updated
Another dozen books have been added to the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this site, thanks mostly to my dear friend Emanuela Marinelli in Rome. As regular visitors already know, Emanuela continues to be the prime contributor to the list and sends me updates several times each year. Of course, there are many others who have contributed to the booklist and you will find them credited at the top of the Booklist page. The combined efforts of all of these contributors has resulted in a comprehensive list of well over one thousand titles and an important internet tool for Shroud historians and researchers. My thanks to all of the contributors for their continued dedication and participation.
Posted November 21, 2007
In Memoriam - Professor Luigi Gonella
Professor Luigi Gonella (right) discusses the Shroud with the late
Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero, Archbishop of Turin, during the 1978 testing
I am deeply saddened to announce the passing on August 8, 2007 of Professor Luigi Gonella. Professor Gonella was the Scientific Advisor to the Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero, from 1978 to 1989, including throughout the infamous carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988. He played a significant role before, during and after the STURP scientific examination in 1978 and acted as a critical liason between the STURP team, the Italian researchers and the custodians of the Shroud. He was frustrated by the c14 dating results and initially disputed their conclusions, but later came to publicly accept them as correct. Sadly, I do not have the details of his obituary, but I extend my deepest regrets and sympathies to his family and friends. His contributions to Shroud science have reserved an important place for him in Shroud history.
Posted November 21, 2007
Next Update Will Mark 12th Anniversary of Shroud.com
This will be the last update of 2007, and it is much smaller than I had hoped. I originally planned to include feature articles about the Shroud of Turin Exhibit currently underway in the Philippines and the new, permanent Shroud Exhibit in Jerusalem, but I have run out of time so those stories will have to wait until the next update. It has been a busy year for me and I have not had as much time as I would have liked to add new (or backlogged) content to the site. In part, this was due to my extensive travel schedule over the last four months, but I have also been busy with video production work from several of my clients. Consequently, some of you have had to wait patiently for your work or articles to appear online. And some of you are still waiting, so I offer you my sincere apologies. As you know, I do all of the website work by myself, without any staff, and there never seems to be enough time to include everything I have accumulated since the last update. I guess I am destined to have a permanent backlog! Still, I will do my best to improve my record next year.
Speaking of next year, watch for the next website update on January 21, 2008, which also marks the 12th Anniversary of Shroud.com. In the meantime, let me take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued participation and support. I wish all of you a joyous Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2008!
Posted November 21, 2007
A Guide to the July 31, 2007 Update
As many of you know, the past year has been one of change for me, as I moved my home and business from California to Colorado. This took so much of my time that the past few website updates have been somewhat abbreviated. I am finally catching up, and this update is undoubtedly the largest I have done in more than a year. In fact, there are so many news items that I am including a guide to make it easier to find your way through all the new information. Just click on the following links to go directly to that particular article:
- A Review of the Recent National Geographic Channel Documentary
- New Papers Added to Scientific Papers & Articles Page
- Shroud of Turin Booklist Updated
- British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) June 2007 Newsletter Added
- Ohio Conference Call For Papers Now Available
- In Memoriam - Sad Losses In The World of Sindonology
- Miniature Shroud Replica On Cotton Now Available
- Shroud Exhibit Opens In the Philippine Islands
- A Personal Review of the II International Congress of the Sudarium
- Shroud Conferences & Symposia Page Update Postponed
- The Shroud Report - Online Streaming Video Interviews With Shroud Experts
- New Shroud Books and Book Reviews
- BBC Commissions New Shroud Film
- Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List
- The Next Update
(Editor's Note: On July 22, 2007, the hard drive crashed on one of my primary computers. I am still trying to recover lost data and restore the new drive to its former state. However, some data necessary for this update remains lost as I write this. The lost data included information on several Shroud conferences and a number of recently released Shroud books. I am doing my best to recover the data before this update goes online and I apologize to those of you who might be affected by this loss. I will include any omitted information as soon as it is recovered).
A Review of the Recent National Geographic Channel Documentary
First, I would like to thank all of you who wrote or called me after seeing the program. I truly appreciate hearing your comments and your individual points of view. I am also sorry that it is simply impossible for me to respond to every e-mail I receive.
When I was first asked to appear in a television documentary about the Shroud of Turin, sometime in 1996, I was very insecure about taking a public stand on the Shroud and wondered if I should do it at all. Somewhat ironically, since I am Jewish, I consulted with a Catholic priest who was a close friend of mine and asked his opinion on my participating in the program. He urged me to participate and wisely pointed out that the program's producers would undoubtedly get someone to speak on camera if I didn't, and it might be someone far less knowledgeable than I was on the subject. That seemed like good advice, and I have appeared in many documentaries on the Shroud since. Some have been good ones, treating the subject with dignity and presenting both sides of the issues fairly, while others have chosen to create programs promoting a very specific (and not necessarily balanced) point of view. Sadly, the quality of all Shroud documentaries has dramatically declined in recent years, and I have become less and less satisfied with the results. Of course, when you appear in these programs, they tape each interview separately and edit everything together later. Thus, they can carefully pick and choose the statements that fit the direction they wish to take their program, even if those statements are out of context. As the one being interviewed, you are solely at the mercy of the producers and the editor.
Consequently, I did not have the highest expectations for the National Geographic Channel program, "Is It Real? Secrets of the Shroud," that premiered on July 23, 2007. As the program progressed through the first 35 or 40 minutes, there were some minor errors (the date of the most recent fire in Turin was 1997, not 1992), but I was somewhat encouraged, since it seemed that both sides of the issue were being dealt with in a fair and reasonable manner. However, when they came to the discussion of the potential error in the c14 dating due to reweaving (the ONLY theory supported by peer reviewed scientific data), they allowed one of the skeptics to simply dismiss the entire idea as "nonsense" with a wave of his hand and a smile on his face. They failed to even mention the work of the late Ray Rogers, whose paper (published in 2005 in the prestigious journal Thermochimica Acta), provided the hard scientific evidence that the sample used to date the Shroud in 1988 was anomalous and the subsequent c14 dating was in error. This critical omission came as a great surprise to me, since I spent more than an hour during the taping discussing the importance of Rogers and his work. I fully expected they would at least mention Rogers, but hoped for much more and even made footage of Ray himself available to the producers for inclusion in the program if they wanted to have him explain his work in his own words. To my great disappointment, they simply chose to ignore this critical evidence and dismiss it with a demeaning wave of the hand. It was at this point that the entire program made a hard turn in a very different direction.
For the remaining twenty minutes of the program, they stayed on a single theme, a theory often referred to as the "swoon theory," and one that has actually been around for centuries. That theory proposes that Jesus was not actually dead and was rescued from the tomb sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning. At the end of every statement from Holger Kersten, the person promoting this theory, I fully expected to see a response by Dr. Frederick Zugibe, the noted forensic pathologist who had appeared earlier in the program. And yet, that never happened. They just allowed Kersten to go on and on about how the Shroud proves the man was alive, not dead! Never mind that every qualified medical and forensic expert ever to study the Shroud has agreed that there is post-mortem blood on the cloth and signs of rigor mortis, all credible and convincing evidence that the man was dead. It was Dr. Zugibe himself who concluded from his study of the Shroud as a crime scene, that the man depicted was so badly beaten, scourged, crucified and speared that he died from multiple types of shock. Kersten defended his position by claiming that dead bodies cannot bleed, even though Zugibe (with over 20,000 autopsies in his career), has published time lapse photographs of a cadaver on his autopsy table continuing to ooze blood over a period of many hours. Sadly, the producers missed a perfect opportunity to remain fair and give the viewer a credible response to this weatherworn theory by having a noted expert like Dr. Zugibe, who was already appearing in the program, respond and rebut Kersten's claims. There certainly was ample time for a rebuttal. But no, that is not what was done. Instead, they dedicated a full third of their program to this one theory that has long ago been dispelled by the evidence on the Shroud itself! And no rebuttal was ever forthcoming. They simply ended the segment by having the narrator state that very few people accepted Kersten's theory. I doubt that many viewers even noticed.
So in the end, what started out as a reasonably fair and balanced debate about the Shroud of Turin, finished with a resounding thud in a final segment that seemed to be much less about the Shroud and much more about disputing the entire basis of Christianity! Too bad that they didn't save that debate for another program and finish on the same level that they started on. Unfortunately, the best rating I can give this program is a meager 55%, which in my experience is considered a failing grade. Let me repeat what I have said so many times in the past. If you are interested in accurate information about the Shroud of Turin, the best place to go is the actual science. Remember that the primary purpose of television, including documentaries, is entertainment, and standards of accuracy are neither imposed nor even required. In other words, they can say anything they want to, even if it is completely incorrect or biased. The same is true of commercial books, and sadly, even websites. If one is honestly interested in the truth, one must be careful to choose truly reliable sources. Sadly, I am more and more convinced that television won't be one of them.
Posted July 31, 2007
New Papers Added to Scientific Papers & Articles Page
In this update I am finally bringing two, long overdue articles to the Scientific Papers & Articles page of the site. I say they are overdue because the first article was submitted to me more than a year ago, in the midst of my move to Colorado, and I had to ask the authors to wait until I had more time available to consider it properly. They graciously agreed and now, more than a year later, I am finally publishing their work. The article is titled, "Model Experiments and Remarks on the Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin" and was written by five Hungarian researchers, T. Szarvas, A. Kovács, L. Legeza, L. Víz and V. Lieskovsky.
One of the critical issues that confronted me in considering this paper for publication was the fact that it was far beyond my own areas of expertise. I knew that I would need to obtain some form of peer review to ensure that the content was credible. I chose noted archaeologist and Shroud researcher William Meacham to provide me with a preliminary review of the article along with his opinions and/or criticisms. His comments were very positive (he concluded that, "they make what appears to be a good argument") and he offered a number of recommendations, but he also felt that some of the chemistry was beyond his expertise and suggested that I submit the paper to a chemist for additional review.
I then contacted Dr. Frank Cheng, analytical chemist and Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Idaho, to see if he would be interested in reviewing the paper for me. Dr. Cheng is also a member of the Yahoo ShroudScience Group (which is how I met him) and he graciously agreed to help. He completed his evaluation and made a number of specific recommendations to the authors, who were very responsive and addressed each of his suggestions, along with those of Meacham. The result is the paper I am including today, about which Dr. Cheng wrote, "I think that the authors make a good and thoughtful case for various routes of c-14 enrichment of the Turin Shroud." The paper is quite technical, but potentially important according to the reviewers. I will leave the final evaluation to those researchers with a far more qualified perspective than mine. Here is a brief quote from the introduction that will give you some sense of the content:
"...we decided to carry out experiments using linen samples of the present age to study those physical, chemical and microbiological effects which could have affected the Shroud during proven historical events. These investigations have been performed by using the 14C tracer method."
The second new article in this update is by previous website contributor Rich Sorensen and is titled, "Summary of Challenges to the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin." There are a multitude of references in this excellent article and almost 70 of them are linked directly to the online paper or article being referenced. I received this article in January 2007, but it arrived too late to be included in the 11th anniversary update, so Rich has waited over six months to see it go online. Many of you will remember his article of two years ago titled, "Answering the Savoy/Leonardo DaVinci Hypothesis," in which he carefully addressed this infamous theory in great detail. Rich is a software engineer with an inate ability to take a complex topic and synthesize it into a simple and clearly understandable narrative. Here is a quote from the introduction of the new article:Because challenges to the Shroud have been made and refuted in many forums, an interested reader must search in a number of places to find the desired information. The purpose of this paper is not to present any new theories or evidence, but rather to gather all of the known challenges to the Shroud’s authenticity along with answers to each challenge. These will be stated in summary form, and in (hopefully) clear English for a non-technical audience. References are also provided so that such a reader can easily investigate each issue in more detail.
The third new paper comes to the website by way of the June 2007 issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter. As you know, I regularly reprint each issue of the newsletter on this site and the newest issue features the II International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo, that was held in Oviedo, Spain, on April 13 - 15, 2007. It also included the entire article presented at the congress by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg titled, "The Invisible Mending of the Shroud in Theory and Reality."
The article challenges the conclusions of Ray Rogers, Joe Marino and Sue Benford, who determined that the area selected for carbon dating in 1988 was patched or rewoven, anomalous and not representative of the main Shroud cloth. Rogers' work was published in a highly regarded, peer-reviewed scientific journal in 2005 and remains the primary paper in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that seriously challenges the c14 dating results. You can read more about this in detail on the 2005 Website News page.
In a recent personal correspondence, Benford and Marino reported to me that recently discovered information regarding the capabilities of 16th century artisans to invisibly mend or alter a woven fabric so that it was also undetectable on the reverse side of the cloth (the sole argument Flury-Lemberg presents against their patch theory), will be submitted to the upcoming Shroud of Turin conference to be held in Columbus, Ohio, in August 2008. (See notice below).
Posted July 31, 2007
Shroud of Turin Booklist Updated
Another seventeen books have been added to the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this site, thanks to my dear friend Emanuela Marinelli in Rome. As regular visitors already know, Emanuela continues to be the prime contributor to the list and sends me updates several times each year. Of course, there are many others who have contributed to the booklist over the years, and you will find them credited at the top of the Booklist page. The combined efforts of all of these contributors has resulted in a comprehensive list of more than one thousand titles and an important internet tool for historians and researchers. My thanks to all of the contributors for their continued dedication and participation.
Posted July 31, 2007
British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) June 2007 Newsletter Added
The British Society for the Turin Shroud page has been updated to include the text of the most recent issue (June 2007, No. 65) of the BSTS Newsletter. As regular website viewers already know, the newsletters always include relevant articles, book reviews, news from Italy and much more. Newsletter editor Mark Guscin (www.markguscin.com) also includes a full color, high quality photographic feature in each issue, (although I typically reprint a text only version on this website).
The bulk of BSTS No. 65 is devoted to the II International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo, that was held in Oviedo, Spain, on April 13 - 15, 2007 (and covered elsewhere in this update), and particularly to the article presented at the congress by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg titled, "The Invisible Mending of the Shroud in Theory and Reality," (which I discussed in the New Scientific Papers & Articles notice above). Also included is a brief interview with Flury-Lemberg, three book reviews, a full report on the Congress and more.
For those of you who might be interested in a membership in the BSTS (which includes a subscription to two printed issues of the Newsletter per year) see the printable BSTS Membership Application for details. The newsletter is published semi-annually, usually in June and December, and the text is reprinted on this website in the Acrobat PDF format, but typically without the photographs or illustrations.
Posted July 31, 2007
Ohio Conference Call For Papers Now Available
As I reported in January (click here), the Yahoo Shroud Science Group has organized an international Shroud Conference titled, The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma, to be held in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. on August 14 - 17, 2008. Event coordinator Joseph Marino has now provided an Acrobat pdf format file - Ohio Call For Papers - (which you can easily download or print out), that includes detailed submission, length and language requirements and important deadlines. Qualified researchers and authors should respond promptly as this is likely to be a well attended event. For further information and conference updates, see: http://shroud.wikispaces.com/ohioshroudconference+2008.
Posted July 31, 2007
In Memoriam - Sad Losses In The World of Sindonology
This is always the hardest kind of news for me to deliver. I am sad to report the recent passing of four important people in the world of Sindonology. Some names are recognizable and others may be less so, but all made an important contribution to furthering the study of the Shroud. I am deeply grateful to Emanuela Marinelli for providing me with the information on two of our colleagues who passed away in Italy.
Don Luigi Fossati, SDB (1920-2007)
After 60 years of priesthood, Don Luigi Fossati, a keen scholar of the Shroud, died at the age of 87 on April 11, 2007 (exactly ten years after the fire of the Guarini Chapel, that put the integrity of the Shroud in serious danger). With his loss, another important forerunner of modern sindonology disappears. Learning this news, Card. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, answering to a friend of don Luigi’s, has written: “... I keep of him a vivid memory of dedication and sacerdotal charity”.
He was born in 1920 in Turin, a city for which he felt a particular affection, above all because in Turin the Holy Shroud has been kept for more than four centuries, and he saw its exhibitions in 1931 and 1933. In 1947 he was ordained priest by Card. Maurilio Fossati. In that period he already cultivated Shroud interests and in that year he gave a lecture on the Shroud to the brethren of the theological studentship of Bollengo. He was the first author of film-strips on the Shroud that he prepared with care in 1950 in order to spread the knowledge among young people.
As early as 1961, we find his first important historical study with the title La Santa Sindone. Nuova luce su antichi documenti (The Holy Shroud. New light on ancient documents), in which he published some original documents of the Vatican Register, never made public before. This contribution of his gave new explanations on the reasons of Pierre d’Arcis’ Memorial (used by the adversaries of the Shroud authenticity). Even in the last years of his life, don Luigi, if asked on such a topic, clearly confirmed that it was a disciplinary attitude by the bishop of Troyes, that still today does not have any scientific value (in fact, the bishop never saw the Shroud). The reason of the bishop’s aversion towards the Shroud was because the canons of Lirey showed it to the pilgrims, collecting huge alms, without asking him any authorization. Therefore, it was wrong to state that a bishop of the Middle Ages had already said that it was a false relic. Don Luigi Fossati explained and defended this idea in numerous articles published in the following years. A typical example of these contributions was published in 1969 on the “Rivista di Pedagogia e Scienze Religiose” (“Review of Education and Religious Sciences”) entitled Fatti e documenti del secolo XIV sulla Santa Sindone (Facts and documents of 14th century on the Holy Shroud) (Year VII n. 2, Turin, May/August 1969).
In 1968, in collaboration with Mgr. Piero Coero Borga, then the secretary of the International Center of Sindonology and chaplain of the Confraternity of the Holy Shroud, he edited Conversazioni e discussioni sulla Santa Sindone (Conversations and discussions on the Holy Shroud). Three years later, the LDC published the Enciclopedia della Bibbia (Encyclopedia of the Bible), entrusting don Luigi with the “Shroud” entry (for the history section).
In the volume Osservazioni alle perizie ufficiali sulla Santa Sindone 1969 – 1976 (Observations on the official valuations on the Holy Shroud 1969 – 1976), he made shrewd considerations on the results presented by the experts appointed by Card. Michele Pellegrino.
On the occasion of the 1978 exhibition, he published Breve saggio critico di bibliografia e di informazione sulla Sacra Sindone (Short critical essay of bibliography and information on the Holy Shroud), continuing the already imposing work undertaken by Dervieux, in which he listed and described the main publications issued between the First National Conference of Studies (1939) and the Second International Conference (1978).
In 1981 another publication of his was issued on one of the protagonists of the vicissitudes linked to the first photographs of the Shroud taken in 1898: Don Natale Noguier de Malijay, studioso della Sindone (Don Natale Noguier de Malijay, scholar of the Shroud); a Salesian priest, a physics and chemistry teacher at the High School “Valsalice”, who through the baron Manno obtained from Umberto I the permission to photograph the Shroud for the first time. As everybody knows, an expert, the lawyer Secondo Pia, was entrusted with the picture taking.
Beyond contributing to several reviews, he also contributed to the reviews that specialized in the Shroud, such as Sindon and Collegamento pro Sindone, above all on the topic of the existing full-size copies in Italy, on the comparison with the original and their documentary value. Even on this matter, don Luigi’s ideas were clear: answering to those who thought that in the last centuries there had been numerous shrouds in the European churches, he confirmed, with well-grounded arguments, than no copy was in competition with the original.
On the occasion of the 2000 Jubilee and Exhibition (at the venerable age of eighty), he introduced to the public his last work La Sacra Sindone. Storia documentation di una secular venerazione (The Holy Shroud. Documented history of a centuries-old veneration). The book has a preface by Card. Tarcisio Bertone, then the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and emeritus archbishop of Vercelli.
In 2001 he published his last article on Collegamento pro Sindone Internet, regarding the existing full-size copies in Italy, of which he was the greatest expert.
Until some years ago, when his sight still allowed him to do it, don Luigi was working to research the full size Shroud copies realized during the last centuries. As his health allowed, he followed with a great interest, even if at a distance, the vicissitudes of the Shroud: the 1997 fire, the two last exhibitions in 1998 and 2000, the symposium of Villa Gualino and the other Shroud conferences, the digital recordings, the new publications, the 2002 intervention, etc. He was in phone contact with people engaged in the Shroud world and promptly asked to have a copy of the last issued publication in order to have it read by his brother don Gianni, who also lived in the Salesian House of San Benigno Canavese (Turin).
Following numerous other Salesians, don Luigi Fossati dedicated time and talent to the spreading of the Shroud culture in order to show to which point God’s love has arrived, allowing the exalting of the Christian value of the Shroud, which is rightly defined the “Fifth Gospel”. His long and tireless Salesian activity among the young people and the acceptance of God’s plans demonstrated that don Luigi was a true son of don Bosco, but he was also a true sindonologist, who does not remain limited to the pure scientific research, but goes more deeply until dipping himself in the mystery of the Passion of Christ.
(Editor's Note: One can easily see the contributions made by don Fossati by looking at the Shroud of Turin Booklist and the large number of books to his credit).
Orazio Petrosillo (1947-2007)
On May 11, 2007, after an illness of nearly 10 months, Orazio Petrosillo passed away at the age of 60. Last summer he was taken ill in Valle d'Aosta (Italy), where he was following the Pope's vacation as a Vatican correspondent for Il Messaggero (a major Rome newspaper).
He was from Monopoli (Bari). He got a degree in Theology at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana and graduated in Philosophy at La Sapienza University of Rome. A practicing Catholic, he was married and had two daughters. He had covered religious information since 1975. Since 1980 he had been following papal travels in Italy and since 1983 also those abroad. Before arriving at Il Messaggero, he had worked for Il Tempo and Ansa. A distinguished name in the weekly Il Nostra Tempo, he had also been writing for the Catholic newspaper Avvenire. Countless other newspapers and magazines have published his skilful articles, always to the point, incisive, well-grounded. He has numerous scoops to his credit, many of which have gone around the world.
He was always kind and affable and everybody was struck by his discretion and essentiality. He was appreciated by the colleagues for his generosity and availability, his professional competence and culture, for his extraordinary memory and his humour. Among his numerous assignments, he was also the President of the Association Aiuto alla Chiesa che soffre (Aid to the suffering Church) and was a teacher at the CICS, Centro Interdisciplinare sulla Comunicazione Sociale della Pontificia Università Gregoriana (Interdisciplinary Center on Social Communication of the Pontifical University Gregoriana). He gave lectures and lessons in various universities, both in Italy and abroad.
A regular guest in television programs dealing with religious topics, his contributions always demonstrated his specific competence. He had also become a familiar face to the general public, above all on the occasion of Pope John Paul II's death. On RaiUno he was also the host of the TV programs Parola e Vita (Word and Life) and Settimo Giorno (The Seventh Day).
Among his books, we must remember Città del Vaticano (Vatican City) (Musei Vaticani 1998), Canto alla Madre di Dio (Song to the Mother of God) (San Paolo 1999), La città di Pietro (The city of Peter) (Musei Vaticani 2002), Vangelo in cronaca (Gospel in report) (San Paolo 2004) and the biographies of Giacomo Cusmano and Ludovico Necchi.
A keen lover of the Shroud for more than 30 years, he wrote two books with Emanuela Marinelli, La Sindone, un enigma alla prova della Scienza (The Shroud, an enigma to the test of Science) (Rizzoli 1990), translated into several languages, and La Sindone, storia di un enigma (The Shroud, history of an enigma) (Rizzoli 1998). On the occasion of the 1998 Shroud Exhibition, his meditations were published in, La Sindone da contemplare (The Shroud to be contemplated) (Elledici 1998). He participated in several study conferences and has given countless lectures on the Shroud, in every part of Italy and abroad. His many articles, written on the occasion of the main events in which the venerated Relic was a protagonist, were known to all.
His passing away leaves a gap that cannot be filled, both in the world of journalism and in sindonology. Our only comfort is the certainty that now, in the Glory of God, he contemplates that luminous Face that he has so much loved.
(Editor's Note: It should be mentioned that one of Orazio's most notable contributions (and scoops) was made in 2002, when he was the first person to break the story of the secret "restoration" of the Shroud, thus compelling the Turin authorities to publicly acknowledge the intervention for the first time).
In a recent e-mail to Prof. Giulio Fanti, Luciano Razzauti, secretary of Giovanni Novelli, noted Shroud researcher and author, sent the following message:With extreme pain, I feel the duty to inform you of the passing of our beloved friend Giovanni Novelli, who passed away yesterday after a short but inexorable illness. United in prayer we ask that you also give the news to the studious friends of the Sindone.(Editor's Note: I tried to get more information and Prof. Novelli's full obituary but many people are on holiday in Italy and sadly, I was unable to get the information in time for this update. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends).
With deep esteem,
The following information is courtesy of Fr. Fred Brinkmann and was posted to the Yahoo Shroud Science Group recently:
It is my sad duty to inform the group of the passing of one of the great "behind the scenes" persons of Holy Shroud Ministry named Marcia Mascia. She was best known as Fr. Peter Rinaldi's secretary, but she was one of the great organizers of the Holy Shroud Guild during the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. She was buried last Thursday, June 28 at Corpus Christi Church. Your prayers for her and her family will be appreciated. I have included the eulogy delivered by her nephew, Paul. As she always said, "Ciao for now!" - Fr. Fred Brinkmann
Here is an excerpt from her nephew's eulogy:
... I would be negligent if I did not mention the innumerable hours that Marcia volunteered in helping with the Holy Shroud Guild. I think part of the reason for her involvement was to assist Father Rinaldi, a longtime family friend, with his project to subject the cloth to rigorous scientific high-tech testing. But I suspect that, on a deeper level, the real reason was that one day Marcia looked upon the nobility of the face of the Man of Sorrows on the Shroud, and was captured by it. I think she recognized in this face the genuine beauty and dignity of the face of Christ. She knew Him - not as myth, not as a childhood fairy tale, but as a living person. There is a life-size photographic negative of the shroud in this Church in the chapel over there which is worth taking a look at, if you have a moment, and the crucifix in this Church is a replica of the shroud image. She wanted others to encounter this same Christ, and she did this by promoting information about the shroud. She spent years of her life in this specific endeavor.
(Editor's Note: The Corpus Christ Church was the parish of the late Fr. Peter Rinaldi of the Holy Shroud Guild. Fr. Rinaldi was critically important in providing guidance and liaison between the STURP team and the Turin custodians of the Shroud in 1978).
Posted July 31, 2007
Miniature Shroud Replica On Cotton Now Available
"Miniature Shroud Replica" on Cotton (Image Approx. 40" x 10")
In early 2005, I had a lifesize replica of the Shroud of Turin created on cotton cloth by a fine art printer. It was produced from a 400MB digital file made from high resolution scans of my original 1978 4" x 5" transparencies. This lifesize replica on cotton became the centerpiece of a Shroud Photographic Exhibit first presented in Auckland, New Zealand, in May of 2005 and now on display in the Philippines. (You can read about and see photographs of the Auckland exhibit on the 2005 Website News page and read more about the Philippine exhibit below). During the five months in which the fine art printer and I tested various cloth materials and adjusted the color and density of the image, we also made countless test prints of various portions of the Shroud. At one point in the process, we reduced the image size and printed the entire Shroud across the 42" width of the cloth.
I quickly set aside two samples of this "miniature" replica and have kept them in my personal collection since that time. Whenever I showed them to fellow sindonologists they all wanted to have one, but at the time they were somewhat difficult to make and none were readily available. I am pleased to announce that I now have a reliable source that will custom produce these for me at a modest but constant rate, so I am making them available for the first time on the Website Store page of this site. Please note that the photo above of one of the actual miniature replicas does not really capture the true quality of the image. The highly detailed image is printed with a wide platen professional inkjet printer onto special cotton material using archival dyes for long life. This is the exact same material and process used for the original lifesize replica. The image itself is approximately 40" x 10" with a white border making it suitable for (custom) framing. I have also signed each print in the lower right hand corner. These are identical to the lifesize New Zealand/Philippine exhibit replica in every way except size.
Posted July 31, 2007
Shroud Exhibit Opens In the Philippine Islands
I am very pleased to announce that the international Shroud exhibit that premiered in Auckland, New Zealand, in May 2005 has continued its journey and opened in the Philippine Islands on July 20, 2007. For the first time in the Philippines, and the first time in Asia, the organization I am working with, Shroud Exhibits International, Inc., presents the Philippine Exhibition of The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin. The exhibit opened on July 20 in the city of Pampanga. It will next be taken to the Mall of Asia in the city of Manila from Sept. 8 to Dec. 9; Davao from Jan. 18 to Feb. 3, 2008; and the city of Cebu from April 4-27, 2008.
The exhibit has been endorsed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, and for the benefit of the Sisters of the Holy Face Congregation, The Holy One of the Lord Catholic Foundation, Inc., and the Diocese of Parañaque. It incorporates more than 80 of my photographs, including lifesize backlit transparencies of the Shroud and a lifesize replica on cloth that was the centerpiece of the Auckland exhibit.
I am even happier to announce that I am leaving for Manila at the end of August to participate in the opening of the exhibit at the Mall of Asia on September 8, 2007. I still do not have a detailed schedule of events, but will probably appear on Philippine radio and television to answer questions and promote the opening. I understand that this is the largest mall in Asia, so the exhibit should enjoy a large number of visitors. In fact, I look forward to spending time at the exhibit once it opens and meeting many of my Filipino friends. Some of the most recent information I had about the exhibit was lost in my latest hard drive crash, but I did recover a few items and am including this link to excerpts from several Philippine newspaper articles with more details about the exhibit.
Posted July 31, 2007
A Personal Review of the II International Congress of the Sudarium
I am grateful to author Joanna Emery for writing a special report on the recent II International Congress of the Sudarium exclusively for this website. Titled, Pilgrimage to Oviedo: A Personal Review of the II International Congress of the Sudarium, the article shares with us Joanna's moving personal and spiritual perspectives on seeing the Sudarium for the first time. In addition, she provides us with another excellent overview of the conference from her own personal point of view, including the papers that were presented, the researchers who spoke and her overall impressions of the event.
Posted July 31, 2007
Shroud Conferences & Symposia Page Update Postponed
I originally planned to update the Shroud Conferences & Symposia page of the site to include all of the major Shroud conferences that took place during 2006 and 2007 (including conferences in France, Italy and Spain). However, I lost all of that data when my hard drive crashed recently and lost even more valuable time in replacing the drive and restoring what data I could. Consequently, I was unable to update this page as I had planned, but will make it a top priority for the next update, sometime before Christmas. That should also give me the additional time necessary to recover the lost data. A word of advice and a lesson learned: back up everything on your hard drive more often than once every 10 months!
Posted July 31, 2007
The Shroud Report - Online Streaming Video Interviews With Shroud Experts
Russell Breault, good friend and founder of the Shroud of Turin Education Project (STEP) and the excellent www.shroud2000.com website, has added more streaming video interviews with Shroud experts to The Shroud Report series. This year's additions include interviews with Professor Dan Scavone and Gil Lavoie, M.D.. Both interviews were taped at the 1999 Richmond Conference. Other interviews include Fr. Kim Dreisbach, Isabel Piczek, Peter Schumacher, Mark Guscin, Ian Wilson, Paul Maloney and Dr. John Jackson. Russell also includes videos of several lectures and a Shroud documentary on the site. To access the videos, just select the "Streaming Videos - Shroud Expert Interviews" link on Russell's website. You can also go directly to www.shroud2000.com/streamingvideos.html. You will need the Windows Media Player (or equivalent) installed on your computer to view the videos.
Posted July 31, 2007
New Shroud Books and Book Reviews
A number of new Shroud books have been published in recent months and are now included on the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this site. I am including a guide to some of the new books to make it easier for you to find them. Also, a number of new book reviews are included in this update so I am including a guide to them as well. Wherever possible, I included a link to where one can purchase the books, either from an online store or directly from the publisher or author.
Det Sande Ansigt - Jesus og ligklædet i Torino by Niels Svennson
Det Sande Ansigt - Jesus og ligklædet i Torino is a new Danish language book by Niels Svensson published this year by Gyldendal in Denmark. I am unable to read Danish so I cannot review the text, but the book is well worth having just for its lavish use of photographs and illustrations and for its beautiful photographic reproduction. The book includes more than a hundred such images and provides the reader with many footnotes and a complete index. It is available online at the following link: http://www.saxo.com/item/3254288
Journey of the Shroud by Joanna Emery
Journey of the Shroud is a new children's book by Joanna Emery. Published by Volumes Publishing in Canada, the book is written primarily for children aged 10 and up. Joanna has created a series of short, youth oriented fictional stories based on events in the Shroud's history and punctuated these with fact-filled sidebars that are both scientifically and historically accurate. The book is very entertaining, nicely illlustrated (including many photographs) and sure to spark the interest of young people. Copies of the book are available directly from Joanna's Journey of the Shroud Web Page at http://www.joannaemery.com or from the publisher at www.volumesdirect.com.
Resurrection Documented - The Shroud of Turin by Bart Saucelo, M.D.
Resurrection Documented - The Shroud of Turin by Bart Saucelo, M.D., and published by God and Country publishing in South Bend, Indiana, is a completely updated 2nd edition of Bart's 2002 book of the same name. Copies of the book are available directly from the author by using the pdf format order form he provided. Here is a quote from the book's back cover:"This book contains a digest of up-to-date significant historical and scientific findings on the Shroud of Turin. Its main focus is on its supernatural dimension. This distinctive aspect of the Shroud is what really makes it fascinating and an object of wonder. But more importantly, it is what gives meaning and purpose to the image on the Shroud..."
(Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in the written reviews are solely those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or its editor).
Three Book Reviews
The current issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter (Issue #65 June 2007) includes reviews on the following books:
- Journey of the Shroud by Joanna Emery
- The Ark, The Shroud and Mary by Philip Gardiner
- Sindone – gli anni perduti, da Constantinopla a Lirey: Nuove Prove by Alessandro Piana
The three reviews can be found in a single file at this link: BSTS #65 Reviews
Brendan Whiting Responds to Ian Wilson's Review of His Book
In the January 21, 2007 update, I published Ian Wilson's In-Depth Review of "The Shroud Story" by Brendan Whiting, a book review written by Ian specifically for this website. In the interest of fairness, I am providing equal space to Brendan Whiting's Reply to Ian Wilson's Review and including it in this update.
Posted July 31, 2007
BBC Commissions New Shroud Film
I was recently informed by David Rolfe, producer and director of the award winning 1978 Shroud documentary, "The Silent Witness," that the BBC has commissioned him to create a new Shroud film, tentatively titled, "The Three Shrouds of Christ." Included below is the recent press release issued by David to announce the project.
According to history there are three Shrouds that wrapped Christ’s body in the tomb: the Shroud of the Gospels, the Shroud of Constantinople that disappeared during the 4th Crusade and the Shroud of Turin that appeared in France 150 years after the 4th Crusade. Performance Films Ltd has acquired exclusive new evidence that links all three and examines the question of whether the three Shrouds of Christ are one and the same. This question might have been futile given the carbon dating of the Turin Shroud to the 14th Century. However, Performance Films has also acquired new evidence that challenges the validity of the Carbon 14 technique applied to the Shroud.
BBC 2 has commissioned Performance Films to make a special 1 hour HD documentary for Easter 2008 - the 20th Anniversary of the carbon dating. BAFTA winning David Rolfe who made the multi-award winning film The Silent Witness on the Shroud will produce and direct. Jean-Claude Bragard will Executive Produce for the BBC. Worldwide rights are retained by Performance Films Ltd. Contact Alessandro Pavone on +44 (0)1494 731890. www.shroudstory.co.uk
Posted July 31, 2007
Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List
Just a reminder that you can become a subscriber to the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail notice whenever the website is updated. In addition, subscribers receive exclusive opportunities not available to the general public. These include access to papers and articles in advance of their publication, discounts on Shroud books and other materials and much more. To join, go to the Send Us E-mail page, enter your e-mail address in the box provided and hit "Go!" Follow the instructions and you will be added to the list in less than a minute.
Posted July 31, 2007
The Next Update
I plan to complete the next website update before the Christmas holiday, so watch for it sometime in November. It will (hopefully) include all the items that I had to unfortunately omit from this update due to the crashed hard drive, as well as a full report and photographs of the Manila Exhibit. I also am planning to add several spectacular new items to the Website Store page, so keep watching and I'll see you in November.
Posted July 31, 2007
New Shroud Documentary to Air on the National Geographic Channel
I am posting this special website update to let you know that a new television documentary, titled, "Is It Real? Secrets of the Shroud," will premiere on the National Geographic Channel (NGC) here in the U.S. on Monday, July 23, 2007 at 9:00pm EDT. To be safe, check your local listings to verify the times. The program will air again on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 at 12:00am EDT and Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 2:00pm EDT. This is the description the NGC website included about the program:
Believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, the Shroud of Turin is one of Christendom's most priceless treasures that has been revered for centuries and worshiped by thousands. But little is known about the mysterious origin of this precious relic or priceless work of art. Could it perhaps be the work of a cunning 14th century forger or was it really the cloth that covered Jesus when he was placed in the tomb? NGC investigates the forensic and scientific evidence found on the Shroud of Turin.
The program includes interviews with Ian Wilson, Dr. Frederick Zugibe and Barrie Schwortz presenting pro-authenticity arguments, Steve Schaffersman and Joe Nickell advocating their Shroud-is-a-forgery theory and Holger Kersten presenting his own Shroud-is-real theory. Although I was interviewed for the program, I have not seen any of it nor did I have any involvement in its production. I am including notice of it here for your information, but this does NOT constitute an endorsement of the program or its content, other than the statements I personally made on camera.
I should add that I believe the producer made every effort to be fair, based on our discussions and interaction before, during and after the taping. Also, the questions he asked me on camera were far more thoughtful and in depth than what normally is asked, so I am hopeful that the program might be better than usual. In fact, I am very hopeful that it will be much better than the last Shroud documentary aired by the NGC, which advocated the infamous "Leonardo Da Vinci did it" theory. Of course, that program was NOT produced by the National Geographic Channel, but by an independent production company in Turin, Italy. The NGC simply aired it over and over and over for more than two years! Remember, 24 hour networks have a lot of time to fill, so most networks buy and air programs that they did not produce themselves. However, this new documentary was produced by the National Geographic science unit, so I am hopeful they will handle the subject matter with more fairness and dignity. I guess we will all find out next week.
Posted July 17, 2007
Major Website Update Coming on July 31, 2007
Make sure you watch for the next website update, which will go online on July 31, 2007. It will be the largest update I have done in more than a year, and will include several new papers, the latest issue of the BSTS Newsletter, book reviews, news of recent and upcoming Shroud conferences, a new Shroud exhibit and much more. If you would like an e-mail reminder whenever the website is updated, go to the Send Us E-mail page and become a Subscriber to the Website Mailing List. See you at the end of the month. - Barrie Schwortz
Posted July 17, 2007
Welcome to the 11th Anniversary of the Shroud of Turin Website. I always wait and write the introduction to these updates last, since I am never quite sure just how much of my backlogged material I will actually be able to include. This update is certainly another example of that, as I have worked on it nonstop for the past two weeks, and it is now past 9:00 p.m. on the evening of January 20, 2007, as I write this. And once again, I have run out of time before running out of new materials to include.
As many of you know, 2006 was a busy year in the Shroud world and both a sad and eventful year for me. While in Italy to speak at conferences in Terracina and Perugia, I received the heartbreaking news that my dear friend and colleague, The Reverend Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr., who was on his way to meet me in Rome, died suddenly while en route. After returning home to Los Angeles, I flew to Atlanta to speak at the memorial held for Kim. I then returned to begin building Kim's website memorial and the tribute that I published on this site in May 2006. It was during the production of that memorial to Kim that I received surprising and traumatic news from the landlord of the building in which I had lived and worked for the past 14 years: the building was going to be sold (and at a price far beyond anything I could ever afford).
Over the next three months, I had to find and purchase a new home for myself and my business, and then pack and move everything I had accumulated over the last 35 years, including all of my Shroud materials, to a new location. In the end, I found a beautiful home in Colorado near my son and his family and moved everything I own the 1000 miles to my new house. I spent the remaining months of 2006 unpacking, setting up my equipment and putting everything away. (Well, almost everything). Amazingly, I accomplished all of this and managed to survive, although I must admit that I actually felt my age for the first time in my life!
Of course, with everything happening as it did last year, I was unable to do a proper update to the website, and consequently, I accumulated a massive amount of backlogged materials that needed to get online. In fact, this is the first serious content update since last year's 10th Anniversary update on January 21, 2006. And because of this backlog, it is once again necessary for me to apologize to a number of worthwhile contributors who have waited patiently (some for as long as a year) for me to review their submissions and include them on this site. I just did not have enough time to review them properly and give them the careful attention they deserve. However, they are at the top of the list for the next update, hopefully in about 6 to 8 weeks, so I ask that you be patient with me just a little longer. I am hoping to get completely caught up this year (unless the unexpected happens again).
And that brings me to the contents of today's update. As you know, I always try to make the anniversary update a large one, and this time is no exception. For example, more than 100 books have been added to the Shroud of Turin Booklist page and the entire text of the last two BSTS Newsletter issues have been added to the British Society for the Turin Shroud page. Also, a new speaker has been added to the Shroud Speakers Directory page of the site.
In addition, this update includes news of several upcoming Shroud conferences, a report on a number of upcoming Shroud films and documentaries and reviews of a number of recent Shroud books. I have also updated the Videos and DVD's section of the Website Store page with several new titles and even included a link where you can now download a classic Shroud film online. There is much more I could tell you about, but I would rather let you scroll down and start seeing the new content for yourself. So let me thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your continued patronage and support. You have made the past eleven years a truly amazing experience for me and it is deeply appreciated.
Editor and Publisher
Posted January 21, 2007
Over 100 Titles Added To Shroud of Turin Booklist Page
I am very pleased to announce another major update of the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this site. As you know, Emanuela Marinelli provides me with regular updates to the page from her own extensive Shroud library and this update is no exception. She provided over 50 new titles for the list.
In addition, Dr. Raúl Cruz Mireles of the Centro Mexicano de Sindonologia, in collaboration with D.C.B. Montserrat Castellanos, Academy Secretary at the Museum of the Sacred Scriptures, provided us with some 50 new (and often very rare) titles. Both researchers are previous contributors to the list. Gerardo Halbinger, General Secretary of the Centro Mexicano de Sindonologia, explained how these rare titles were discovered in an e-mail he sent me in July 2006. He wrote:"With the help of orthodox sirians searching in ancient libraries of cities like Damascus and Tesalonica, they found some 50 titles from the 15th to the 18th centuries."
My sincere thanks to all of these researchers for their continued participation in making this the largest single bibliography of Shroud related books on the Internet.
Posted January 21, 2007
British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) June and December 2006 Newsletters Added
The British Society for the Turin Shroud page has been updated to include the text of the two most recent issues (June 2006, No. 63 and December 2006, No. 64) of the BSTS Newsletter. These mark a full ten years of reprinting the newsletter on this website, with issues available online dating back to the June/July 1996 Issue No. 43. As regular website viewers already know, the newsletters always include relevant articles, book reviews, news from Italy and much more. Newsletter editor Mark Guscin also includes a full color, high quality photographic feature in each issue, (although I reprint a text only version on this website). Issue No 63 is no exception and includes an article by Lennox Manton in which he compares the Shroud to the images of Jesus found on the Byzantine frescoes of Cappadocia. The issue also includes an article about the Shroud copy in Campillo, Spain and an excellent interview with Rex Morgan.
The bulk of BSTS No. 64 is devoted to an in depth article by Enrico Morini titled, The Embroidered "Shrouds" - Symbology and Iconology of the Liturgical Veils of the Byzantine Rite. This paper originally appeared in the Acts of the Symposium "1506-2006 Guardare la Sindone - 500 anni di liturgia sindonica" held in Turin from 3-6 May 2006 (in press). It also includes News From Italy and an article by Mark Guscin titled, "Further Possibilities for the Interpretation of Mark 14:51-52."
For those of you who might be interested in a membership in the BSTS (which includes a subscription to two printed issues of the Newsletter per year) see the printable BSTS Membership Application for details. The newsletter is published semi-annually, usually in June and December, and the text is reprinted on this website in the Acrobat PDF format, but without the photographs or illustrations.
Posted January 21, 2007
Shroud Speakers Directory Page Updated
I am pleased to welcome respected Shroud researcher Giulio Fanti to the Shroud Speakers Directory page of the website. Professor Fanti's name should be familiar to regular viewers of this website, as many of his papers appear on the Scientific Papers & Articles page of the site. Giulio is also a regular contributor and moderator of the Yahoo ShroudScience Group, a private online group of about 100 researchers and scientists from around the world that actively discuss, debate and continue to study the Shroud.
Also included is updated information for noted Shroud scholar and dear friend, Professor Diana Fulbright.
The Shroud Speakers Directory is designed to provide groups and organizations with a selection of Shroud lecturers that are available to speak at their events. Included is a short biography of each speaker, a description of the topics they present, their geographic location, how to contact them directly and other pertinent information.
Posted January 21, 2007
Upcoming Shroud Conferences Announced
Several International Shroud conferences are being planned for the near future. I am including all the information I have at this moment about two of these events and will include updated information on them as it becomes available to me.
II International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo
Oviedo, Spain - April 13 - 15, 2007
(Editor's Note: The following information was excerpted from the Sudarium Conference Program brochure, which was kindly provided by Alfonso Muñoz-Cobo. Since the brochure contains Registration Information and many important details about the Congress in both English and Spanish, I am including an Acrobat PDF copy of it here that can be downloaded or printed. Click on this link to open the file: Sudarium Conference Program Brochure (En Español) or Right Click and choose "Save Target As..." to save the file to your hard drive).
In 1994, in the city of Asturias, Spain, the First International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo was celebrated in honor of the linen that is preserved and venerated in Oviedo as the cloth mentioned by John in his Gospel, chapter 20:7. The papers and talks presented at this Congress were published under the title of Acts of the I International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo by the Spanish Center for Sindonology (CES) and were widely distributed, especially by the Chapter Cathedral of Oviedo.
From that time until the present, the Investigative Team of the Spanish Center for Sindonology (EDICES) and the Chapter of the Cathedral of Oviedo have brought to fruition various publications and have organized expositions, meetings, seminars, conferences, and other activities in which the work’s continual progress has been shown, in accordance with the desire of the Senior Archbishop of this diocese to further the study of such a venerated and respected Linen. Twelve years later, it is proper for the Chapter Cathedral and CES to convoke this II International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo for the purpose of disclosing to the public the advances that have taken place in the understanding of the Linen and in the interpretation of the information obtained from it, concerning its possible application and the circumstances that could have surrounded it.
At this stage of the investigative process, it has been deemed fitting to show in this II Congress the thought realized during this period of time, which can be summarized in the form of four specific questions:
• Confrontation of the methodology of work employed
• Interpretation of the information obtained from the Linen
• Estimation of the authenticity of the Sudarium of Oviedo as the Sudarium of Jesus of Nazareth
• Collateral studies developed in the process of investigation
The Shroud of Turin is an obligatory and unique reference to this linen. Since 1965, the year in which Guilio Ricci compared for the first time the information obtained from the Shroud with that originating from the Sudarium of Oviedo, until the present day, the guarantee of authenticity that each linen offers the other continues to increase by showing coinciding data concerning the cadaver that, as is thought, both covered: that of Jesus of Nazareth, which disappeared from his sepulcher shortly after being deposited there.
The Congress has been structured in the sessions outlined in this advance program (see link above). This triptych serves as the first presentation and convocation for all those interested in this type of study and research.
The following information was provided to me by Joseph Marino, noted Shroud researcher, member of the Shroud Science Group, and the primary organizer of an international conference scheduled in 2008. Here is the information:
The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. - August 14 - 17, 2008
Coming in 2008: An International Conference sponsored by the Shroud Science Group
Shroud Science is an Internet group composed of 101 registered members (as of (October 2006) with the main purpose to discuss and shed light on some scientific problems related to the Shroud of Turin, such as the study of how the body image was possibly formed, analyses of the bloodstains, and matters related to the C-14 dating performed in 1988.
"The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma"
Thursday August 14 through Sunday August 17, 2008 at The Blackwell Hotel (http://www.theblackwell.com) on the grounds of The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.
CALL FOR PAPERS: Click here to open Acrobat pdf format file - Ohio Call For Papers.
For further information and updates, see: http://shroud.wikispaces.com/ohioshroudconference+2008
Contact Joe Marino at JMarino240@aol.com
In an e-mail dated October 9, 2006, Joe provided additional detailed information about the conference and the facilities where it will be held. I am including this additional information in an Acrobat PDF file you can download or print. Click here for additional information about the Ohio Conference.
Posted January 21, 2007
2006 Meeting With Archbishop Gewargis Sliwa of Baghdad
Barrie Schwortz with Archbishop Gewargis Sliwa
On January 23, 2006, in Los Angeles, California, just two days after the 10th anniversary of this website, I had the honor and privilege of meeting personally with Archbishop Gewargis Sliwa, of the Assyrian Church of the East (Apostolic Church) of Baghdad, Iraq. As regular website viewers may remember, in 2003 I published a feature article about the Archbishop and the work he was doing in Iraq to bring the Shroud to a larger audience. I also reported the publication of the Arabic language book he had written about the Shroud of Turin titled, "The Image of Edessa." (You can read this earlier article at the following link: 2003 Archbishop Article).
Over the years, we have stayed in touch by e-mail and occasional telephone calls, but we had never met in person. Then, in early January 2006, I received a telephone call from Fr. Georgio, a parish priest from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. He informed me that Archbishop Sliwa was coming to Los Angeles to speak to the various Assyrian parishes in the area and had asked if we could finally meet in person. I was thrilled and honored to have this rare opportunity to finally meet my friend and remember my excitement as I was ushered into the parish office for the meeting. I entered the office and we immediately embraced, both of us smiling broadly. We then stepped apart and both of us simultaneously reached into our pockets and pulled out our digital cameras! Realizing that both of us were thinking exactly the same thing at the same time ("we need to get a photo together"), we both broke into open laughter. It was a great way to begin our first face to face meeting.
We spoke for more than an hour about the current state of Shroud research, his efforts to bring the Shroud to a broader audience in the Middle East and the then current situation in Iraq. Sadly, he also explained the purpose of his visit to America. One of the five Assyrian churches in Baghdad had been completely destroyed by a car bomb. Although fortunately, no one was harmed, the church itself was completely destroyed. The Archbishop was speaking to the Assyrian communities in America to help raise the funds needed to rebuild the church.
I remember returning home from my visit with the Archbishop that night and immediately calling my late friend, the Reverend Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, to share my excitement about the meeting. The next morning, as was so typical of Kim, sitting in my mailbox was an article that he had found online about the Archbishop's visit to California from the Assyria Times. I am including it here as an Acrobat PDF file.
I had hoped to tell this story much sooner, but as I've said elsewhere in this update, 2006 was a very busy year for me and I was unable to do a proper update of the website until now. This past week, through the kindness of the Archbishop's niece here in the U.S., Jannet Bahjat, I reconnected with the Archbishop via e-mail, in hopes of receiving an update from him. I also asked him if there was a mechanism for contributing to the rebuilding of the bombed church in Baghdad, as I am sure some of this website's viewers would be pleased to do. I received his reply this morning (January 19, 2007) and am reprinting it below for your information. Of course, when I receive additional information from the Archbishop I will include it here as well.
I am glad to hear from you after this long time since we met in Los Angeles. I hope you are comfortable and happy in your new home in Colorado close to your son’s family.
I came back home in August 2006. Since then I tried to contact you but I could not due to our internet problems and to the lack of electricity. Even now we face the same problem though the internet somehow is better. Our situation is still very bad and we stopped many of our church activities but it doesn’t stop us from our spiritual services.
I appreciate the idea of raising funds for rebuildng our exploded St, George Church in Baghdad.. I will let you know after studying the idea. I tried hard to send this e-mail direct after seeing your message through my niece Jannet but it did not go through. I am hoping this time you will get it. Looking forward to seeing the update of our famous Shroud website.
I wish you all the happiness in your new home.
Posted January 21, 2007
Book Reviews by Mark Guscin, Joanna Emery and Ian Wilson Included In This Update
This update includes a number of reviews of new Shroud related books published (or reprinted) over the past year. Most of these are found in the two new issues of the BSTS Newsletter I have added in this update and one was written specifically for this website. The books reviewed in the BSTS Newsletters can be accessed via the British Society for the Turin Shroud page and include:
The Shroud of Christ – Its provenance and the revelations of the blessed Anne Catherine Emerich by Joseph M. Derham
The Shroud Was The Resurrection - The Body Theft, the Shroud in the Tomb and the Image that inspired a Myth by John Loken
The Shroud Story by Brendan Whiting
SINDONE, la verità by Gino Moretto
Holy Shroud of Turin (1934) by Arthur Stapylton Barnes (Reprinted in 2006)
Face to Face – Portraits of the Divine in Early Christianity by Robin Margaret Jensen
The Rape of the Turin Shroud: How Christianity’s Most Precious Relic was Wrongly Condemned and Violated by William Meacham.
Ian Wilson's In-Depth Review of "The Shroud Story" by Brendan Whiting was written specifically for this update. I should also mention that I met with Brendan while I was in Auckland, New Zealand in May 2005, and spent several hours discussing the Shroud and his book with him. Ultimately, he licensed the usage of a number of my photographs and those appear as illustrations in the book.
Please note that the opinions expressed in the written reviews are solely those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or its editor. Of course, all of these books can also be found on the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of the site.
Posted January 21, 2007
Shroud Videos and DVD's Updated
The Shroud Videos and DVD's section of the Website Store page has been updated and now includes one new DVD title, the new release on DVD of an existing series of 13 programs and the recent availability of a classic Shroud film for downloading online. The newest title is "Shroud," originally released in 2005 and a collaboration between Nova-T, a major Italian production company, and the Archdiocese of Turin. It includes 160 minutes of programming and is viewable in five different languages.
"The Shroud of Turin: Imprint of Mercy", originally released in 1997, is a 13-part video series offered by The Turin Shroud Center of Colorado featuring Dr. John P. Jackson and Rebecca S. Jackson. The series, originally offered on 3 digitally mastered videotapes, is now available in a NEW 4-DVD Set (in a "region-free" format for global viewing).
"The Silent Witness", produced and directed by David Rolfe and originally released in 1978, was the first in-depth film dedicated to the subject of the Shroud of Turin and won a British Academy Award in 1978. The now-classic film recreated in striking detail many important scenes from the Shroud's history, telling the story of the cloth in dramatic and accurate fashion. It was made with the cooperation of the Turin authorities and reflects the extent of Shroud knowledge circa 1977. The film, previously only available on videotape and DVD, is NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOADING ONLINE.
Posted January 21, 2007
Upcoming Shroud Films and Documentaries
If you looked at the link I included for downloading The Silent Witness in the above story, www.silentwitness2.com, you will notice that on this new website, producer/director David Rolfe also announces The Silent Witness II, a new Shroud film currently in development. In fact, the project has been underway for more than a year and David has kindly asked me to participate as an associate producer. Although I have not yet seen a script of the program, I have agreed to assist the production in any way I can and provide photographs and video footage from my collection for inclusion in the program. I am also including David's Press Release about the program (in Acrobat PDF format), taken directly from his website, which explains his concept in more detail.
As many people know, in the past few years the National Geographic Channel has frequently aired a very negative program that declared the Shroud was made by Leonardo da Vinci. What few people know however, is that this program was NOT made by National Geographic. In fact, it was produced by a television production company based in Turin, who sold it to National Geographic to air on their channel. Since I was a participant in the program, I can assure you that this is a fact. That being said, I was recently contacted by a producer from the National Geographic Science Unit and invited to participate in a new documentary they were producing about the Shroud. As regular website viewers know, about a year ago a number of us participated in a documentary for the History Channel, with very frustrating results. I said then that I would do no more Shroud documentaries myself. However, I did have the pleasure of working with the National Geographic Science Unit in 1980, in the production of the now-famous Shroud article that appeared in the June 1980 issue. With that in mind, and with the hope that their Science Unit will do a thorough and honest job of fairly assessing the facts about the Shroud, I have agreed to participate again and will fly to Washington, D.C. next week for the taping. Please do not misinterpret this as an endorsement of any kind, as I have absolutely no information about the program itself, its direction or title, or who else might be appearing in it, but I will update you as soon as I have something new to report. As they say on television, "stay tuned..."
As was reported in the December 2006 Issue No. 64 of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter, Grizzly Adams Productions, Inc. and Shadowplay Films are in the final stages of production of a new Shroud program that will be released on DVD and broadcast in both secular and Christian markets. The script and documentary were supervised by AM*STAR in the USA and interviews were filmed in Turin. At this point I have no additional information but again, will update you as soon as I have more details.
Posted January 21, 2007
Recent Shroud Conferences
Arriving as I was just finishing this update was news from Win Wuermeling of the COSTA (UNEC) group in Argenteuil, France, of another new book, La Sainte Tunique D'Argenteuil Face a la Science (The Holy Tunic of Argenteuil Face To Science), the Proceedings of the November 2005 Conference on the Tunic of Argenteuil. Since the book represents the work of 15 different authors, I have added the title to the Various Authors section of the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of the site. I have also included a more complete description and ordering information on the Bookstore page of the site. My original plan was to create dedicated pages for this conference, as well as for several others that took place during 2006 and include them in this update, but I just ran out of time.
Consequently, in the next update I will include separate, dedicated pages on the Shroud Conferences & Symposia page of the site for all of the conferences that occurred last year, including those in Argenteuil, France, and Turin, Perugia and Terracina, Italy. These new pages will each include a complete listing of all of the speakers and the topics of their presentations, along with other details of each event.
Posted January 21, 2007
Links To More Information Page Updated
I have added several new entries to the Links To More Information page of the website and updated some others. The first of these is from my dear friend Maurizio Marinelli and is a link from his world renowned Collegamento pro Sindone website, www.shroud.it. This link is to a Live Webcam of the Turin Cathedral that updates every five minutes and allows you a view of the Cathedral, the Holy Shroud Chapel and the Royal Palace.
Another new link is to the excellent personal website of Shroud researcher Mario Latendresse of the University of Montreal. The website is www.sindonology.org and features reviews of Shroud books, papers and conferences along with large measurement images that allow you to do pixel based measurements on the cloth. An excellent website for serious researchers.
Posted January 21, 2007
In The Next Update...
As I said in the introduction to this update, I was (again) unable to include all of the backlog of materials that I had accumulated over the past year. Among the materials I could not include today that will be part of the next update are five papers and articles that I am currently reviewing and considering for publication, as well as important news of several upcoming Shroud Exhibits, both here in the U.S.A. and abroad. Also, I will update the Shroud Conferences & Symposia page to include three additional conferences from 2005 and 2006. There will also be an announcement of another upcoming Shroud conference so don't miss it. I hope to have the next update online in 6 to 8 weeks. See you then.
Posted January 21, 2007
Some Website Statistics From 2006
I always like to include some statistics about the previous year's website traffic in my anniversary updates. In 2006, the website had 607,999 individual visitors (averaging more than 50,000 visitors per month) that viewed 1.67 million pages and 5.8 million files totaling 6.93 million hits. The total bandwidth for 2006 (total of all files viewed) was 171 gigabytes! Thank you all for your participation!
Posted January 21, 2007
If you are already on the Shroud.com mailing list, you will get an e-mail from me notifying you immediately of each update. If you are not on the list but would like to subscribe, see the Send Us E-mail page of the site for details on how to join. Until the next time, thank you again for your continued support and patronage. It is gratefully appreciated.
Posted January 21, 2007
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