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 Shroud Exhibitions

Read about previous Expositions:

The 2015 Exposition - The 2010 Exposition - The 2000 Exposition - The 1998 Exposition - The 1978 Exposition - The 1898 Exposition

The 2015 Shroud Exposition

The Shroud on Public Display in 2015
2015 STERA Inc.

From April 19, 2015 through June 24, 2015, more than two million visitors came to Turin from around the world to view the Shroud while it was on public display. This was the first exposition of the cloth since it was last shown in 2010. Like his predecessor Pope Benedict, Pope Francis authorized an "early" exposition of the cloth this year, since the next formally scheduled exposition was set by Pope John Paul II for 2025. Currently, only the living Pope can authorize a public exposition of the Shroud. On June 21, 2015, Pope Francis visited Turin to see the Shroud and made headlines around the world. (Here are links to a few more of the many articles about the Pope's visit that were published that day: CNN - L.A. Daily News - UPI - RNS).

A new display cabinet/reliquary was fabricated for this year's Shroud exposition that served to enhance the visual contrast of the image to the viewer, while maintaining an increased level of security for the relic. It was delivered to the Cathedral on March 5, 2015 (see photo in related article) and the Shroud was moved into this new cabinet on April 18, 2015, just one day before the opening of the event. Speaking of security, it was at the highest level I have ever seen in the five public exhibitions I have attended since 1978. Cameras, drones and an overwhelming police presence were put in place to insure the safety of the pilgrims and the Shroud. As far as I can tell, no serious security issues were encountered during the 67 day event.

Also improved since 2010 was the lighting on the Shroud, which drew some criticism at the last exhibition. (See Turin 2010 - A Personal Report by Barrie Schwortz for details). In the new reliquary, a special spectrum of light was used to enhance the visual contrast of the image. Simply compare the photographs on this page to see the obvious differences in the Shroud's appearance over the past few public exhibitions.

For a complete report on my visit to Turin this year (including more photographs), details on the enhanced security, improved lighting and much more, read The 2015 Exposition - A Personal Report by Barrie Schwortz.

You can view an excellent photographic essay on the 2015 Exposition by my dear friend and "brother photographer" Aldo Guerreschi, which we first published on this website on May 6, 2015. It is titled, Turin 2015 by Aldo Guerreschi and includes some very beautiful images.

Posted August 16, 2015

The 2010 Shroud Exposition

The Shroud on Public Display in 2010
2010 STERA Inc.

Until June 2, 2008, the next public exhibition of the Shroud of Turin was scheduled to occur in Turin, Italy, in the year 2025, to coincide with the next Holy Year of the Catholic Church. This was decided upon and announced in the year 2000 by Pope John Paul II. However, on June 2, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Archbishop of Turin had asked his permission to move the date up and that he had agreed. Consequently the most recent public exhibition took place on 10 April 2010 through 23 May 2010.

On June 3, 2008, the Turin authorities confirmed in a press release that the exhibition would take place in 2010 and further stated that its primary purpose would be to focus on pastoral issues and give pilgrims their first opportunity to view the Shroud since the controversial "restoration" of 2002 that altered the cloth's appearance considerably. They further announced that no scientific examination would be permitted and no experiments would be authorized during the 2010 exhibition.

Reservations were required to obtain the tickets needed to attend the Shroud exhibition, although admission was free. More than two million visitors flocked to Turin during the six week exhibition. Pope Benedict XVI came to Turin to visit the Shroud on May 2, 2010. After viewing the relic at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist where the Shroud was being publicly displayed, he delivered a touching Meditation on the Holy Shroud.

Visitors to Turin, where the Shroud has permanently resided since 1578, viewed the cloth in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. To conserve and protect the Shroud, it is permanently stored in a custom built, temperature and humidity controlled, lightight case, which can be moved, raised and opened to display the cloth for public exhibitions. This case was built by the Italian aerospace company Alenia Spazio, which placed its high level technical know how (acquired in the field of space technologies) at the disposal of the Shroud. The case is built of a light, aeronautical alloy, apart from the upper surface which is made of bullet-proof, laminated glass, and it weighs about 1,000 kg. The Shroud is placed on a light aluminum support sliding on runners and stored flat within the case. Inside the airtight case there is a mixture of argon (99.5%) and oxygen (0.5%) in order to guarantee the perfect conservation of the Shroud and its protection from any form of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. When the Shroud is not on public display, the case is closed and stored within an alcove of the Cathedral where visitors are permitted to pray and meditate.

You can also read Turin 2010 - A Personal Report by Barrie Schwortz for my impressions of the exhibition.

Updated September 7, 2010

The 2000 Shroud Exposition

The Shroud as seen during a private showing for journalists
the morning of August 12, 2000  © 2000 Maurizio Marinelli

Shroud Exposition Opens In Turin

Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin officially opened a ten week public exposition of the Shroud of Turin today. The cloth will be exhibited in the Turin Cathedral from Saturday, August 12, to Sunday, October 22, 2000. This is an unusual event in the history of the Shroud because the cloth has rarely been displayed publicly more than one or two times each century. This will mark its fifth public exhibition since 1898 and the longest in its history.

The Archdiocese of Turin Official Shroud Website included an Online Reservation System that allowed viewers to make Internet reservations to see the Shroud. The entire site is available in English, Italian and French language versions. You can also find a link to the Archdiocese Website on the "Links to More Information" page of this site.

The Archbishop reads a prayer in front of the Shroud the
afternoon of August 12, 2000  © 2000 Maurizio Marinelli

In an interview with Vatican Radio on August 9, 2000, Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin provided an excellent overview of the new Shroud exposition, including a description of the "enriched" route pilgrims will take as they wait in line to see the cloth. The following article is from the Zenit News Service in Rome and includes excerpts from that interview:

Interview with Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin

VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 9 ( The Psalmist's words, "Lord, I seek your face," seem to have been written in view of the mystery of the Holy Shroud. With unbelievable precision, they reflect the spiritual journey undertaken by the pilgrim who will come to Turin to view the most loved and controversial relic of Christianity. Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin chose the Psalmist's words as the theme of the forthcoming extraordinary exposition of the Shroud, which, according to tradition, wrapped Christ's body in the sepulcher.

It will be the longest exposition of the Shroud's entire history. The showing will last from August 12 to October 22, due in part to an extension to enable pilgrims from World Youth Day to visit the relic. New techniques have also improved the fabric's conservation. Moreover, the exposition has an exceptional character, given the fact that the last one closed less than two years ago. That showing celebrated the 100th anniversary of the discovery of this incredible image of the Man of the Shroud, which was made possible thanks to the photography of Secondo Pia.

Archbishop Poletto, who was interviewed on Vatican Radio, described some of the novelties of this Holy Year exposition, and mentioned the benefits it could contribute to the dialogue between Catholics and Russian Orthodox, as the latter have a special veneration for the relic. The Archbishop did not refer to the debate on the scientific studies carried out so far on the Shroud, an issue that was examined during a Congress of experts held in Turin from March 2-5. On that occasion, the Archdiocese heard the different points of view and was brought up to date on the new discoveries that will facilitate decisions, including the type of future studies that could be made of the Holy Shroud. However, such decisions belong ultimately to the Pope, custodian of the Holy Shroud, who has delegated this task to the Archbishop of Turin (Cf. ZENIT, ZE00030904).

-- Why is the Holy Shroud being exhibited again, after only two years?

-- Archbishop Poletto: Cardinal Saldarini, my predecessor, asked John Paul II if the exposition should be organized in 1998, the anniversary of the first photograph, or if he thought it more appropriate to wait for the Jubilee. The Pope responded affirmatively to both occasions. So we are prepared for another exposition of the Shroud, the longest of all time, after only two years. The official opening will take place on August 12, with a group of foreign youths, whom I, myself, will guide. The next day, Sunday 13th, I will concelebrate Mass with the Piedmont bishops, the official opening of the exposition.

-- Have you already received reservations from young people going to the World Youth Day in Rome?

-- Archbishop Poletto: First of all, we have the joy of being able to accommodate close to 10,000 youths in Turin in the preceding days. I think that all the foreign youths accommodated in the Piedmont diocese from the 12th to the 13th will have the possibility to come and venerate the Holy Shroud. Specifically, in order to enable those who will not be in Piedmont to visit, we moved the opening date of the exposition forward, so that they will be able to take advantage of this opportunity, because, and I wish to stress this, two consecutive expositions are a real exception, which might never happen again. Unless there are surprises, the next exposition will take place during the next Holy Year.

-- Are youths interested in the Holy Shroud? What was your experience two years ago, in the preceding exposition?

-- Archbishop Poletto: In the preceding exhibition nothing was planned specifically for youth. However, on this occasion, the event has been moved forward specifically for them, and, because of this, we have organized ourselves to have time dedicated especially to them, particularly at the beginning.

-- Compared to the 1998 exposition, how has the itinerary that the pilgrims will follow been programmed?

-- Archbishop Poletto: It has been enriched, both in the phase before viewing the Shroud as well as after. The so-called "pre-reading" begins in the garden of the Royal Palace, and passes behind the Cathedral. It is an enclosed passage in which pilgrims are asked to enter an atmosphere of silence and prayer. Moreover, on this occasion there are three pauses on the way during which, through pictures, icons, and texts, pilgrims are encouraged to be in syntony with what they will see. As in 1998, a "room for reflection" follows, in which, with texts in all languages, the image of the Shroud is projected in all its details, to prepare persons to understand the meaning of the relic. Then they go in to venerate the Holy Shroud. There are interesting novelties this time on the way out: a prefabricated structure for 12 confessors of various languages and, adjacent, a chapel with continuous Eucharistic adoration.

-- It seems that Catholics are not the only ones interested in the Holy Shroud. Christians of other denominations have registered and are coming on pilgrimage to Turin.

-- Archbishop Poletto: Indeed, especially the Orthodox. Last May, we paid an official visit to Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow to invite him to venerate the Holy Shroud. We know the Orthodox are extremely devoted to the Shroud. I also told to the Patriarch that it would be wonderful if he carried out the "miracle" of coming to Turin to venerate the Shroud and meet with the Holy Father. Of course, I only did it in my own name. Alexei II was very interested, but given that the meeting with the Pope has not yet been arranged, he will send Metropolitan Kirill, one of his closest collaborators, who will come with an official delegation of 4 people. We will celebrate solemn Vespers together, which will be presided over by the Metropolitan, in the presence of the Holy Shroud. ZE00080904

Prof. Nello Balossino explains his work that allows the blind
to "see" the Shroud   © 2000 Maurizio Marinelli

The Archbishop leads the first group of young people to see the Shroud on August 12, 2000
© 2000 Maurizio Marinelli

Here is another article from the Zenit News Service that gives some additional background on the exposition:

10,000 Visitors Expected

TURIN, JULY 28 ( The Jubilee special exposition of the Shroud of Turin will open on August 12; 10,000 visitors are expected, many from Latin America and Eastern Europe. The Archdiocese of Turin moved the opening date forward by 2 weeks to enable young people attending World Youth Day in Rome (August 15-20) to view the Shroud.

50,000 youths have already made reservations to visit. There are a number of innovations in the exposition compared to the one in 1998, some of which were suggested by youth, as Marco Bonatti explained on Vatican Radio. Bonatti, member of the Archdiocesan Commission that organized the event, is in charge of press relations during the exposition. "The youths made us see that, viewing the image on the Holy Shroud, which reminds you of pain and suffering, something that apparently is far from their lives, they feel challenged and have the need to continue with the spiritual search that brought them here. Because of this, and being, moreover, the exposition that takes place during the Jubilee year, we have prepared a viewing environment of prayer and reflection."

Before seeing the Shroud in which, according to tradition, Jesus' body was wrapped after the Crucifixion, the pilgrim passes through three areas that invite meditation on the figure of Christ. Obviously, no one is obliged to follow the reflection. After viewing the Holy Shroud, visitors will have the possibility to go to a chapel: one with confessors in various languages, and another with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which will be exposed throughout the day.

In addition, there is an exposition dedicated to charity, a real novelty, as it was designed by young art students. In particular, they focus on the epic of the saints of Turin, the most industrial city of Italy. They succeeded in having both Catholic and secular newspapers run one-page articles on the various saints.

Reservations must be made to attend the Holy Shroud exposition, although the entrance is free. Reservations can be made on web page ZE00072707

The Mass held in the Turin Cathedral on the morning
of August 12, 2000  © 2000 Maurizio Marinelli

The exhibition is officially scheduled to commemorate the Jubilee anniversary of the birth of Jesus. The following article, titled "Exposition of the Holy Shroud During Jubilee Year," was released by the Vatican Information Service on June 3, 1998:

VATICAN CITY, June 3, 1998 (VIS) - According to a communique released by the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Shroud of Turin... will again go on display from Saturday, August 26, to Sunday, October 22, 2000.

The note says: "After the apostolic visit of His Holiness John Paul II to Turin, Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Pontifical Custodian of the Shroud, has set the dates for the next exposition, which will be held in Turin's Cathedral.

"Like the (recent) exposition, the one planned for the year 2000 will be part of the path of the Great Jubilee proclaimed by John Paul II for the millennium of the Redemption, and will have a clearly ecclesial nature, according to the orientations indicated on numerous occasions by the Holy Father."

The 1998 Shroud Exposition

Click here to read about The 1998 Shroud Exposition.

The 1978 Shroud Exposition

In September of 1978, the Shroud of Turin went on public display for a period of five weeks. Normally stored in a specially designed reliquary in the altar of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (above), it was placed behind bulletproof glass and sealed in a nitrogen filled case for the exhibition. Illuminated by several large, focused spotlights from each side, it proved a striking and powerful image against the darkened background of the chapel. Visitors often waited in line for up to eight hours before reaching the altar in the cathedral where the cloth could be viewed at its closest distance. The public entered on the left side and walked slowly down a long aisle to the front of the cathedral, then crossed in front of the altar on a raised, wooden bridge. There visitors could pause and look up at the Shroud, about 20 feet away, mounted 12 feet above the altar. After a minute or two, they would exit via the right aisle.

The day before the close of the public exhibit, about 27 hours before STURP would begin their 120 hour examination of the Shroud, I waited in line to view the Shroud in the same manner as the public had done over the last weeks. I wanted to experience my first look at the cloth the same way millions of other visitors had experienced theirs. I knew that in a short time I would be one of a privileged group that would have a much closer look. This photograph below was taken from the right aisle as I exited the cathedral.

In the five weeks it was on public display, 3 1/2 million visitors (100,000 per day) came from all over the world to view the cloth. That equals the number of people that come to visit John F. Kennedy's grave at Arlington National Cemetery every year. The photograph below looks down the long avenue where visitors waited in line to view the Shroud and was taken with a telephoto lens from the same vantage point as the cathedral photograph above. Note that the white building with two large windows is just a tiny area in the left center portion of the cathedral photo.

The streets of Turin were flooded with people during the exposition. Waiting in line to enter the cathedral could be an all day affair, so many vendors, selling food, drinks and mementos, set up shop under colorful umbrellas directly alongside the queue. Understandably, this was a major event for the city of Turin. Almost every storefront in the city displayed images of the Shroud, and many offered large selections of books, photographs and postcards for sale. The Italian government even issued a postage stamp to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Shroud residing in Turin.

Above Photos © 1978 Barrie M. Schwortz Collection, STERA, Inc.

The 1898 Shroud Exposition

The square of the Cathedral during the 1898 Exhibition

Here are several links to website articles about the 1898 Exhibition:

Photographing the Holy Shroud at the 1898 Exhibition by Fr. Luigi Fossati. This article actually resides on the "Collegamento pro Sindone" page of this website. It includes eleven illustrations and tells the story of Secondo Pia, the man who made the first photograph of the Shroud of Turin and provided science with the first serious clues to the unique properties of the image. Several of Pia's photographs accompany the article.

Remembrance of the 1898 Exhibition by Fr. Luigi Fossati. Also residing on the "Collegamento pro Sindone" page of this website, this article provides more insight into the 1898 event and the impact it had on Shroud science, as well as a closer look at some of the first Shroud researchers. It includes two photographs.

The First Shroud Photo by Remi Van Haelst. The author has compiled a large number of press articles about Secondo Pia and his correspondence with Paul Vignon, Arthur Loth, Baron Manno and several others. In addition to some very interesting insights into Pia's work and the criticisms he endured, it also provides some of his technical photographic data and a chart of Shroud measurements made at various times between 1503 and 1898.

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