The Fire and the Portrait

by
Jack Markwardt

Copyright 1998
All Rights Reserved
Reprinted by Permission


A HISTORY OF MYSTERY

The Shroud of Turin has presented its students--believers and skeptics alike--with a seemingly unlimited number of unsolved scientific, historical, and religious mysteries. This paper proposes to resolve, and to reconcile, two of the Shroud's most tantalizing mysteries: (1) When and how did it incur the fire damage now generally referred to as the "poker holes"; and (2) When and why was it converted into the portrait known as the Image of Edessa.1


THE MYSTERY OF THE FIRE

Framing the thighs of the Shroud's ventral and dorsal body images2 are four sets of holes and burn marks,3 three of which appear in right-angle patterns.4 If the Shroud is folded once lengthwise and once widthwise, all four sets of holes and burn marks superimpose upon one another in the dead center of the folded cloth.5 The charred edges of all twelve holes appear much blacker than the fire damage of 15326 and present evidence of pitch.7

This damage appears on the Lierre Shroud copy of 15168 and, thus, clearly antedates the Chambery fire by at least sixteen years.9 With each folded layer of the cloth having been penetrated to a decreasing degree, it has been suggested that a hot poker was thrust into the Shroud during some primitive ceremony10 and that, since it had been a favorite medieval practice to use pitch-soaked pokers as "trial by fire" truth devices,11 the cloth was subjected to a fire-based authenticity test in either the late-fifteenth or very early-sixteenth century;12 however, in approximately 1986, this damage was found depicted in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript,13 a document reliably dated to 1192-1195.14 Not only did this discovery effectively undermine the notion that the Shroud had been tried by fire in medieval times,15 but it also proved problematic to both the radiocarbon testing results16 and a claim that the sindonic image was the creation of Leonardo da Vinci.17

While some believe this damage to be the product of "deliberate rather than accidental" action,18 others have suggested that it derives from some inadvertent event, such as the discharge of hot coals from "a clumsy swinging of the thurible"19 or the dripping of pitch from a torch.20


THE MYSTERY OF THE PORTRAIT

The Mandylion theory asserted that the Shroud was once made into a portrait by being folded, attached to a backing board, and overlaid by gold trelliswork in a manner which left visible only the face of its crucified image.21 This hypothesis was based, in part, upon the following passage from the late sixth-century Acts of Thaddeus:

And he (Christ)...asked to wash himself, and
a "doubled-in-four" cloth was given to him;
and when he had washed himself he wiped his
face with it. And his image having been imprinted
upon the linen...22
The Mandylion theory persuasively linked this literary reference to an icon which was then known and venerated as the Image of Edessa; however, there being no historical record of any portraitization of that cloth, it reconstructed the occasion by first embracing the so-called "Abgar legend"23 and by then hypothesizing that, in the first century,24 the disciple Thaddeus doubled the Shroud in four in order to make it presentable to King Abgar V of Edessa.25 The Mandylion theory also proposed that the portraitized Shroud was hidden and forgotten in the city walls,26 rediscovered there centuries later,27 and deployed as a palladium to save Edessa from the Persian army in 544,28 its true sindonic nature having never been detected by the people of Edessa during their nine-centuries-long possession of the cloth.29

Nevertheless, there are several reasons to doubt that the Shroud was taken to Edessa in the first century.30 The historical evidence clearly establishes that Edessan Christianity was not born until late in the second century31 and "the whole story of Edessa's evangelisation" can probably be traced to the reign of King Abgar VIII (177-212).32 It is also rather difficult to accept the notion that the Shroud could have remained completely unknown for almost five hundred years33 when obvious artistic familiarity with the sindonic image is evidenced in the Shroudlike portrayals of Christ during the third34 and fourth centuries.35 It is the author's personal view that the Shroud was taken from Judea, placed in the care of the Antiochene Christian community, and remained in the Syrian capital until it was brought to Edessa in 540.36

In addition, a relatively recent discovery has confirmed that the above-cited passage from the Acts of Thaddeus actually evidences popular knowledge that the Image of Edessa was a full-sized gravecloth:

Ananias...looked carefully and intently at
Christ and was unable to capture him. That
knower of hearts asked to clean himself; he
took a tetradiplon, and having washed, he
wiped his face. Impressing his image on the
sindon he gave it to Ananias.37
Given that the Acts of Thaddeus specifically recites that Christ's image had been left upon a sindon, whereas earlier versions of the Abgar legend make no mention of a burial cloth,38 it is rather clear that the Christians of Edessa did view the cloth's full-body image sometime between the beginning of the fourth century and the close of the sixth.39 Therefore, the cloth could simply not have been folded-in-four in the first century and then have been maintained in such folded form throughout its entire stay in Edessa, as the Mandylion theory suggests.40

So, if not penetrated by a pitch-soaked instrument during some medieval trial by fire, how did the Shroud become scarred by poker holes, and if not to permit its presentation to an Edessan king, why was the Shroud portraitized? This paper proposes that each of these sindonic mysteries is integrally related to the other.


SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF THE FIRE

In seeking to establish the time and cause of the fire damage, the following conclusions may be logically and reasonably drawn from the relevant evidence:

  1. Based upon the illustration contained in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, the damage occurred prior to 1192-1195.
  2. Based upon the physical evidence, the damage occurred at a time when the Shroud was folded once lengthwise and once widthwise and, therefore, not at a time when the Shroud was "doubled-in-four" as a portrait.
  3. Based upon the Acts of Thaddeus, the Shroud had already been converted into a portraitized tetradiplon by the close of the sixth century.41
  4. Based upon artistic portrayals and other evidence cited in the Mandylion theory,42 the Shroud was maintained in portraitized form during its sojourn in Edessa from the sixth to the tenth century.43
  5. It is unlikely that the damage occurred after the Shroud had been portraitized44 and, therefore, it is most probable that the damage occurred prior to the close of the sixth century.45
  6. The Shroud is known to have been exposed to fire only once prior to the close of the sixth century; i.e., during the Persian siege of Edessa in 544 and, therefore, it is likely that the damage occurred on that occasion.

The Syrian historian, Evagrius, writing late in the sixth century, reported that, in 544, the Christians of Edessa46 were in possession of a holy icon not made of human hands.47 This literary reference, the Shroud's first appearance in non-canonical history, did not specify whether the icon was a full-length gravecloth or a folded portrait.48 In that year, the Persians, under King Chosroes I, laid siege to Edessa and constructed a huge timber tower from which missiles could be fired down upon the city.49 The Edessans devised a plan to dig a tunnel and to set fire to the siegeworks from belowground; however, a fire could not be started in the underground passage due to a lack of air.50 In this crisis, it is likely that a centuries-old Edessan palladium, the so-called Letter of Jesus,51 was invoked to start the fire or to otherwise halt the Persian advance; however, when it failed to do so and the city remained encircled by an enemy that, only four years before, had killed and enslaved the people of Antioch and burnt that ancient city to the ground,52 the Edessans were left with no alternative but to extract the Shroud from concealment in the hope that it might, somehow, miraculously save the day. Evagrius reports that the holy icon was brought into the tunnel:  

They sponged it with water and with the same
water they sprinkled the stack and the timber.
And immediately, with divine aid added to their
faith, what before had been impossible was now
accomplished. For the wood immediately caught
fire, and more quickly than one can say it, was
burned to ashes and ignited what lay above it.53


Shortly after this miracle had been performed,54 the Persians abandoned their siege, the city was saved, and the image-bearing icon became the holy relic and mighty palladium of Edessa, replacing in this role the now-discredited Letter of Jesus.55

The sudden elevation of this cloth to such religious and civic prominence leaves no room for doubt that

the Icon was brought to bear in the crisis
of 544. We may suppose that in the emergency,
when the Letter of Jesus, read aloud from the
main gate, seemed to be offering the city
insufficient protection, whatever icons were
available were thrown into the breach. It is
indeed very likely that, as Evagrius tells us,
Abgar's cloth was carried through the tunnel to
bless the efforts of those who were attempting
to ignite the tower-stack.56
According to Evagrius, water sprinkled from the Edessan icon brought about an instantaneous conflagration; however, it is self-evident that had the tunnel timber really been doused with water, the chances of starting a fire would only have decreased and, consequently, the Evagrius account has been described as both "fanciful"57 and "distorted".58 Nevertheless, since the Shroud was unquestionably involved, in some manner, with starting the fire,59 it seems very likely that the "poker holes" now observable on the cloth are the product of those events which actually did transpire in the tunnel. So, what actually happened?

The physical evidence indicates that the Shroud was laid out to full-length, its ventral image to the bottom, and then folded once lengthwise, from right to left, and once widthwise, from top to bottom, thereby concealing the image within and creating four separate linen layers.60 The observable damage reflects four distinct fire penetrations of the folded cloth by a pitch-soaked instrument. The single unaligned hole evidences penetration of the two dorsal layers and the infliction of a burn mark upon the image side of the topmost ventral layer. Of the three holes in alignment, the two located closest to the center of the cloth evidence penetration of the two dorsal layers and the topmost ventral layer and the infliction of a burn mark upon the image side of the bottom ventral layer. Only the aligned hole located furthest from the center of the cloth evidences a complete penetration of all four layers.

In view of the physical evidence and the miraculous powers which were later attributed to the icon, this paper proposes that the utterly-perplexed Edessans,61 having decided to deploy the Shroud as an intermediary fire-starting device, folded the cloth, placed it directly upon the timber stack, prayerfully invoked its presumed miraculous powers, and administered a pitch-soaked firebrand to its dead center, four times and in a right-angle pattern, their final effort penetrating all four layers and communicating fire to the woodpile beneath.62 The three partial penetrations of the cloth may simply reflect previous unsuccessful attempts to push the firebrand through all of the linen folds or, consistent with Ian Wilson's "trial by fire" vision,63 may evidence three intentionally-partial firebrand applications, each dedicated to a member of the Holy Trinity, followed by a final purposeful thrust through the entire folded cloth and a resounding "Amen".64


SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF THE PORTRAIT

Upon extracting the Shroud from the tunnel and unfolding it, the Christians of Edessans must have been shocked and horrified to discover the extent of the damage that had been occasioned by their actions, each quadrant of the image-bearing side of the cloth now grotesquely scarred by edge-charred holes and blackened burn marks. In their minds, the fiery miracle had proved that this desecrated icon was truly the authentic burial Shroud of Jesus Christ and the fire damage on the cloth served only to convict them of an unforgivable sacrilege.

This paper proposes that, confronted with the dilemma of how to accord the cloth appropriate credit for having saved their city and yet avoid the consequences of personal culpability, the leaders of the Edessan Church first concocted a tale that water, which they had respectfully sponged upon the cloth and then sprinkled on the timber, had started the fateful fire, and that they then concealed the damning evidence of the fire damage beneath the folds of a "doubled-in-four" portrait.65 Almost immediately after the events of 544, the icon became the city's holy relic and mighty palladium66 and, within a mere five years, there appeared the first-known artistic portrayal of the disembodied head of a Shroudlike Christ in a circle.67 The Edessans soon began to refer to their portrait, now known as the holy Image of Edessa, as "acheiropoietos" (not made by human hands)68 and to attribute its creation to Christ himself.69

Thus, at the close of the sixth century, it was really no secret that the portraitized icon known as the Image of Edessa was, in fact, a four-folded and full body image-bearing sindon and, for that simple reason, the cloth is specifically described as such in the Acts of Thaddeus.70 What was kept hidden, however, was the fact that the portrait concealed, beneath its folds, the fire damage which the cloth had sustained in 544, a secret spawned when the Edessan Church hierarchy doubled the Shroud in four and permitted its veneration only in such folded and portraitized form. As this sixth-century practice became a hallowed Edessan tradition, one scrupulously honored for almost four hundred years, the true sindonic nature of the cloth was gradually forgotten71 and it was not until 944, when the Byzantines dissembled the Edessan portrait in Constantinople, that the full-body image of Christ crucified was revealed once more.72


Bibliography

Drews, Robert, In Search of the Shroud of Turin, Rowman & Allanheld (Totowa, N.J. 1984).

Gove, Harry E., Relic, Icon or Hoax, Institute of Physics Publishing (Bristol 1996).

Hexter, Ralph J., Equivocal Oaths and Ordeals in Medieval Literature, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass. 1975).

Kramer, Heinrich, and Sprenger, James, The Malleus Maleficarum (Trans. Montague Summers), Dover Publications (New York 1971).

Segal, J.B., Edessa, The Blessed City, Oxford University Press (London 1970).

Wilson, Ian, The Blood and the Shroud, The Free Press (New York 1998).

Wilson, Ian, The Mysterious Shroud, Doubleday & Company (Garden City, N.Y. 1986).

Wilson, Ian, The Shroud of Turin, The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?, Image Books (Garden City, N.Y. 1979).


Notes

1. As proposed by Ian Wilson in his remarkable Mandylion theory. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 118-124; 132-135.

2. The Shroud's dorsal image is flanked by two sets of four holes, three in alignment and a fourth located more toward the edge of the cloth, together forming a right-angle pattern. Lying nearby are several "irregular, ancillary burn marks as from stray sparks". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 25. To one side of the ventral image lies a set of three holes in alignment and a burn mark which, together, form a right-angle pattern. To the other side of the ventral image lies a single hole aligned with two burn marks.

Editor's Note: See the article on this website titled The Red Stains on the Lier and Other Shroud Copies by Remi Van Haelst. The article includes four detailed color photographic closeups of the burn holes as well as a transmitted light image of the Shroud.

3. This damage is very clearly shown in photographs of the Shroud which have been illuminated with transmitted light. See Wilson, The Mysterious Shroud, illus. inter pp. 46-47. Also, see above Editor's Note.

4. See Dreisbach, Albert R., Jr., More Evidence for a Pre-Medieval Date, Shroud News, No. 61, pp. 7-8. These patterns have also been described as "L-shaped". See Paci, Stefano M., All Those Carbon 14 Errors, Shroud News, No. 80, p. 6.

5. Van Haelst, Remi, The Lier Shroud: A Problem in Attribution, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 20, p. 8 (originally reported in Sindon 8:26). Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 25.

6. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 25.

7. This observation was made in 1978 by Dr. Ray Rogers, a member of STURP. See Wilson, The Mysterious Shroud, p. 78, citing L. Schwalbe and R. N. Rogers, Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin, p. 47, note 7.

8. On the Lierre copy, these holes are shown in red paint, apparently reflecting the artist's belief that they were bloodstains. The holes were not repaired when the Poor Clare nuns patched over the damage caused by the Chambery fire of 1532. See Van Haelst, Remi, The Lier Shroud: A Problem in Attribution, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 20, pp. 6-11.

9. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 25.

10. Wilson, in imagining this ritual, could almost hear the incantation "in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 25. In 1933, Don Antonio Tonelli examined the Shroud and expressed his belief that this damage was probably caused by the deliberate insertion of a hot poker into the folded cloth. Van Haelst, Remi, The Lier Shroud: A Problem in Attribution, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 20, p. 8 (originally reported in Sindon 8:26).

11. "Trial by the ordeal of red-hot iron" may be equated with a judicium Dei whereby God is seen to verify or deny the validity of a formal oath and this practice may have developed from the so-called oriental "Act of Truth". Hexter, pp. 1-7. A hot iron was placed into a person's hand and the extent of healing was employed as a measure of determining veracity or innocence. Trial by fire was denied to witches because they knew how to protect the skin through the application of herbs. See Kramer and Sprenger, pp. 233-235.

12. While not providing an example of an ordeal having been employed to test the authenticity of a relic, Wilson speculated that the Shroud's "trial by fire" may have been a preliminary to the institution of the full Holy Shroud cult in 1506. Wilson, The Mysterious Shroud, pp. 78-81. However, there is no apparent reason for soaking a heated iron in pitch prior to conducting an ordeal. Wilson has recently reiterated his belief in the hot poker theory, humorously referring to "trial by fire" as "a Dark Ages equivalent of the carbon dating test". Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, pp. 66-67.

13. This detail was apparently first observed by a correspondent of Fr. A. M. Dubarle. See Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, The Eastern Pre-History of the Relic, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 217, p. 9 (March 1989). In 1993, Professor Jerome Lejeune examined this manuscript and found that the physical characteristics of the illustrated cloth, in its portrayal of superimposable hole patterns, coincided "perfectly with the Shroud". Paci, Stefano M., All Those Carbon 14 Errors, Shroud News, No. 80, pp. 6-7.

14. Wilson, The Mysterious Shroud, p. 114 (this illustration appears on p. 115). Professor Lejeune proclaimed this dating to be "without doubt" because the manuscript was bound in 1192 and contains historical facts and musical passages which clearly pre-date the thirteenth century, thereby establishing, in his opinion, that the Shroud's existence before 1192 is "a definitive historic certainty". Paci, Stefano M., All Those Carbon 14 Errors, Shroud News, No. 80, pp. 6-7.

15. Wilson has recently acknowledged that he did not notice these holes, and certain other sindonic markings, in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript when he performed the research upon which the Mandylion theory was based. Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, pp. 145-147. Trial by fire was employed in medieval Western Europe until first criticized by the Pope in the late twelfth century and then banned altogether in 1215 by the Fourth Lateran Council. Hexter, p. 26, n. 96; p. 27, n. 97. However, there is no evidence that, prior to 1192-1195, the Shroud had been in the hands of Western Europeans and, indeed, the Mandylion theory places the Shroud, at that time, in the possession of devout Edessan and Byzantine Christians who venerated it as both a holy relic and a mighty palladium.

16. Carbon-14 testing of Shroud samples conducted by Oxford University, the University of Arizona, and the Zurich Polytechnic resulted in a finding, with a 95% statistical certainty, that the linen cloth dated from 1260-1390. P. E. Damon, et al., Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin, Nature, Vol. 337, No. 6028, pp. 611-615 (Feb. 16, 1989). Dr. Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes and Dr. Faustino Cervantes Ibarola thereafter discovered that the linen fibers were blanketed by a bioplastic bacterial coating. See Morgan, Rex, The Rome Symposium, Part 2, Shroud News, No. 78, p. 11 (August 1993). In subsequent experiments, radiocarbon testing misdated, by at least 500 years, a Mayan carving and the outer wrappings of an Egyptian mummified ibis, both covered by a bioplastic bacterial coating. Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, pp. 225-231. Professor Harry Gove, who developed the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) testing method which was used to carbon date the Shroud, has stated that claims of the cloth being covered by a bioplastic bacterial coating "should be taken seriously" and has conceded that Dr. Garza-Valdes' theory that this caused the Shroud to be substantially misdated "needs further detailed investigation". Gove, p. 308.

17. Leonardo was born in 1452 and died in 1519. See Scavone, Daniel C., Review of Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince. The Turin Shroud: In Whose Image?, Shroud News, No. 87, pp. 3-5 (February 1995).

18. This solution was proposed by Wilson who astutely noted that the damage lies dead center in a specific folding arrangement, forms right-angle patterns, and displays evidence of pitch. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 24-25.

19. This solution was proposed by Fr. A. M. Dubarle. See Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, The Eastern Pre-History of the Relic, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 217, Eng. ed., p. 9 (March 1989). Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, The Physics and Chemistry of the Holy Shroud, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 218, Eng. ed., p. 17 (April 1989).

20. This solution was proposed by Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard. See Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, The Physics and Chemistry of the Holy Shroud, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 218, Eng. ed., p. 17 (April 1989).

21. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 118-124; 132-135.

22. This version is derived from Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Eerdmans, 1951), vol. VIII, pp. 558-59, and includes Wilson's well-justified substitution of "doubled-in-four cloth" for "towel" in translation of "tetradiplon" in the original Greek text. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 120.

23. In the earliest version of this Syrian legend (early third century), the disciple brings with him a wonderful vision, in a later version (late third century), a portrait, and in a final version (mid-tenth century), the Mandylion itself. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 127-130.

24. Sometime between the Crucifixion and the end of the Abgar's reign in approximately 50.

25. The Mandylion theory asserts that it would have been unseemly to present a reigning monarch with an object as repellant as "the gravecloth of man who had been executed as a convicted criminal, in the most degrading circumstances possible". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 134. This rationale (1) presumes that it would have been inappropriate to present a burial cloth to Abgar, but entirely appropriate to do so upon having disguised it in order to deceive the king; and (2) further assumes that Abgar could have remained oblivious to the underlying bulk of the cloth and never once sought to unfold it, thereby discovering the deceit which had been practiced upon him.

26. From approximately 57 to 525. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 135; pp. 138-139.

27. As the result of a devastating flood which occurred in 525. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 138-139. "The trellis-covered work, unrecognizable as the Shroud...seems to be the form it had at the time of its rediscovery in Edessa in the sixth-century A.D.". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 126.

28. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 137-138.

29. "The air of hallowed mystery ensured that the image of the body would lie unsuspected in the folds to await another era and men of a different city". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 147.

30. No other putative relic of the Passion has ever surfaced in Edessa and even those historians who agree that the Shroud did ultimately reach Edessa have nevertheless concluded that this event did not take place as early as the first century. Drews, pp. 52-75. Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, Superabundant Historical Testimony, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 237, Eng. ed., pp. 4-5 (March, 1991).

31. Segal, p. 70.

32. See Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, pp. 161-175. To his own question of whether it is actually the latterday monarch who lies behind the Abgar legend, Wilson now responds: "Not necessarily". Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, pp. 169; 172. Professor Robert Drews believes that it was during or after the reign of Abgar VIII that the Shroud was brought to Edessa. Drews, pp. 52-75.

33. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 135; pp. 138-139.

34. In an early third-century fresco found in the Hypogeum of the Aurelians, Christ is realistically depicted as a shepherd with a bipartite beard, long hair falling to the shoulders, and an oval face. Drews, p. 78. Pfeiffer, Heirich, The Shroud of Turin and the Face of Christ in Paleochristian, Byzantine and Western Medieval Art, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 9, p. 15 (1984). Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 100-101. Roman art of the fourth century provides several examples of a long-haired and bearded Jesus and, in the Catacomb of Commodilla, Christ has undulating hair, a long beard, large eyes, and a large nose. Drews, p. 79. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 100-101.

35. During the Theodosian era (370-410), there suddenly appeared distinctly Shroudlike depictions of Christ; i.e., unprecedented portrayals of Jesus with a long, narrow, and majestic face, a moustache and medium-length beard, and long hair falling upon his shoulders, sometimes parted in the center. Pfeiffer, Heirich, The Shroud of Turin and the Face of Christ in Paleochristian, Byzantine and Western Medieval Art, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 9, p. 13 (1984). If the Shroud is authentic, such artistic representations were clearly intended to be realistic portrayals of Christ. Drews, p. 79.

36. Markwardt, Jack, Antioch and the Shroud (copyright 1998).

37. Scavone, Daniel C., personal correspondence. This translation was derived from the Greek text contained in the Acta Thaddaei, ed. R.A. Lipsius, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha I, p. 274 (1891). See Scavone, Daniel C., Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud (1996), Shroud of Turin Website Library, http:// www.shroud.com.

38. Eusebius (ca. 325) mentioned no image whatsoever and the Doctrine of Addai (ca. 400) spoke only of a "portrait of Jesus in choice paints". See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 127-130.

39. The respective appearances of the Doctrine of Addai and the Acts of Thaddeus.

40. See Note 29.

41. In fact, the first-known artistic portrayal of the disembodied head of Christ in a halo-type circle had already appeared "at the center of the huge jewelled cross in the apse of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, completed shortly before 549". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 141-142. This circumstance strongly suggests that the Shroud had already been "doubled-in-four".

42. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 101-102; 144-147.

43. A deportraitization of the Shroud would have involved "a great deal of dismantling". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 122. However, although the Mandylion theory asserted that the Shroud was doubled-in-four in the first century and was never unfolded again until the eleventh or twelfth century, it was discovered in 1987 that the Shroud must have been unfolded upon its arrival in Constantinople in August of 944. See Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, pp. 153-154. Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, The Eastern Pre-History of the Relic, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 217, Eng. ed., p. 9 (March 1989).

44. While it is possible that, at some point during its centuries-long portraitization, the Shroud was dismantled, refolded, and subjected to fire damage, this particular era in sindonic history was one of great reverence for the holy and palladian virtues of the cloth and extreme care would have been exercised to protect it from harm. There is evidence of the cloth being unfolded only once during this period, upon its arrival in Constantinople (see Note 43), and there is absolutely no hint of a Shroud-related fire occurring in either Edessa or Constantinople between 544 and 1192.

45. In fact, probably prior to 549 (see Notes 41 and 67).

46. It has been speculated that the orthodox Melkites were in possession of the icon and the Monophysites (known in Edessa as Jacobites) held the so-called Letter of Jesus. See Note 116. Segal, p. 77. Drews, p. 68. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 139-140. However, the author believes that the Shroud was actually in the possession of Antiochene Monophysite refugees. Markwardt, Jack, Antioch and the Shroud (copyright 1998).

47. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137. If the Shroud had been reposing in Edessa prior to 544, the residents of the city may have regarded it as a painted icon rather than as a holy relic. See Drews, pp. 62-63.

48. Evagrius describes the icon only as a "divinely made image" and a "sacred likeness". See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137.

49. Drews, p. 64. The Persians may also have constructed this tower to permit them to scale the city's high walls. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137.

50. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137.

51. For centuries, the people of Edessa had venerated a writing in which Christ had supposedly promised his protection to the city and the palladian powers of this letter had been invoked to thwart prior Persian threats. Segal, pp. 74-76. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 136-137. Although declared apocryphal in a decree issued by Pope Gelasius in 494, this letter continued to remain popular and widely credited. Segal, p. 73; p. 75.

52. Markwardt, Jack, Antioch and the Shroud (copyright 1998).

53. Translation from Drews, p. 61. See also Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137.

54. Procopius of Caesarea, in his History of the Wars written in approximately 546, confirms that the Edessans dug a tunnel, experienced problems with starting a fire due to a lack of air in the underground chamber, and succeeded in setting a fire which spread to the Persian siege-works; however, he did not mention the intervention of any icon and he attributed the Edessans' victory to their own courage and resourcefulness. Segal, p. 77. Drews, pp. 64-66.

55. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 140. "From 544 onward, the prestige of the letter (of Jesus) began to decline in Edessa, and the icon's began to rise". Drews, p. 66.

56. Drews, p. 66.

57. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137.

58. Drews, p. 63.

59. According to the so-called "Festival Sermon", composed shortly after the Shroud was taken to Constantinople in 944, "...the sacred image helped to light the fire that destroyed the wall". See Drews, p. 58.

60. Such folding would result in the following top-to-bottom layered sequence: (1) dorsal image underside and dorsal image side; (2) dorsal image side and dorsal image underside; (3) ventral image underside and ventral image side; and (4) ventral image side and ventral image underside. See the theorized folding graphic which is depicted in Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, The Eastern Pre-History of the Relic, Contre-Reforme Catholique, No. 217, Eng. ed., p. 8 (March 1989). Dr. P. L. Baima Bollone examined the Shroud in 1978 and reported that the thickness of the fabric, depending upon the area and the traction, measured from 300 to 350 microns. Crispino, Dorothy, A Chronological Survey of Observations on the Shroud Textile, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 38/39, p. 26. Thus, the four-layered thickness of the Shroud, as folded at the time when it incurred this fire damage, would have measured from 1200 to 1400 microns.

61. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 137.

62. In accordance with Wilson's theory that the damage was caused by "deliberate rather than accidental" action (see Note 18).

63. See Note 10.

64. Far less likely, but nevertheless in accordance with Brother Bruno's theory (see Note 20), would be a scenario wherein the folded Shroud, while being carried through the subterranean passageway to the timber stack, was accidently damaged by pitch which dripped from an illumination torch, with the locations and degrees of the fire penetrations being merely a matter of circumstance.

65. According to the so-called "Festival Sermon", written immediately after the Image of Edessa's 944 arrival in Constantinople, the Evagrius account of the tunnel episode was attested to by three patriarchs. Drews, p. 58.

66. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 140. Drews, p. 66.

67. As previously noted (see Note 41), this "at the center of the huge jewelled cross in the apse of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, completed shortly before 549". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 141-142. In Emesa (Homs), Syria, there appeared, by about 570, a medallion portrait of a Shroudlike Christ on a silver vase. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 102. Wilson, The Blood and the Shroud, p. 141.

68. This terminology seems to have first been used in 569. Segal, p. 77. Wilson claims that it appears in no account earlier than that of Evagrius. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 140.

69. Segal, pp. 76-77. Drews, pp. 66-67.

70. See discussion hereinbefore and Note 37.

71. "The air of hallowed mystery ensured that the image of the body would lie unsuspected in the folds to await another era and men of a different city". Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, p. 147.

72. See Note 43. As to evidence of subsequent unfoldings of the cloth in Constantinople, see Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 155-172.



Top of PageMain MenuScientific Papers