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 Shroud Conservation and Preservation

According to Giovanni Cardinal Saldarini, Archbishop of Turin and Official Custodian of the Shroud, future research on the Shroud of Turin will be restricted to areas of conservation and preservation of the cloth itself. With that in mind, and anticipating much more information on the subject in the near future, this page will focus on the future efforts of science to preserve the cloth and its unique image. I am grateful to Emanuela and Maurizio Marinelli for suggesting the idea of this page and to the Collegamento pro Sindone for providing the first three articles that appear below.

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Shroud Press Conference of June 10, 1997

Shroud Press Conference
Turin, June 10th, 1997

Dear Mr. Syndic,

Authorities all here gathered,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Almost two months have elapsed since the night of the terrible fire that destroyed so many artistic finds kept in our city, seriously damaging the Guarini's chapel of the Shroud and a wing of the Royal Palace and making run a serious risk to the preservation of the Shroud itself. Few days after those events the Holy Seat, received us for a meeting with the press accredited by itself in its own Press Room. Today we have again desired a meeting with the journalists for a communication that concerns the problem of the Shroud preservation that the Divine Providence has wanted from centuries to entrust to the cares of our Church of Turin.

The Italgas Society has decided to take charge - with the appropriation of a generous sum - of some of the interventions about the arrangement of the Holy Shroud, for the time both of the exhibition and of the periods that will elapse afterwards. Among them I mention in particular the study about the preservation conditions, the construction of the large glass reliquary from which one will try to extract the more rarely as possible the Shroud, the preparation of the place that shall receive it with all the devices of the case.

Italgas is a reality that was born many decades ago on our territory, to extend then its activity to the whole national area, without however losing contacts with its origins. The decisions about the Shroud are the confirmation of its attitude in favor of religious and cultural goods that are in Turin and that Turin offers to the whole world. I wish to express the great thankfulness of mine and of all the Catholic community of Turin for this generous intervention, that I retain appreciated also by all the men of culture of our city.

The gentlemen journalists present at this meeting have certainly many questions to ask. There are present among us the Turinese members of the commission for the preservation of the Shroud; among the non-Turinese I'm glad to introduce two personalities of great prominence that have agreed to be with us today: Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg and Prof. Alan Adler. I welcome and thank them - not only for their presence, but for the competence and the generosity with which for years they have done their best in favor of the cause of the Shroud. My thanks extend to all the commission's members present (you can see them here, in the front line) and to those who couldn't come. I wish to point out the sincerity of their collaboration, because all their interventions have always been done in a completely free way.

I take advantage once more of the occasion to thank the government Authorities and the Superintendences, the State Agencies, the Police Force and the Firemen for their participation in the sufferings and the inconvenience originated in the events of that night and still far from having a term. Like our journalist friends, we too are awaiting that the commission presided by His Eminence the Prefect reaches the end of its work and is able to make known its decision on the practicability of the Cathedral in the near future, so that the preparation of the exhibition could proceed with better safety. I think that the Authorities present here are also available to answer the journalists' questions.

I can but tell them my feelings of sympathy and wish them and us a good work.

Giovanni Card. Saldarini
Archbishop of Turin

Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg

Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg was born in Hamburg and is resident in Bern. She completed her studies in her native city and attended the Universities of Hamburg, München and Kiel (History of art), specializing in fabrics preservation at the National Museum of Bavaria (Munich). "Conservative" at the Historisches Museum of Bern, she has devoted then all her activity for thirty years to the "Fabrics Section" of the Abegg Foundation, in Riggisberg, carrying that museum - with the attached school - to the top of the analogous institutions. To Dr. Flury-Lemberg it was conferred the Cross for merit of the German Federal Republic in 1989 and the Dottorato honoris causa of the University of Fribourg and Bern. Her scientific publications concern the problems of ancient fabrics preservation. In Italy she intervened to solve the difficulties for the preservation of the cloths of St. Francesco of Assisi, of St. Antonio of Padova, of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (Brindisi), of the Ottonian chasuble of Bressanone...

Prof. Alan D. Adler

Prof. Alan D. Adler was born in New York and is resident in Connecticut (USA). He completed his studies by the Universities of Rochester (New York) and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), graduating in chemistry by this latter University. He held numerous academic offices in various important universities in the United States and he is member of different American academies. In the last twenty years he was teacher of Chemistry by the Western Connecticut State University of Danbury and at present he is emeritus teacher by the same university. He published a hundred of articles on various arguments of chemistry and biochemistry. Particularly about the chemistry of the porphyrins, describing their synthetic, analytical, chemical-physical and biological aspects. He was member of the Directive Committee of the STRP (Shroud of Turin Research Project), the association founded by the U.S.A. scientists that examined the Shroud in 1978 and at present is member of the Directive Committee of the American Shroud of Turin Association for Research, of recent constitution. Numerous and of capital importance are his articles about the researches on the Shroud in the fields of chemistry and of physics.


by Prof. Piero Savarino
Teacher of organic industrial Chemistry
Scientific Consultant of the Shroud Custodian

For a long time experts in scientific fields, that have shown interest and attention toward the Shroud, have pointed out fears and worry about its preservation state.

On the basis of the solicitations received by the Ownership, since autumn 1991 it began the works to form a qualified international commission composed of experts in different disciplines. One thought to propose a commission formed by experts in the sectors of the preservation of properly said cultural goods and to place side by side to these ones experts in the sectors more properly of experimental chemical-physic, biological and physician-legal sciences that had acquired knowledge of Shroud problematics. The first choice remains strictly connected to the normal problematic proposal of the preservation of an ancient linen fabric. The presence of experts in the second area is, from a point of view, guarantee and help for the solution of the base problems common to all the operations of preservation and, from the other one, results to be essential relatively to the complex and little known nature of the Shroud image. In fact, the preservation of the Shroud image, of the hematic material and of the whole system is of primary interest.

In September, 1992 the commission was allowed to examine the Shroud and drafted a first report on the state of the cloth. The works of the commission have gone on and, after further reunions and adjournments, in February, 1996 led to a report containing the guidelines for a safer way of preservation. To comment the laborious exchanges of opinions and information intervened within the carrying out of the works, it must be pointed out the cordial and profitable climate of collaboration and respect established between the participants that, with the competence that marks them and that is recognized to them at international level, has allowed the setting-up of a scientifically important project. The report, undersigned by all the participants to the last work session, was submitted to the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Saldarini. His Eminence has provided to present the report to the Vatican authority that authorized the prosecution of the activity turned to a safer way of preservation.

The essential conclusions contained in such report are the following:

a) the Shroud shall be kept in extended, plain and horizontal position;

b) the Shroud shall be kept in a reliquary with bullet-proof glass, waterproof, in absence of air and in presence of an inert gas. The reliquary shall be protected from light and maintained in constant climatic conditions;

c) the reliquary shall be used also during the public exhibitions, with the purpose to avoid any handling of the Shroud.

Such conditions obviously impose a way of preservation radically different from the present one (rolling up on a cylinder) and above all the need to build a reliquary of wider dimensions (the Shroud is a rectangle that measures 4.36 x 1,10 meters).

Therefore, with this purpose it began subsequently the second phase of the operation, during which, starting from the firm points listed above, one intended to:

a) plan and realize the reliquary that will contain the Shroud and the relative apparatuses of control;

b) individualize the more proper place for the preservation of the Shroud in compliance with the conditions pointed out by the commission.

More detailed news on the commission's proposals and in general on the connected problematic, are deducible from the interventions of the commission's members present.

It must be finally pointed out the willingness of the commission's members during the painful events that damaged the Guarini chapel to participate to a control on the state of the Shroud and to provide at the same time important suggestions for the preparation of next Exhibition in 1998.



The Shroud of Turin represents a patrimony of great valence and of considerable emotional involvement.

It's an ascertained fact that the name of Turin and Piedmont in the world is connected to some realities of the city, among which, at the first place is the Shroud. The very great participation to the recent events that have directly or indirectly invested the Shroud, confirm this universal notoriety of the Sheet of Turin.

In September, 1996 Italgas retained that the proposal to intervene in support of the works for the definitive arrangement of the Shroud in sight of the exhibitions in 1998 and 2000, was a valid occasion of undertaking in favor of the city and of its civic and religious community.

The intervention of the Society will be exclusively limited to the economic support, without entering upon the problematics of technical-scientific character, in the complete respect for the object and the autonomy of the Holy Seat, owner of the Shroud, and of its Custodian, Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Archbishop of Turin.

However for the Society it is motive of further satisfaction the idea to have contributed to the study and to the realization of a high-technology system that represents a strongly innovative solution.

Conservation Links

Proposals for The Shroud of Turin Preservation and Exhibition by Maurizio and Emanuela Marinelli

This article includes several proposals by Maurizio and Emanuela Marinelli for Shroud preservation and exhibition. The proposals have already been sent to the Archbishop of Turin and to the members of the Commission of the Exhibition and suggest ideas that could be incorporated in the new display case being designed to replace the one destroyed by the April 1997 Cathedral fire. The article, which includes ten photographs of the prototype built by the Marinelli's, is available directly from the "Collegamento pro Sindone" page of this site.

Conservation of the Shroud of Turin by Alan D. Adler and Larry A. Schwalbe

A realistic evaluation of the conservation problems that must be confronted and resolved in order to preserve the Shroud of Turin and its unique image. Alan Adler, Professor of Chemistry at Western Connecticut State University, is a well known and respected Shroud researcher who worked with the late John Heller in evaluating the blood stains on the Shroud. Both he, and Larry Schwalbe of Los Alamos Laboratories, were original team members of STURP. You will find references to more of their published Shroud papers on the "1978 Scientific Examination" page of this website, in the Bibliography of STURP's Published Papers. This article is reprinted courtesy of Dorothy Crispino, Publisher and Editor of Shroud Spectrum International, the first refereed scientific journal dedicated exclusively to Shroud of Turin research.

Scientific Issues and Shroud Research in the 1990's by Larry A. Schwalbe

Written in 1990, this article provides the author's perspective on the future of Shroud research. Larry Schwalbe was an original member of STURP, the team that performed the first in-depth scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978 and has published many papers on the subject. This paper also originally appeared in "Shroud Spectrum International" and again I thank Dorothy Crispino, publisher and editor, for permission to reprint it here. The article can also be accessed via the "Scientific Papers & Articles" page.

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