The Red Stains on the Lier and Other Shroud Copies

By Remi Van Haelst, Belgium

Copyright 1997
All Rights Reserved
Reprinted by Permission


Ever since the earliest days of Christendom, the Shroud of Christ has been a most precious relic, which "palladium" was safeguarding rulers, nations and cities..... The image on the Shroud has been copied by numerous artists on countless icons. Today more than 50 copies of the Shroud of Turin are guarded in churches, museums and private collections in Italy, Spain, Portugal, USA, Argentina and Belgium. Even non "connoisseurs" will not have any trouble at all, to see that these copies are certainly not ""acheiropopoties"" but works of art, made by human hands. The best "hand made" copies were made in 1898, by Ruffo and Cusseti, both guarded today in Turin. Today some excellent full size photographs of the Shroud are placed in churches all over the world.

Since the days of the French revolution, the oldest copy of the Holy Shroud of Turin, dated 1516, is guarded in the vault of the vestry of the St. Gommaire church, in the lovely little town of Lier, situated in Belgium. Back in 1985, I had the opportunity to organize a private exhibition of the Lier shroud copy, for Rex Morgan. The results of my personal examination and research on the Lier copy, have been published by Mrs. Dorothy Crispino, in "Shroud Spectrum International". Recently, I examined the Lier copy and the archives of Lier and the St. Gommaire church. I am grateful to Mr. Coenen, archivist of Lier and Mr. J. Wear and Mr. M. Mees of the church of St. Gommaire, for their assistance in preparing this paper.

All documents, out of the archives of St. Gommaire, Lier, the National Library of Belgium and some French Archives will be published in the acts of the CIELT Symposium in Nice, May 12-14 1997. The "Actes du III ieme Symposium International" can be ordered from:

CIELT 50 Avenue des Ternes 75017 Paris France;
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The Lier shroud copy is a canvas, kept rolled around a baton, in an old wooden cylindrical casket, about 42 cm long, with a diameter of 4.3 cm, coated with black leather, bearing the traces of it's 500 years of age. The painting, sized 1.47x0.33 meter, is made on light yellow "Geneva" taffetas, a kind of plain, light but strong and flexible cotton fabric, woven one over one.

Technically, boiled silk, satin, cotton woven "one over one" are all a kind of taffeta. Another 1/3 Shroud copy, dated 1693, is guarded in the abbey of Montcalieri in Italy. This copy has been made "a genuine relic" by touching the original, by Msgr. Fossati, during the Shroud exhibition in 1933.

The FIRST piece of linen is represented by a double frontal-dorsal image of the body of a nude man, clearly a copy of the Shroud of Turin. The size of the body is 63 cm, the head 8 cm. This ratio corresponds with the "rule of thumb" the 1/8 ratio for classical beauty. The size of the painting is not exactly "pars tercia sindonis", "the third part" or a fraction of 0.333 of the Shroud venerated at that time in Chambery". This "pars tercia" can be the ratio between the length of both linens: 4.36/1.47 = 2.966. For the width one finds exactly a ratio of 1.10/0.33 = 3.333. The ratio between the body heights: 1.78/0.63 = 2.825. The oldest original notice about the Lier Shroud copy, is written by Joncker (squire) Richardus van Graezen, mayor of Lier, (+1621). In his chronicle "Gedenckwaerdighe Memorie van 1425 tot ende met het jaer 1582" (MS 11757 Royal Library Brussel Belgium) based on authentic documents and accounts of the town and the church of Lier, one finds on page 49 the following text: "In this abbey is guarded a valuable piece, to wit, the third part of the cloth or garment, in which Joseph of Arimatyen [Arimathea] wrapped the body of Our Redeemer, when it was taken down from the cross. It is a long cloth but narrow, and it seems to be of cotton and it somewhat brownish.

The SECOND piece is kept in Cameryx [Chambery] in Saphoyen [Savoy] but it is not told where the THIRD piece is kept. In the year 1516 a count came to Nazareth who gave this worthy piece as a valuable present.  From this document, one may assume, that mayor van Graezen (or his source) did not know his Latin well, because he interpreted the Latin text on the Lier copy "saltem est pars tercia Sindon" not like [one third of the Sindon] but like "one of three Sindons". There are also two shorter versions of the van Graezen chronic. The authors and dating are unknown.

Version A:
"In this abbey is kept a worthy jewel, to wit the third part of the cloth of garment, in which Joseph of Arimatia involved the body of Our Saviour, when he was taken down from the cross. Presented by a count, anno 1516 and it seems to be of brownish cotton."

Version B:
Only the closing sentence reads differently: "Presented by a count anno 1416 and it is brown and it seems to be of cotton."

Because of the CORRECTED interpretation of the Latin text, both of these documents, could be dated AFTER 1750 AD. Following Canon Thierry, probably the first to study the Lier copy in 1905, a public notary Berckmans, wrote about AD 1700, the following tantalizing note: Nazareth. (near Lier) Cistercian sisters. In this abbey is kept a precious piece, to wit, the third of a cloth or garment in which Joseph of Arimatheen [Arimathea] wrapped the body of Our Saviour when he was taken down from the Cross. It is a long cloth, but narrow and one would say of cotton, it is a bit brownish. The second piece is kept in Chambery in Savoy, but it is not known where the third piece is kept. In 1516 a count came to Nazareth where he gave the precious relic as a special gift.

I remember having read, I believe during the time of the Beggars, 1580-1582, when the bands threatened the convent of Nazareth, a nun hid this cloth under her scapular and went out to meet the enemy who turned on their heels, leaving the convent in peace.

Historical notes:
The convent of Nazareth de Citeaux, founded 1214 was situated at the left bank of the river Kleine Nete, close to gates of Lier. The large convent was sold during the French revolution is 1797. Today only one porch remains....In his French translation of the documents, Thierry notes that: In the year 1700 AD the precious piece was still conserved in the convent. He corrected also the inexact Latin translation. In the postscript he notes the name of Duke d'Alencon as the leader of the Beggars (or Calvinists) bands and dates the events on 3 March 1579, the day the convent of Nazareth was burned down by the heretics. Thanks to the energy of the abbess Jeanne Van Goerle, in function from 1567 to 1613, the religious returned to their shelter "intra muros" (behind the city walls); and the convent was re-established in 1610. From this text, one may assume, that notary Berckmans, probably a little bit weak in Latin, was not aware that [pars tercia] does NOT mean: "parted in three parts", but "one third part". He thus considered the Lier copy as the third PART of the in three parts parted ORIGINAL Shroud ! This is NOT impossible, because the Shroud copy of Ripalimosani (Italy) is divided into FOUR parts. Following ancient tradition, Christ has been buried in SEVERAL shrouds. A medieval drawing of such a burial scene is guarded in the archives of the abbey of de Citeaux (France). Following the visions of A.K.Emmerick, the outer shroud was a square cloth of about 2 meter per side. The body of Christ, wrapped in OTHER linens, was placed on the back, upon a diagonal of the square. The FOUR corners of the square were folded over the body. Only on the OUTER Shroud, the body imprints and bloodstains were recorded. Note well, that the frontal image is parted over the FOUR corners.....Later, at an unspecified time, TWO miraculous copies of the ORIGINAL Shroud were made (supposedly) NOT by human hands.. The first Shroud, with the image, was the one in Chambery. The history of the second copy is unknown. The third (original ?) was taken somewhere to Asia...This version is supported by documents about the Santiago del Estore (Spain) Shroud copy. Following the text, the ORIGINAL Shroud, involved in TWO cloths, had been in an unspecified fire. After the fire, one found on the TWO cloths, the reproduction of the imprints on the original Shroud. One of these miraculous copies was given by Philips II, King of Spain (1556-1598) to the convent of Santiago del Estore. The history of the other copy remains unknown.

Following canon Thierry, the source of notary Berckmans were archives dating back to the XVth century. Which is probably a mistake, because XVth century documents could not have mentioned events dated 1516. However, it is quite possible that notary Berckmans, copied from a document which bears indeed the date 1416. (Town Archives Lier). Today we are cleaver enough, to understand, that whoever wrote the note given by notary Berckmans, did not know much about the history of the Shroud. It is naturally quite possible that the notary did not translate the Latin text on the Lier copy, but copied from documents in the town or church archives.

At my request, Mr. De Keyser of the Lier municipal archives, searched in 1985, the Berckmans books and found NO traces of the document in the SEVEN volumes, each -+ 500 pages, hand-written: "Notitieboeck ....." dated 1750. In the Berckman books, one reads exactly what one may expect in such papers: Deeds about real estates, testaments. We do not know where Canon A. Thierry did verify the documents. It is quite possible, that he forgot to replace Volume N° 8 and other documents at their proper place. And indeed, in 1997, I searched in vain through the Berckmans volumes in the municipal archives of Lier. In volume N° 4, on page 394, I found the last will, dated 1525, of father J. Bisschoppen, canon of St. Gommaire. But no trace of the Lier copy. To my surprise, I only found SEVEN volumes. According to the town archivist, Mr. Coenen, volume N° 8 was probably the document KA126/1 of the church archive of St. Gommaire. I contacted the church archivist, Mr. Marc Mees, and together we searched through the church archive. We found the Berckman volume N° 8. The book was severely damaged and several pages are missing. Amidst such illustrious names as Emperor Charles V, Philip, King of Spain and others, we found no traces of the history of the Lier Shroud copy, nor the events cited by canon Thierry.....Mr. Mees, preparing for my visit, found in the archives, another well preserved copy of the van Graezen chronic, copied by J.F. Verbruggen, to be AFTER 1750 AD. (Now catalogued K.A. 125/2/B. Folio 43v Document 1B).

The Lier copy is attributed, by several famous Shroud historians, to TWO famous painters: Mainly to Albrecht Durer and Bernard van Orley, court painters of Maximilian of Austria.

In 1933, Don Tonelli attributed the Lier copy to Albrecht Durer. Even the well informed frere Bruno Bonnet-Eymard states in a little booklet, in which he gives information about a wonderful dia-slides series on the Shroud, that Durer painted the Lier copy. A well known Flemish sinodonologist, father Uten also attributes the Lier copy to Durer. (1955). On which grounds are these assumptions based? There are TWO documents, dated 1652, catalogued in the church archives of St. Gommaire (KA 132/48).The handwriting on the assumed original is more difficult to read, than the assumed copy. This document reads as follows:

From the Holy Tomb of Our Lord, one cloth which has always been kept in the greatest honour to us one cloth, and we hold by tradition that when the malicious soldiers meant to trouble the convent, a nun taking the holy gravecloth with her and went out to meet the soldiers to ask them what they desired. The soldiers, defeated, said to her: " We intended to cause much evil but now we cannot do it for we do not know what is the matter with us". And they went away. Another time, the Lord Confessor taking the burial cloth, went to the big church where there was one possessed. The Lord Confessor touched the burial cloth against the back of the one possessed, who instantly started to cry out: "The burial cloth of the Lord", making a great clamour like some one being tortured." (Transcription by Mr. M. Mees, English translation Miss Dorothy Crispino).

Following the other transcription (Drymans IV. 83) from the assumed original old Flemish text, which is in fact difficult to read, the words [grooten Eeren] were probably read as: "great Durer". An error kept alive in time, even found in today s Tourist Guidebooks, and the inventory of the church treasure.. And in many Shroud books ! In reality, the only connection with Durer, is that the Lier copy, is probably made after a preliminary draft for some unknown work of Durer. The symmetrical frontal and dorsal reference points, lead to the assumption, that a "portrait automate", has been used to reproduce paintings at 1/3 size. Such a machine, invented and used by Albrecht Durer, may have been used to sketch the outline of the Lier copy. (Alberti Durer, Institutionum Libri Quator). Others do believe, that a master transparent model has been used. This old method is still used by craftsman, to restore old woodcut work from the original design documents. The shape of the face on the Lier copy, shows some points of consonance with other portraits of Christ, made by Durer, who used often the "face of Christ represented on the shroud of Abgar" better known as the "shroud of Perouse." But the same model was used also by the Flemish painter Quinten Matsys and others. Today, one can admire several representations of the face of Christ from the master-hand of Durer, in the museums of Dresden, Rome, Florence and all over the world. And if one looks very closely at a self-portrait of young Durer, one may even find, some points of congruence with the POSITIVE negative, Secundo Pia saw for the first time in 1898.........One can be sure, that Durer never saw the work of Pia and Enrie...But it is unthinkable to compare the masterworks of Durer with the rather poorly executed painting guarded in Lier. Nevertheless, experts do find some points to support the attribution of the Lier copy to Durer. On the Lier copy, there are TWO texts, in bad Latin and vulgar German, spoken at that time, in the environs of Nurenberg. It is not known, if the Latin and the German texts are from the same hand that made the painting. The German text on the Lier copy is written in a Nurenberg slang, used by Durer, born in Nurenberg, on several other paintings. In this dialect, the letter b at the beginning of a word, is replaced by the letter p. The same goes for the letter v, which is replaced by ph.

Some examples:
The portrait of Bernard van Orley, who's name is written by Durer as ""Pern". (Albertinum Art Gallery Dresden). The legend under painting N° 1871 reads NOT Bernard van Orley, but Bernard van Reesen ! The portrait of Michael Wolgemut, his 82 year old teacher. The text reads: " Dat has albrecht durer ab conterfet nach seine Lermeister michel wolgemut im jor 1516 und er was 82 jor und has gelebt pis [=BIS] das man zelet 1519 jor. Do is ferschieden an sant endres Dag fru ee dy sun auff gyng".

"This has been painted by Albrecht Durer, in the year 1516, after his teacher Michael Wolgemut, age 82, who lived till the year 1519. He died piously on the day of St.Andreas at sunrise." The portrait of his wife Agnes Frey, made in the town of Poppard [=BOPPARD], on the river Rhine. The German text on the Lier copy contains several specific Nuerenberger slang words. In the German text of the Lier copy, alongside the canvas, one reads: (The words in slang are in capitals, with the modern German version between brackets): Des SUN [sohn] Gottes Jhesus Cristus unser erlosser. ist nach seine PITERN [bittern] tod in ain rain tuch gelegt. Und PEGRABE [begrabe] worde. In WOLHEM [welchen] er aufz gotlicher krafft diser gstalt gleich sein MENTLICHE [mensliche] PILDUNG [bildung] hat gelassen. Diss hailig tuch wirt alle jar auf nachste Tag, nach Ineuco crucis zu CAME RNACH [Chambery] in SAPHOY [Savoy] gezaigt mit andacht duch wunderzaiche WURCKE [wercke] gesechen.Z.C.

The translation, as literally as possible, reads:
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, Our Saviour. Is after his bitter death been laid down in one clean cloth. And buried. In which, by divine power, the figure of his humanlike stature has been left. This holy cloth is each year, the day after (Ineuco Christi) the finding of the Cross, in (Camerach) Chambery in (Saphoy) Savoy attentively showed and blessed with miraculous works."

The day after Ineuco Christi is the fifth day of May. The signature Z.C. is unknown and does certainly not refer to Durer van Orley or any other artist of some fame. Following canon Thierry, the sign Z.C. stands for "et cetera". Between the two heads, one can read a Latin text. Most of the Latin texts on paintings by Durer, are written by Willibald Pirchaemer, who used a very peculiar style: A combination of three two liners, into a single verse. (distichones)
The Latin text on the Lier copy is made up in this style.
(1) Exanimu Christi ; pius in qua corpus Jesu
(2) A cruce depositum ; involerat ipse Joseph
(3) Sindonis hoc vere ; saltem est pars tercia Sindon
(4) (Quippe hoc ; ter maior corpore Jesus erat)
(5) Huius / que mortis lec tor te instigat acerbe
(6) Qua pro te misero plasmate sponte tulit. Z

The sign in the form of the letter Z may be an indication, that both Latin and German texts are from the same hand. This woolly text contains many errors, that attributing this verse to Pirchaemer, is almost an insult.The word [tercia] on line three, should be TERTIA.The word [que] on the fifth line, should be QUAE.

The word [que] instead of [quea] is, following some Latin experts in this kind of verse, not an error. After the genitive (5) "Huius / que mortis" does not follow a principal sentence. After "instigat" does not follow an infinitive. So one only can assume, that the reader is urged on, to "contemplate" the death of Christ. But this is not written ! Literal translation of this text is meaningless. Only experts can turn this text into legible language. So I asked count J. Plantin de Moretus to "decode" this Latin text. First, he had to put the "distichones" in the proper order: 3-4-2-1-5-6 and than he rearranged the text.

The English translation reads: This is really the sindonis, at least one third part of the sindon, because the stature of Jesus was three times taller. The pius Joseph himself involved in this, the death body of Christ, taken down from the cross. May his death, which He suffered freely, instigate strongly, you reader and miserable creature.

But there are strong arguments against the attribution to Durer.I searched several art books about Durer. I found no mention about a Shroud copy from his hand. Durer painted several faces of Christ. In the Museum of Rome, one can admire today, a face of Christ, painted in 1516 by Durer.. I also searched Durer's diary, kept during his journey through the Netherlands (1520-1521). After the death of his patron Maximilian (12 January 1519), Durer did not receive further commissions from the court and a difficult period began for the artist. Durer started an ambulant workshop and exhibited, all over the land, his own and other artists works. During these journeys, he made a great number of portraits, for which he many times, was not paid....

Durer left Nurnberg for the Netherlands in 1520. His aim, was to present a supplication to Marguerite, daughter of the late Maximilian, for continuation of support. In his diary, he notes all events expenses and gains to the last "stuiver" (penny or dime).....Durer took lodgings at an inn in Antwerp. His request was handed over to Lady Marguerite on Thursday after St. Kilian. (8 July 1520). But Lady Margeurite did not react. Durer painted portraits for all who asked him. Again often he was not paid. In "Prussel" [= BRUSSELS], he painted six portraits, but none of his clients paid him. In Antwerp, Durer did paint a VERONIQUE, a face of Christ for Franscico of Portugal and another, much better, for Brandon, consul of Portugal. For each of these TWO OIL paintings on canvas, Durer was paid 12 philippus. The normal cost of a SMALL painting. Larger paintings did cost about double. Note that the Lier painting is made with tempera waterpaint. Also noted is his ordering of TWO wooden cylinders, coated with black leather, probably suitable for travelling. One can assume that one of these cylinders was used to deliver the Lier and the other for the Xagebras copy ??? Anyway, the Lier copy is guarded in such a cylinder. In the whole diary there is not a single mention of a Shroud copy !

About a year later, Durer's friend Bernard van Orley, court-painter of Margeurite of Austria, Governess of the Netherlands, finally arranged a reception for Durer at the palace in Mechelen, Friday, eight days after Corpus Christi of the year 1521. Durer noted in his diary, this visit to the palace of Margeurite of Austria. Lady Margeurite showed him her collection, all her beautiful things.... forty little oil paintings of great beauty. Durer asked her for a favour: a book of Jacopo [= de Barbari], but she had promised this already to her court-painter.. (Probably Bernard van Orley). To please Margeurite, Durer brought with him, a portrait, made in 1518 from life, of her father, the late emperor Maximilian. (Now in the Nurnberg Museum).But Lady Margeurite was so displeased with the portrait, that Durer took it back with him. Anyway, Margeurite's treasurer, a member of the well-known banking family Ziegler, bought one of the paintings, named "ein toden, liegende Xgu. Drei florint" [A dead, lying Christ, three florins]. At the end of his journey, Durer wrote in his diary, that his journey had been unsuccessful. Lady Margeurite did not take him into her service and did not pay him for all the art works she had ordered from him. Durer wrote: "and in particular lady Margeurite, who gave me nothing in return for what I offered and made for her".

The Lier painting is also attributed to Bernard van Orley, house-painter at the court of Maximilian of Austria since 1518. After the death of the emperor, (1519) Bernard van Orley stayed in the service of his AUNT Margeurite . One may assume, that Margeurite, devoted to the Holy Shroud of Our Lord, ever since her short marriage with Duke Philibert of Savoy (+1504) had in her possession, at least ONE Shroud copy, which she venerated daily in her own private chapel. The presence of a GERMAN text makes it very unlikely, that the Lier copy was made for Margeurite of Austria, daughter of Maximilian I of Habsburg and Mary of Burgundy, born 1480, because she did NOT know the GERMAN language. She received at the French castle of Amboise, a FRENCH education, together with other royal children, one of whom was her future (second) husband Philibert, of Savoy. If she ordered another Shroud copy, in 1516, this was probably intended to be a present to her father or somebody else. Because of the German text, this was probably a German speaking person. The attribution to Bernard van Orley is supported by a payment of 10 philippus for a SAINT SUAIRE. The price of 10 philippus, indicates that the painting was a small one, because for larger paintings the normal price was 25-30 philippus. Margeurite of Austria, ordered a copy of the Shroud for which she paid in 1521, 10 philippus to her court-painter Bernard van Orley, for a "Holy Shroud painted upon white taffetas ". (Archives of Lille. Comptes Jean de Marnix 1521).

At my request, Mr. Claude Lannette, Director of the Lille Archives, searched the records of Margeurite's expenses from 1515 to 1530, the year she passed away. Several painting by Bernard van Orley are mentioned, but not the Shroud copy, cited in 1887 by Wauters and also Altmeyer. Mr. Lannette pointed out, that Jean de Marnix, seigneur de Toulouse was only Margeurite's treasurer for ONE year, in 1527. Mr. Raffard de Brienne, president of CIELT, who lives in Lille, told me, that many documents are not registered, and to search the archives would be a time consuming task. Anyway such a Shroud is again noted in an inventory of the goods of Margeurite, dated 1523, in view of her move Mechelen to Brussels.

The portrait of the Holy Shroud of Our Lord. Made on toille. (Les 500 Colberts 128 Folio 79 (M.F.32787) B.N. Paris. Are both items dated 1521 and 1523, about the same Shroud copy, dated 1516 ? It is possible, because van Orley had the strange habit, to date his work with the year, the painting was ordered.. Probably a little hint, for getting paid after all. The Lier copy can also be a simple pilgrimage souvenir, from a Nurnberger pilgrim, who marked afterward, that he was in Camerach in Saphoy, the day after "Inueco crucis" (Finding of the Cross is 4 May) in the year 1516. Note, in that time, the Shroud was exhibited publicly once a year !

Despite these documents, let there be no doubt ! Any connoisseur, examining the rather poorly executed Lier painting, will reject without any doubt, the attribution to famous masters like Durer, van Orley or any other painter of some fame. Even assuming, that the artist was confused by the UNKNOWN phenomenon (at that time) of a NEGATIVE image, this still would not explain the childish errors. The artist and the ORIGIN of the Lier-copy are UNKNOWN.

In 1503, in honour of Margeurite's brother Philip the Handsome, returning from a voyage to Spain, passing through Bourg-en-Bresse, the Shroud was carried by Philibert of Savoy and his wife Margeurite to that city. An eye-witness of this exhibition was Messire Antoine de Lalaing, Lord of Montigny, who gave us a description of this exhibition on Friday, 14 April 1503: "The Shroud is, I believe the most devotional and contemplative thing on earth. It is the rich SYDOINE and noble Shroud bought by Joseph of Arimathea.. The Shroud is soaked with the precious blood of Jesus, Our Saviour and one sees that still very clearly, despite that she has been soiled. One sees clearly the representation of His whole Holy Body: head, mouth, eyes, nose, hands, feet and the FIVE wounds, in particular, the wound between the ribs, about half a foot long and very bloody... " He noted that the authenticity of the Shroud has been confirmed by a test with fire, boiling in oil and also laundered many times, but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image." In 1504, when Margeurite was again left a widow, she placed a small part of the Shroud in the tomb of her late husband, the Duke of Savoy. Margeurite of Austria, despite her devotion to the Shroud, did not take possession of the relic. She relinquished custody of the Shroud to the dowager-duchess Claude de Bresse de Bretagne, widow of the late Duke Philip II of Savoy. This lady took the Shroud to her castle in the Ain. Until 1506 the Shroud was venerated at this castle, by three princesses: Margeurite of Austria, Claude de Bretagne and her daughter. One may assume that Margeurite did follow the example of other princesses at the Savoy court and had made her own personal Shroud copy. Blanche de Montferrat, had her own copy, made genuine by touching the copy with the original. Following an inventory of 1519, this Shroud was painted in gold. In 1506 the Shroud was returned to the Royal Chapel. We know that Margeurite ordered by the Flemish silversmith Lievin van Lathem, a silver reliquary, costing 12,000 gold crowns. The Shroud was placed in this reliquary in 1509.This reliquary was destroyed in the fire of 1532, during which the Shroud was severely damaged. In 1515, prince Charles, born 1500, received, at the age of 15, the reign over the Netherlands, where his aunt Margeurite of Austria was Governess. In 1516 prince Charles received the title of Duke of Brabant. Later, in 1519 he became better known as emperor Charles V, ruler over an empire in which the sun never sets. This motto is represented by the monogram A.E.I.O.U. (Austriae Est Imperium Orbis Universi or Alles Erdreich is Oestereich Unthertan). (Translation: All the world is Austria's subject.)

In 1518, Messire de Lalaing was granted the title of count. When Maximilian died in 1519, his daughter Margeurite appointed the imperial counsellor, count de Lalaing to her own court. Because Margeurite of Austria and her confident de Lalaing were BOTH devoted to the Holy Shroud, it is possible, that Margeurite GAVE the Shroud copy she inherited from her father, to her confident. In this way, it is possible that count de Lalaing was indeed the count who later gave the precious relic to the convent of Nazareth. Another possibility is, that Margeurite of Austria, ordered the Shroud copy in 1516, as a present to the town of Lier, by the occasion of the reception of prince Charles. Messire de Lalaing was attending Maximilian and his daughter Margeurite of Austria, Governess of the Netherlands, present at the stately reception of her nephew, the young prince Charles of Luxembourg, by the township of Lier in 1516. By the occasion of the solemn entry of prince Charles, in the town of Lier, a series of FIVE stained glass windows were offered to the church of St.Gommaire. Three were offered by the emperor and two by other nobles. This stained glass was made following a series of portraits made by the stained glass artist Nicholaas Rombouts, after cartoons by Bernard van Orley, court-painter of emperor Maximilian. Represented are, with their coat of arms: King Philip the Handsome of Spain and his wife Joanne. Their two sons: Charles and Ferdinand. Their four daughters. Emperor Maximilian, of Austria and his wife Mary of Burgundy. Count de Lalaing and his wife.

For us, the most important window (Nr 4) represents: The late Duke Philibert of Savoy and his wife Margeurite of Austria. Canon Thierry described this window, in 1905, as "Margeurite qui donnait le Suaire" which means: "Margeurite who gave the Shroud." Did the window really show Margeurite handing over the Shroud copy to the township of Lier ? We will never know, as the windows of St.Gommaire were ruined during a German bombardment in 1914 and only restored in 1937. I studied the window closely, the only thing I can be sure of, is that I see AFTER Margeurite's fingers a kind of ermine coated cylinder. BOTH of Margeurite's hands pass OVER the LEFT ermine hem of her cloak. She definitely does NOT hold anything in her hands. But the left hem, inclined about 45 degrees, is STRAIGHT and about two times larger than the falling down undulating hems on the other side and on the sleeve. An inaccuracy of the restorer ? Or was canon Thierry right after all ?

Another possibility is that the Lier painting is one of the two copies of the Shroud, ordered by Emperor Maximilian. (Thus BEFORE his death in 1519). The order was given to TWO painters, working at the same time, after the SAME model, which was certainly NOT the real Shroud. One undated copy was offered by Emperor Maximilian of Austria to his niece Dona Elonora, abbess of the convent of Xabregas, now guarded in the National Museum (Lisbon. Portugal). This copy is of the same length as the original Shroud and it is notified that she has been brought in direct contact with the original. The artist was confused by the negativeness of the Shroud. The eyes are little dots giving the face a somewhat startled expression. The corners of the mouth turndown woefully, as if the artist mistook the moustache for the mouth. The forked beard is very pronounced. There are no thumbs visible. The left hand lies over the right wrist. The left foot lies over the right foot. On the dorsal side, the heels are NOT represented, because the painter depicted the TOES, crossed right over left ! The nose, temples and other protuberances are represented dark, in contradiction with most other Shroud copies. The hair has nine strands. Above both ankles, a kind of fetters are shown. But the most strange is the chain over the back. This chain is also represented on several other Shroud copies. Probably an artist's interpretation of what today is referred to as the "bloody belt", the bloodstream on the back, possibly caused by the blood stream spilled out of the side wound. The series of holes are also depicted, but the four marks are represented four times by RED dots, almost in oblique lines, swinging toward the outer-limits of the canvas.

From all this, one can conclude that the Xabregas copy is not the work of any master painter and not a copy from the Lier shroud copy. In his book "Historia Serafica" Fernando da Soledad, tells a legend about TWO paintings, made by TWO painters, at the order of Emperor Maximilian of Austria. Afraid, because of their incompetence to reproduce the beauty of the image of the Redeemer, they left their canvasses untouched and went away. When they returned, they found their painting already done and it was impossible to distinguish the two miraculous copies from the real Shroud. This was also the opinion of the patriarch of Jerusalem, when he visited the Poor Clare nuns of Xabregas in 1579.

Upon the light-yellow cotton taffetas canvas, is painted the double frontal and dorsal image of a dead man. A Latin text between the two heads and a German text alongside one side of the canvas. On the other side, the date 1516. Except for the crossed feet, the image on the Lier copy, looks a bit like the representations of the "Sudarium vero Bisontinum (Besancon) and the "Sindon Taurinensis (Turin) given by de Chifflet with the Latin text: "Sindon Taurinensis resort corpus Christi ereuntum, et recens de Cruce depostium ; Sudarium vero Bisontium exhibit illud idem iam lotum ac perunitum, et in sepulchre compositum". (1624).

Translation: The Turin Sindon shows the body of Christ, taken down recently. The TRUE Besancon Sudarium exhibits the same, but washed in the sepulchre. Note that following de Chifflet BOTH Sindon and Suderium are genuine ! The Besancon Sudarium shows only the frontal image of a naked Christ, while the Turin Sindon shows a double image, with a Christ wearing a loin-cloth.

Details of the Lier copy.
The artist painted exactly what he saw, using only ONE paint for the body image: a dark reddish-brown waterpaint, prepared following the Venetian tradition, using the white of an egg as a binder. The differences in colour-intensity, are due to the application of the paint in layers. The nose and upper parts of the face and body are very dark, in time almost turned to black. The double image is undoubtedly a copy of the faint NEGATIVE image on the Shroud. Therefore, all is shown in reverse. The wounds, not correctly situated, are depicted in CRIMSON RED. Was this painted in concordance with the descriptions of the Shroud, from the hand of count de Lalaing and father Zantvliet? The wounds caused by the scourging and the thorns are almost invisible. The nail wounds are placed in BOTH palms. The ugh lance wound is situated in the WRONG place. The five strands of hair on the dorsal image are not in concordance with the faint pig-tail on the Shroud. The toes of the right foot are not in line with the foot axis. The feet, crossed left over right, are represented in a rather childish way ! The toes are also, less pronounced, but also very unnaturally, represented on the dorsal image. From these differences, one may assume, that the Lier copy was NOT copied from the Shroud, but probably from memory or after a description or some sketchy outline. A series of pin-pricks alongside the hands, indicate the use of a model. But the feet are depicted so unnaturally that it becomes hard to believe, that once, the Lier copy has been attributed to master painters like Durer or van Orley. Following Paul Vignon, the anomaly of the crossed feet, is an indication that the painting is the work of an artist of the Flemish school. Closely examining the Lier copy, one will see FOUR groups of CRIMSON RED spots, aside from the frontal and dorsal body image. Three groups of FOUR stains in an irregular L-shape and one alongside the LEFT side of the frontal image of THREE stains in line. The short legs of the L-shape are directed in the three possible directions toward the outer-limits of the canvas. These stains are also present in various ways and number, on the Shroud copies of Xabregas (Undated), Alcay (1571), Guadaloupe (1588), Navarette (1588), Rome (1692 San Giuda) and on some miniatures in the works of C. Dutch, Pingon and Paleotto. But NOT on the Cluny medal, as assumed by many scholars, confusing the extremities of the loin cloth and a blemish above the frontal image on the medal, with the holes on the Shroud. A visual inspection by Miss Dorothy Crispino, using a magnifying glass, did show that there is no sign whatsoever of those four marks on the medal. Of importance, is the fact that the holes are represented by 2x2 circles, only on the dorsal side of an etching on silk by P. Boglietto, representing an exhibition of the Shroud, in the presence of THREE princesses of Savoy: Mary-Adelaide, Mary-Anne and Mary- Ludovica. (Nr. 28 Treasure Room St.Truiden convent. Belgium).

It is quite normal that a painter making a copy of the Shroud, will use RED paint to depict bloody wounds, coloured following pope Sixtus IV (1480), with the GENUINE blood of Christ. Maybe the artist who painted the Lier copy, was guided by the words of the Benedictine monk Corneille Zantvliet, which recorded the Chimay Shroud exhibition in 1449: "tamquam ex recentibus vulneribus rubore sanguinolento inticti.." Which means literally: "as if they, because of the fresh wounds were painted with the red colour of blood..." And Zantvliet repeats: "..pedes et manus et latus videbantur rubore sanguinolento inticti.." Which means: "..hands and feet and side seem to be painted with the red colour of blood.." This is not in accordance with the description of the bloodstains on the Shroud, AFTER the 1532 fire, given in 1891 by L. Bouchage relating the repairs made by the Poor Clares in 1534. "Large drops of blood tangled in the hair.... Blood drops as large as marjoram leaves..." But no mention of CRIMSON RED bloodstains."

Today, the Shroud of Turin does not show any more the red colour of fresh blood. It is quite possible that the colour of the wounds and bloodstains have been enhanced, by fresh blood or even by crimson red paint, for the sole purpose to affect people during the exhibitions. But these assumptions have been definitely rejected by examinations of Dr. Barbet (1935) and STURP.(1978)

Note: I studied the original Lier painting and the excellent full-size Shroud photocopy in the Capuchin convent of Brugge (Belgium). On this copy, it was impossible to single out the smaller holes from stains. The reason is the presence of the Holland backing cloth. The final observations are based on the Barrie Schwortz transparencies showing the Shroud in transmitted light. Here the holes and some stains are shown very clearly.

Top 2 images: "L Shaped" holes - Dorsal half. Bottom 2 images: "L Shaped" holes - Ventral half.
Several of these are actually stitched to the Holland cloth, visible through the holes.
© 1978 Barrie M. Schwortz

Also studied were the series of detailed photographs by B. Schwortz (on diskettes), of the areas in which are situated the burn-holes assumed "prior 1532". On the dorsal side of the Shroud, one sees two SYMMETRICAL groups of FOUR large holes, showing an irregular L-shape, surrounded by several tiny ASYMMETRICAL holes and stains. The holes alongside the dorsal image are much bigger than the holes alongside the frontal image, where the holes become very small, some almost invisible. On the frontal side, alongside the RIGHT side of the image, THREE smaller holes in line. On the LEFT side THREE tiny holes in line. Both series of SYMMETRICAL holes are surrounded by a number of stains. The larger holes are surrounded by an almost uniform black edge, but some smaller holes ARE NOT situated in the centre of the scorched area. On the Lier copy, there are 15 RED stains of about the same configuration. On the Shroud of Turin, the sharp L-shaped formations, situated at about 27 cm from the edge of holes are directed towards the outer limits of the linen. The position of the red stains on the Lier and the other copies, do NOT match the position of the FOUR almost symmetrical series of 4-4-3-3 holes, in between a number of ASYMMETRICAL (blood or singe ?) stains on the Shroud of Turin. On the Shroud, the size of the legs of the L-shaped formations are about 13.5 and 10 cm. On the Lier copy the L-shape is sharper and the legs are + 3 and 2.4 cm. Which is the equivalent of only 9.3 and 7.4 cm on the Shroud. On the "folding map", based on the Chambery fire, by Dr. B. Bollone (Page 70 in his book "Sindone O No.) one can situate the holes and stains on the Shroud..

Dorsal R
Dorsal L
Frontal R
Frontal L

It is clear, that only the LARGEST holes, but not the SMALLER holes and certainly NOT the groups of stains are SYMMETRICAL. Based on these observations, one can conclude, that fold 46/35, where the largest holes are situated, was the top layer, during the incident, which caused the holes.


For canon de Thiery, (1902) these stains are reference points, used by the painter, when copying the image from a transparent mastercopy. He only notes 10 red stains instead of the 15 one sees today on the Lier copy. In 1933, the Shroud was examined by Don Tonelli. He did examine all scorches on the Shroud and came to the conclusion, that the holes have been caused by fire during an incident BEFORE 1532. This conclusion was based on the fact, that a symmetrical position of the holes is EXCLUDED by the fact, that during the Chambery fire, the Shroud was folded in 48 layers. Don Tonelli pointed out that the burn holes predating 1532 were NOT repaired by the Poor Clares. Only the FIVE largest holes were stitched onto the backing cloth.

In this excellent study, it is noted that the BLACK EDGED holes in the Shroud were represented like RED stains by C. Dutch (1559), Archbishop Paleotto (1598) and that Durer did the same on the Lier copy. Naturally, one may wonder, why the Poor Clares did NOT cover the holes existing BEFORE the Chambery fire. Don L. Fossati assumes that, because of the low visibility in dark churches and rooms during exhibitions, once confused, probably misguided by old traditions, taught that the BLACK EDGED burn holes were bloodstains. Are such objections acceptable for medieval keepers and modern Shroud scholars ???? My answer is NO. But one may wonder, if so many artists, who depicted the Shroud were not reproducing, NOT the holes, but the precious RED blood of Our Lord, alongside the body image ? Alas, the 1532 Chambery fire did efface most of the traces of earlier fires. A fact, not always taken in account by all Shroud scholars. Only the outer holes and some of the stains were not directly affected by the fire, but we do not know if the colour of the stains has not been darkened by heat or faded in time.

We only can guess, because until now, none of these assumptions are supported by concrete historical evidence. The late Prof. Jerome Lejeune also examined the Lier copy and came to the conclusion, that the painter (who was NOT Durer) TAUGHT the black edged holes on the Shroud, to be spots of blood. Prof. Lejeune, found on the Pray Codex, (Dated 1192) evidence that the holes on the Shroud of Turin date BEFORE the XII th.century. In the acts of the CIELT Shroud Symposium Rome 1993, Lejeune did compare photos, about the same seize, of the Shroud and the Lier copy. He used a folding model, to show that four series of holes do indeed match. (Photos on pages 104-106 of the Acts Rome 1993). My personal reconstruction of his experiments with a photo of the Shroud confirmed the findings of Prof. Lejeune. This can easily be checked by folding a large photo of the Shroud in FOUR, so that the four CORNERS of the L shape can be pierced through with one needle. Only the outer tiny hole aside the right frontal image does not match the two other holes alongside the dorsal image. Certainly, these SYMMETRICAL holes on the Shroud do date from another time, BEFORE 1532. But one may wonder, why are the red stains on the Lier and other copies NOT SYMMETRICAL and why did the painter use CRIMSON RED to depict the FOUR groups of BLACK EDGED holes, visible today, on the SHROUD of Turin ? Did the painters not represent the ASYMMETRICAL stains, situated in between the SYMMETRICAL holes, which one can see on the Shroud ? Maybe the painter made the outline after the description given by Count de Lalaing, or somebody else who saw the Shroud. Maybe the RED stains on the Shroud, were reproduced in RED, because they were by tradition venerated, long before 1532, as the GENUINE blood of Christ and assumed to be a sign of authenticity. The manufacturers of Shroud copies, BEFORE 1578 were NOT mistaken, but reproducing, the RED stains alongside the body on the Shroud, assumed by tradition, to be the BLOOD of Christ.

Scientifically speaking, the identity of the man, once buried in the Shroud, will remain an enigma. From scientific examination, one only may be certain that the stains on the Shroud are not red paint but decomposed brownish human blood type AB. But from the descriptions of count de Lalaing and father Zantvliet we may assume, that once, the RED bloodstains on the Shroud, did catch the eye and were probably more visible. No one after 1532 viewed the Shroud  the same way count de Lalaing described the very bloody Shroud. Today we see only a number of black edged holes, scorch marks and stains. These holes were not repaired or covered with patches. The FIVE largest holes are stitched onto the Holland backing cloth. These holes and stains, OUTSIDE the image on the Shroud, are considered by most Shroud scholars to be traces of burn marks, caused by the spilling of essence, while the FOUR folded Shroud was used as an altar cloth BEFORE 1532. A custom, originated in the early days of Christendom. Not many today know today, that the clean altar cloth, bearing FIVE red crosses, following a bull of pope Sylvester, represents ever since the IV th. century, the clean Shroud in which was buried the body of Our Saviour !

Another version, supported by the description of Count de Lalaing is, that the FOUR folded Shroud has been tested by fire, probably with a HOT poker, run through the non symmetrical RED bloodstains, alongside the only partial visible body image. These bloodstains were probably chosen, because one believed that the Holy Blood of Our Lord was the best place to test the authenticity of the relic. Anyway this assumption explains the symmetrical holes and admits the non symmetrical stains. This version, is also supported by the fact, that the holes are gradually smaller in function of the linen, being folded in four and the cooling down of the poker. The application of such an ordeal is a problem: Ordeals were not allowed anymore since the Council of Worms (AD 868) and strictly forbidden by canon 18 of the Council of Laterane (AD 1215). This could date the "ordeal" before 868. But one may not forget, that the "Sindon Munda" of Carcasonne has passed such an ordeal in the year AD 1544. There are several historical recorded ordeals, during which the Shroud could have been damaged. Bishop Babylas of Antioch, described a test by fire, FIVE generations AFTER Christ. A test by fire, in 675 AD, ordered by the Saracen king Mahuvia, stadtholder of Syria, is described by Bede and de Chifflet. The king, probably the FOURTH caliph Moawija, (reign 661-680) ordered this test, to solve a never ending dispute between two groups of Jew's, claiming the ownership of the Shroud. Certainly, hot pokers were not used, because the Shroud was tested in an open fire or by setting a house on fire. The Shroud flew up in the air and came down UNDAMAGED among the Christian Jews. It is also quite possible, that the Shroud had been damaged during the fire of the Besancon cathedral, in 1349. If count Lalaing, is right about the ordeal, the Shroud is historically much older than the famous Memorandum of bishop d'Arcis (1398) and the radiocarbon age of 690 years.


The ventral image of the Shroud viewed with transmitted light (head at left)
© 1978 Barrie M. Schwortz
In 1932, studying the "burn holes prior to 1532" on the new photos by Enrie, C. Perche spotted the ABSENCE of a "halo" on these holes. He concluded that these holes were caused by a FAST and OPEN fire, probably by a HOT poker. The conclusion of Perche was confirmed in 1978 by modern science. During the STURP tests in 1978, the Gilbert's, B. Schwortz, M. Evans and V. Miller made detailed photographs of almost every particularity of the Shroud. Some of the photos by Barrie Schwortz were made with transmitted light. Here one sees literally THROUGH the Shroud. The image of the body and the serum stains become almost invisible. The water and bloodstains on the frontal and dorsal sides of the Shroud are darkly marked. The burn holes, predating 1532, are strangely WHITE and easy to count on the REDDISH Shroud. I assumed that this reddish colour was caused by the red silk wrapping cloth shining through the Shroud. Barrie Schwortz gives the following exact explanation: "The reddish appearance of the Shroud comes from the absorption of the blue part of the light spectrum by the double thickness of linen cloths, allowing more red light to be transmitted to the film. The color and contrast can also be influenced by the duplication of the photographs, film processing, etc. This is particularly evident if you are not viewing the original film. The red silk wrapping cloth, stitched to the Shroud along the long edge, was rolled up and tucked away under one edge of the table. When the panels of the table were removed for the transmitted light photography, the light passed ONLY through the Holland backing cloth and the linen of the Shroud. The WHITE areas are small unpatched holes in the Shroud, where only the Holland backing cloth shows through. The majority of the Shroud, doubled with the Holland backing cloth, required a longer exposure time. The few places where only the Holland cloth shows through transmitted more than twice as much light and therefore registered almost WHITE on the film, relative to the rest of the cloth."

(Editor's Note: I have added the following graphic to better illustrate the various densities on the transmitted light images)

The Transmitted Light Image Densities
© 1997 Barrie M. Schwortz

A problem is, that in transmitting light, (probably due to the long exposure time) not all known bloodstains show the same optical opacity and that brownish serum stains do become almost invisible. (Editor's Note: This is more likely a function of the positioning of the two 500 watt quartz halogen light fixtures placed behind the cloth to create the transmitted light images. I had no way to diffuse the light and transmit it evenly through the cloth. It should also be noted that transmitted light photography was not part of STURP's original test plan and was added at the last minute, as something of an afterthought. I was given only 30 minutes to make the ventral and dorsal transmitted light photographs on 4" X 5" sheet film). The Gilbert's UV-fluorescence photos taken with an UV filter and using UV light, showed that the Shroud has been damaged by different kinds of fires. Under UV light, bloodstains and the body image do NOT show any reflection. The holes in the Shroud have carbonized edges, which do reflect yellowgreen, while the stains around the holes do not show any reflection. The burn marks of 1532, caused by a CLOSED fire, with a lack of oxygen, reflect a dark REDDISH colour. The burn marks, prior 1532, caused by an OPEN fire, with abundant oxygen, reflect a YELLOW- GREEN colour. In other words, the burn marks assumed to be represented on the Pray Codex, dated 1192, are caused by an OPEN fire. The scorches caused by the Chambery fire in 1532 are caused by a CLOSED fire.

Evans made a photo of one of the stains, supposed to be singe marks between the holes.This photo, magnified 40 times, has been published in "National Geographic Magazine" with the subscript: "Burn mark prior 1532." Ian Wilson used the same illustration in his book , but without the sentence "prior 1532." Close examination of this photo shows a different coloration for the threads of the warp and of the wrap. The photos of Evans were, at the request of the Belgian sindonologist Leysen, examined by the Belgian Prof. Gilbert Raes, the same who examined Shroud samples in 1973. After some experimental tests, Prof. Raes concluded: " It is impossible that these stains are singe marks. It is IMPOSSIBLE that traces, made by scorching, are visible in only one part of a thread and in only one direction of the weave. In the case of singe marks, BOTH threads of the warp and the woof should have been singed with the same intensity, which is clearly NOT the case. The stains are caused by a liquid, probably blood, progressing in one direction." The photo of M. Evans is evidence that the stains between the holes are NOT singe marks, but are probably bloodstains! The possible presence of bloodstains, alongside the body, have been demonstrated by Lavoie, Adler and the late father Bulst.

Dr. Lavoie identified a bloodstain, OUTSIDE the frontal body image. These brownish stains are situated next to the right elbow, about 18 cm from the edge of the linen. This stain is visible on the Barrie Schwortz transmitted light photographs. Recent studies by Dr. A. Adler do show that single fibre samples of blood stains in scorch, image and non-image zones, serum, radiocarbon warp and water stains do not have the same chemical composition. Fourier Transform Infrared (FITR) absorbency patterns, except for serum and water stains are about the same. Based on this important study, one cannot exclude the presence of blood in scorch areas. Following father Bulst, some blood dripped from the feet on both sides of the linen. Dr. Adler also examined the "sticky tape's samples" token by Prof. Max Frei. This collection is now guarded by Paul Maloney of ASSIST. Some of the tapes, are samples taken in the pre-dating 1192 area. Paul Maloney photo macro- and -micrographed this burn area sample. These photographs do show clearly the presence of straw-yellow fibres in the scorched areas. Dr. Baima Bollone examined also a fibre sample from another scorch area, but he did not report traces of blood.

CONCLUSION: None of the old masters have used BLACK paint to paint RED blood. Why should the painter of the Lier shroud copy, use RED paint to depict BLACK edged holes ? If the painter of the Lier copy, painted exactly what he saw, then he used RED paint to depict bloodstains alongside the body image on the Shroud. One may assume the same for the artists who made the other copies and illustrated the Pray Codex and some other miniatures. The painter, who painted the Lier copy, used, like all painters, RED paint to reproduce RED bloodstains, out of the wounds from the body of Christ, taken down from the cross and laid down on the Shroud. Another possibility is that one laid down upon the Shroud, then some BLOODY linens, nails and the crown of thorns, during the burial of Christ.

One only can speculate about the origin of the bloodstains, visible between the holes on the Shroud. I like to quote again Prof. Lejeune: "The manufacturer of the Lier copy painted them in red, supposing they were blood drops. This error proves that he did know those marks were a sign of authenticity and that they had to be reproduced." Again, one may ask, why the artist, knowing the importance of these marks, did use RED paint for BLACK edges holes? The only answer: "The painter did not reproduce the holes, but the RED stains in between the holes." The marks of the ordeal and the Chambery fire, did wipe out most of the stains, once visible between scorch marks and holes. These stains are NOT symmetrical and one may assume that they are indeed blood spilled during the burial of one crucified. Naturally, we will never be sure about the origin of the blood.But the bloodstains, ALONGSIDE the body image, are a strong indication that the Shroud of Turin is in fact the linen used to bury the bloody body of Jesus, taken down from the cross. The reluctance to support this hypothesis is comparable with the initial hesitation about the hypothetical, but yet PROVEN presence of human blood, coins and ghostly characters on the Shroud. Because of the potential significance of these stains, in the region of the holes, assumed to be prior to 1192 AD, burn damage and also the burned surfaces near and under the patches, should be studied in detail and specifically for the presence of blood by experts as soon as the Shroud will be available for new studies.

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