Where was the The Shroud before it came into public view at Lirey
during its ownership by Geoffrey de Charnay. Was it hidden in the
Shroud of Turin (or Turin Shroud) is a linen cloth bearing the hidden
image of a man who appears to have been physically traumatized in
a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the royal chapel
of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. Despite
extensive evidence that it is a medieval fraud it is still believed
by many Roman Catholics to be a cloth worn by Jesus Christ at the
time of his burial.
The image on the shroud is clearer and more striking in black-and-white
negative than in its natural sepia color. The negative image was
first observed on May 28, 1898 on the reverse photographic plate
of an amateur photographer, Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph
it as part of an exhibition for Turin Cathedral.
The origin of the shroud is disputed. Researchers have coined the
term sindonology to describe its general study (from Greek sindon,
the word used in the Mark Gospel to describe the cloth that Joseph
of Arimathea bought to use as Jesus' burial cloth).
According to some, the Shroud's history can be traced back to biblical
times, a couple of missing centuries being accounted for by the
shroud being hidden by cathars in the Languedoc. The case is put
most cogently Jack Markwardt. Below is a copy
of his paper putting the case for this theory , with annotations
by the webmaster.
cloth is rectangular, measuring about 4.4 × 1.1 m (14.3 ×
3.7 ft). The cloth is woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill
composed of flax fibrils. It displays a faint, yellowish image of
a front and back view of a naked man with his hands folded across
his groin. The two views are aligned along the midplane of the body
and point in opposite directions. The front and back views of the
head nearly meet at the middle of the cloth. These views are consistent
with an orthographic projection of a human body.
The "Man of the Shroud" has a beard, moustache, and shoulder-length
hair parted in the middle. He is muscular. Various experts have
measured him as from 1.75 m, or roughly 5 ft 9 in, to 1.88 m, or
6 ft 2 in). Reddish brown stains are found on the cloth, showing
various wounds that correlate with the yellowish image, the pathophysiology
of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus.
- one wrist bears a large, round wound, apparently from piercing
(the second wrist is hidden by the folding of the hands)
- an upward gouge in the side penetrating into the thoracic cavity
- small punctures around the forehead and scalp
- scores of linear wounds on the torso and legs claimed to be
consistent with the distinctive wounds of a Roman flagrum.
- streams of blood down both arms that include blood dripping
from the main flow in response to gravity at an angle that would
occur during crucifixion
- no evidence of either leg being fractured
- large puncture wounds in the feet as if pierced by a single
of the Shroud
of how the image on the shroud was formed
analysis of the Shroud
of the Image as a Work of Art
to Doubt the Shroud's Authenticity
Markwardt's paper putting the case that the shroud was hidden in
Was The Shroud In Languedoc During The Missing
Copyright Jack Markwardt, 1997 (webmaster's notes
on the right)
INTRODUCTION: In 1204, a sydoine, bearing
a full-length figure of Christ and a possible Apostolic pedigree,1 disappeared from Constantinople. Matching that cloth
with the Shroud which appeared in Lirey, France a century
and a half later requires an accounting of its hidden movements
and an explanation for its acquisition by Geoffrey de Charny.
This paper focuses upon the "Missing Years" in the history
of the Shroud of Turin,2 presents
a hypothetical reconstruction of several of the more mysterious
chapters in the cloth's biography, and suggests that the sindonic
path between Constantinople and Lirey runs directly through
The is an assumption here that the
sydoine that disappeared from Constantinople is the same artifact
we now know as the shroud of Turin. This has never been established
1204: FROM CONSTANTINOPLE TO LANGUEDOC.
In April of 1204, the Fourth Crusade attacked Byzantine Constantinople
and, in the resultant chaos, someone pilfered the Emperor's
cloth. If the thief had held orthodox beliefs or had viewed
the Shroud as a sacred relic, he would not have kept it concealed
for long, but, instead, would have promptly claimed the credit
and wealth attendant to its ownership.3
Thus, the perpetrator probably had no affiliation to either
the Crusade or the Church of Rome and probably considered
the cloth to be something other than a purely religious artifact.
In this regard, it is critical to note that, at the precise
time of its disappearance, the Shroud was being treated less
as a holy relic than as a palladium wielded by the Emperor,
in weekly public exhibitions, against the military threat
posed by the crusaders.4 In fact, for the preceding six and a half centuries,
the Shroud, assuming its affinity to the Mandylion,5 had enjoyed a fabled reputation as a cloth possessing
great powers of protection. In 544, it had reportedly saved
the city of Edessa from a siege by the Persian army.6
The identification of the sydoine with
the Mandylion has not been established for certain.
Thereafter, the cloth not only maintained its
status as Edessa's holy palladium,7
but it also served as the model for numerous copies which
were similarly employed as palladia throughout the Eastern
empire.8 The protective virtues
of such images were described by Edward Gibbon as follows:
"In the hour of danger or tumult their venerable presence
could revive the hope, rekindle the courage, or repress the
fury of the Roman legions".9 In
the sixth century, Pope Gregory commissioned his own copy
of the image and had it brought to Rome where it was subsequently
invoked for protection by Popes of the eighth and ninth centuries.10
In 944, the Byzantine Emperor forcibly compelled the transfer
of the original image from Edessa to Constantinople in order
to obtain "a new, powerful source of divine protection" for
the capital city.11 Consequently,
the peoples of Edessa and Constantinople came to view relics
as possessing "palladian virtues which could protect them
from their enemies".12
In 1204, when the Shroud disappeared, two sects
of religious dualists, the Bogomils and the Paulicians, were
openly practicing their faith in Constantinople and, as will
be shown, possessed both the opportunity and the motive to
take and conceal the cloth. During the preceding century,
Eastern dualism had made its way to Western Europe13 and, by 1160, permeated Languedoc14 in the form of Catharism.15
Condemned by the Council of Tours in 1163,16
continued to spread despite ever- increasing persecution
by the Church.17 All the while,
remained part of a single dualist communion with their brethren
in the East18 and maintained such extremely close ties with them19
that they themselves were frequently referred to as Bogomile
or Paulician.20 In 1172, Nicetas,
the dualist bishop of Constantinople, travelled to Languedoc
as a representative of the Eastern mother church,21
and, presiding over a Synod,22
persuaded the Cathars
to adopt an absolute form of dualism,23
reconsecrated Cathar bishops, and approved reformation of
the Cathar hierarchy.24 The dualists of the East provided Cathars
with scriptures25 and answers to
their religious questions26 and
some moved West and became involved in the political and religious
affairs of Languedoc.27 This federation of Eastern and Western dualists was
maintained for many decades and, in 1224, the Easterners were
to offer their homes to Cathar refugees and send them a spiritual
The links between the various Dualist
groups is well established - but an important point, not mentioned
here, is that none of these Dualist groups accepted Christ's
bodily crucifixion, much less the survival of his burial cloth.
Furthermore, they detested all supposed religious relics without
In 1198, Innocent III became Pope and promptly
demonstrated a proclivity to use military force whenever convenient
to accomplish his religious and political goals29
and his fanatical hatred of heresy
drove him to seek the elimination of Catharism in Languedoc.30
Thus, in 1204, and at the precise time when the Cathars
desperately required protection from Innocent, their religious
brethren in the East31 were, week
after week, witnessing the exhibition and representation of
the Shroud as a tried, true and mighty palladium. As Ian Wilson
observed, the opportunity to take the cloth presented itself
to some Byzantine who had access to it during the confusion
of the crusader attack upon the city.32
Greek dualists enjoyed friendly contacts with the upper classes
of the capital33 and harbored little
love for a Church which had not only sent a Crusade to lay
siege to their city, but had resolved to exterminate their
fellow religionists in Languedoc. This paper suggests that
it was they who snatched the relic, concealed it, and sent
it to their persecuted brethren in Languedoc, not as an object
of religious veneration,34 but
as a powerful palladium which could be employed against the
fanatically-militant Church of Rome.
All accurate except that there is no
evidence that the shroud was taken to the Languedoc or that
ever used a palladium - which their religion regarded as worthless.
If these Greek dualists did send the Shroud
to Languedoc,35 they would have
entrusted it only to someone who could provide for its safekeeping
and ultimate deployment in the hour of need. Fortunately for
they had a wealthy, powerful, and pugnacious champion who
could do so. Esclarmonde de Foix, the widowed sister of the
count of Foix, was a vociferous opponent of the Church36 and the patroness of a great complex of heretical workshops,
schools, and hostels in Pamiers.37
In 1204, the year of the Shroud's disappearance, she was ordained
a Perfect,38 the highest order of the Cathar hierarchy, and sponsored
the fortification of Montsegur,39
a castle stronghold which had collapsed into ruins.40
If the coincidental kidnapping of the Shroud and the fortification
of Montsegur were, in fact, part and parcel of the same Cathar
defense program, the cloth would likely have been sent to
Esclarmonde, in Pamiers, with the expectation that, when needed,
she would take it to Montsegur where its fabled powers of
protection could be invoked to save Cathars,
just as they had once been unleashed to rescue Edessa from
the Persian army.41
Speculative. Esclaremonde did indeed
receive the consolamentum and so become a Perfect, but this
was not the "highest order of the Cathar hierarchy".
The most senior Cathars
in the area were Cathar Bishops, who did not count Esclaremond
among their number. Also, it is not clear who ordered Montsegur
to be refortified, though it certainly was refortified to
provide defense against the coming Catholic Crusader army.
1204-1244: THE PALLADIUM OF HERETICS.
There is circumstantial and anecdotal evidence that, from
1204 to 1244, the Shroud was kept as a palladium by the Cathars
(1) 1205-1207: The Appearance of the Grail
in Languedoc. The Holy
Grail has been connected to the Shroud,42 the Cathars,43
and Esclarmonde.44 Between approximately
1205 and 1207,45 Wolfram von Eschenbach46 wrote a Grail
legend, Parzival, which contained several apparent
allusions to the Shroud47 and placed
the Grail in Munsalvaesche, a name denoting a mountainous
region of safety, very much like Languedoc, in general, and
in particular.48 Wolfram's Grail
was guarded by
Templars who wore white surcoats with red crosses49
and, at that precise time, the Temple Order in Languedoc had
been thoroughly infiltrated by persons from Cathar families
or holding Cathar sympathies.50 In another poem, Wolfram named the lord of the Grail
castle as Perilla,51 a transparent
nameplay on Raymond de Perella, the lord of Montsegur from
at least 1204 to 1244. Finally, in an unfinished work, Wolfram
situated the Grail castle in the Pyrenees52 which border on Languedoc and lie quite near to Montsegur.53
There are fascinating hints that Wolfram
von Eschenbach made reference to Montsegur,
but that is not relevant to this argument.
Also it is questionable whether the
were in any way associated with the Templars
- certainly no evidence is offered here.
(2) 1207: The Pope's Call for a Languedoc
Crusade. In 1203, the so-called cult of relics influenced
the diversion of the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople for
purposes of rescuing relics from the schismatic Greeks.54
By 1207, as Parzival clearly demonstrates, some had
concluded that the Shroud was held captive by the heretics
of Languedoc. On November 12, 1207, Innocent called for a
crusade against the Cathars;55
however, a palpable pretext for crusade did not materialize
until two months later when a papal legate was murdered by
a servant of Raymond VI, the Count
of Toulouse.56 Raymond's pleas for absolution were rejected by the
Church in what Jonathan Sumption called "a scandalous breach
of ecclesiastical law accomplished solely to excuse a military
invasion of Raymond's dominions".57
Despite the Cathars
having nothing to do with the murder, the Pope urged military
action against them.58 By 1209, Raymond had completely capitulated to the Church
and the Pope's plan to punish him was officially abandoned.59 Nevertheless, Innocent pushed forward with his war against
the heretics, thus establishing that this crusade had always
been designed to attack the Cathars,
possibly to liberate the Shroud in furtherance of the goals
of the cult of relics.
Innocent III's character is fairly
represented here - but his objectives appear to have been
to stop the whole region deserting the Catholic
Church in favour of the Cathar Church. He certainly had
other motives (his new claims to temporal power, the recovery
of property claimed by the Church and the reintroduction of
clerical taxation for example), but there is no evidence for
this assertion, especially as the Crusades against the Cathars
continued for a generation before Montsegur was attacked.
Also it is significant that the attack in 1244 was the direct
result of a series of incidents in 1242 - long after Innocent's
death in 1216.
(3) 1209-1229: The Cathars' Three-Nail Crucifixion.
In the early thirteenth century, the Crucifixion was typically
depicted with Christ affixed to the cross with four nails,
one placed through each of his hands and feet.60
During the Albigensian Crusade, reports were circulated of
a three-nail crucifixion, prompting Innocent to proclaim an
official four-nail dogma and resulting in the condemnation,
as heretics, of anyone who asserted the use of three nails.61 In an attempt to win converts, some Cathars
employed a crucifix which had no upper arm, the feet of Christ
crossed, and three nails.62 There
is no apparent explanation of why Cathars,
who rejected the reality of Christ's death,63 would assert a three-nail crucifixion or employ a three-nail
crucifix, particularly when attempting to proselytize orthodox
believers who were accustomed to, and who were bound to believe
in, a four-nail portrayal. A close examination of the Shroud
reveals that only one nail pierced Christ's feet64
and the Cathars'
possession of the cloth with its evidence of the use of one
nail through both feet would explain their assertion of a
three-nail crucifixion which contradicted the traditional
and papally-mandated beliefs of the orthodox.
As noted here Cathars
rejected the reality of Christ's crucifixion. The assertion
that some Cathars
employed a crucifix which had no upper arm, the feet of Christ
crossed, and three nails is not reliably referenced and is
at odds with Cathar theology. (This does not mean that other
so-called heretics could not have preserved this ancient tradition
about the crucifixion - modern science has only recently revealed
the many varieties of crucifixion employed by the Romans)
(4) 1218-1224: The Cathars and the Flesh
and Blood of Christ. Joinville's History of St. Louis
contains an anecdotal story which, for many centuries,
has been employed to strengthen faith in the sacrament of
the Eucharist. According to this account, Amaury de Montfort,
while leading the Albigensian Crusade,65
declined a Cathar invitation to come and see the body of Christ
"which had become flesh and blood in the hands of the priest".66
rejected Christ's incarnation and believed that his humanity
was merely symbolic.67 For Cathars,
there never was a body of Christ which could have become flesh
and blood in the hands of their priest. In addition, the Cathars
rejected the sacraments, including the Eucharist, as being
vain and useless68 and their priests
did not say Mass or make sacrifices of the altar.69 Instead, Cathars
performed a simple daily benediction of bread and wine while
reciting the Lord's Prayer.70 For Cathars,
there was no ceremony or rite by which the body of Christ
could have become flesh and blood in the hands of their priest.71
considered lying to be abhorrent72
and their Perfects, who were forbidden to engage in any trade
which would expose them to lying or fraud,73 refused to prevaricate, even to save their own lives.74
would not have fabricated any claim, especially one which
would repudiate their own religious beliefs, it appears that
they invited Amaury to view a cloth which, when displayed
in the hands of their priest, manifested a mysterious image
of the flesh and blood of Christ. The Amaury story was written
prior to 1272,75 a mere fifty years after the event which it describes,
and was related, no doubt, to inspire readers to emulate a
pious virtue admired by St. Louis;76
however, it appears to have a factual and historical basis,
particularly in light of other circumstantial evidence which
demonstrates that, during the precise period of the story's
setting, the Cathars
were in possession of the Shroud.
The story needs to be stretched beyond
breaking point to accommodate this theory. Moreover medieval
hagiographies are exceptionally unreliable and the idea that
would entertain the idea of the body of Christ becoming "flesh
and blood in the hands of the priest" is not tenable
- it could only be the invention of a Catholic mind unfamiliar
with Cathar theology. The obvious explanation is that the
story was fabricated, not that it was a true story referring
obliquely to a piece of cloth.
(5) 1209-1244: The Mystical Cathar Treasure
of Montsegur. After the outbreak of the Albigensian Crusade
in 1209, Esclarmonde took up residence in Montsegur
and, in 1215, presided there over a Cathar court.77
Likewise, in 1209, the most important Cathar prelate, Guilhabert
de Castres,78 moved to Montsegur79
and, for the next thirty years, used it as his base for missionary
activities80 and the site of a Cathar Synod in 1232.81 In approximately 1240, Guilhabert was succeeded by Bertrand
de Marty82 who remained at Montsegur
until its fall in 1244.83 As previously
mentioned, from at least 1204 to 1244, Raymond de Perella,84
a vassal to Esclarmonde's brother and a man with strong sympathies
for the heretics, served as the lord of Montsegur.85
If the Shroud was taken to Montsegur, knowledge of its presence
there was likely limited to a privileged few who undoubtedly
ascribed the castle's survival through more than three decades
of crusade and persecution to the linen palladium.86
So long as the Cathar hierarchy was headquartered in Montsegur,
it is inconceivable that the Shroud would have been taken
elsewhere. Coincidently, throughout the Crusade, Montsegur
was rumored to hold a mystical Cathar treasure which far exceeded
material wealth.87 In January of
1244, with Montsegur
under siege, all of the gold, silver and money which had been
stored there was taken out and hidden in the forests of the
Sabarthes mountains.88 In February, the Montsegur garrison left the castle
and launched an attack which ended in disaster and compelled
surrender on March 2.89 The Cathars
sought and obtained a fifteen-day truce90
which permitted them to hold a festival91and,
when the truce expired on March 16, more than two hundred
Perfects were thrown into a burning pyre.92 That same night, four Cathars,
who had been concealed,93 used
ropes to scale down Montsegur's
steep western rock-face,94 and,
according to tradition, they took with them the mystical Cathar
treasure.95 This paper suggests that the mystical treasure was,
or included, the Shroud and that the Cathars
had procured the truce in a desperate, but unsuccessful, attempt
to invoke their palladium's legendary powers96
during the closing weeks of the season of its origin--Easter.97
Difficult to square with the fact that
for most of the 10 month siege the defenders were able to
communicate easily with the outside world, so would have been
able to get any material items out of the castle and away
to a more remote site such as Usson.
There is no reason to suppose that
the treasure was a piece of cloth - most commentators believe
it to have been ancient Gnostic texts if it was anything material.
Another unlikely theory is that it
was the Holy
Grail. Another is that it was the treasure later discovered
Bérenger Saunier at Rennes-le-Château.
1244-1349: THE PROPERTY OF HERETICS AND
THEIR DESCENDANTS. The four escapees from vanquished Montsegur
carried the treasure to a valley in the Sabarthes,98
a region loyal to the Cathar cause and home to the heretical
Auteri family.99 Approximately fifty years later, an Auteri descendant,
Peter, assumed leadership of a Cathar organization which was
still active100 but persecuted relentlessly by the Inquisition.101 After Peter Auteri was captured and executed in 1311,102
the heretical community began to disintegrate.103
In 1320, a group of Cathars
were forced to recant in Albi104
and, the following year, the last Cathar Perfect, William
Belibasta, was lured from hiding in Catalonia and burned to
death.105 Between 1318 and 1326,
Jacques Fournier, the future Pope Benedict XII, prosecuted
Inquisition from Pamiers and walled up a Cathar remnant in
the caves of Lombrives, located in the Sabarthes.106
Thereafter, scattered groups of heretics and isolated individuals
carried on occasional guerrilla warfare,107
but, by 1350, the two-century struggle between the Church
and the Cathars
of Languedoc was brought to a close.108
These statements are correct, but it
is not clear what they seek to establish.
This paper suggests that, from 1244 to approximately
1349, the Shroud was kept in Languedoc, most probably in the
Sabarthes, by heretical families descended from the survivors
of Montsegur.109 Title to the relic could not legally pass from one
generation to another inasmuch as heretics, their sympathizers,
and their descendants were prohibited from making a will or
receiving a legacy.110 In addition, all personal property of heretics, their
sympathizers, and their descendants was required to be confiscated
and forfeited to the crown.111
Consequently, for a little more than a century, the Shroud
was scrupulously kept concealed in a region where survival
itself depended on secrecy112 and,
upon the deaths of its respective heretical owners, the cloth
was quietly handed down to surviving family members.
Possible, but no more than speculation.
In October of 1347, the Black Death swept into
Europe, ultimately killing more than a third of its population.113 Some towns with a population of 20,000 were left with
a mere 200 and, in certain of the smaller villages, only 100
out of 1,500 survived.114 The Plague
struck Marseille in January of 1348, with mortality rates
of up to 60% and, by summer, had reached Montpellier, Carcassonne,
and Toulouse.115 Montpellier's
ultimate loss of life was so extensive that Italian merchants
were granted citizenship rights just to allow the city to
be repopulated.116 In Perpignan, just north of the Spanish border and
not too distant from the region of heretical safe havens,
the Plague killed 90% of the municipal physicians and barber-surgeons
and 65% of the notaries.117 In
Avignon, up to two-thirds of the population died,118and
between February and May of 1349, as many as 400 of its people
were killed every day.119 The Pope's physician, who advised Clement VI to flee
the city until the Plague subsided,120
ultimately estimated that three-quarters of the entire population
of France had been killed.121 In
rural Languedoc, already devastated by famine and war, the
Black Death killed close to 50% of the population.122 In 1350, the Plague killed King Alphonso XI of Spain,123
but finally ran its course in the Mediterranean Basin.124
By that time, however, it is statistically probable that,
somewhere in the hill country of rural Languedoc, the heretical
family that possessed the Shroud had been killed and that
the cloth, as part of that family's possessions and personal
effects, had been, or would soon be, confiscated and forfeited
to the crown.
There seems to be an assumption of
high mortality rates everywhere - not the case in remote areas
like the Sabarthes, that a whole extended family died of the
plague (unlikely but possible), and also that there were no
trusted Cathar neighbours to take over stewardship.
Also, by this time there were no known
heretic families. The Inquisition had exterminated all the
known families, so any surviving Cathars
were not known as Cathars
and so were not liable to have their goods forfeited.
On top of this, much of the area still
belonged to the King of Aragon at this time, so confiscations
would go to him, not the King of France.
still thrived in northern Italy and probably Catalonia so
they would have been more obvious places to keep a precious
1349-1354: THE ACQUISITION OF THE SHROUD
BY GEOFFREY DE CHARNY. Wilson astutely observed that the
question of how the Shroud came to be owned by Geoffrey de
Charny lies at the very core of the Missing Years mystery.125
Historical evidence indicates that Geoffrey acquired the relic
between April of 1349 and January of 1354.126 Yet, there is no record of a military campaign,127 a gift,128 or an inheritance
which would have brought the Shroud to Geoffrey after 1349
and, in fact, throughout 1350 and during the first six months
of 1351, Geoffrey was held as a prisoner of war in England.129
Although it may have been unusual for Geoffrey
to have come to own the Shroud,130
the virtually unquestionable personal integrity131
of "the wisest and bravest knight of them all"132
would never have allowed him to obtain the cloth under dishonorable
circumstances or by the employment of improper means. Thus,
the mystery's solution must lie along a rightful and legal
path, and one such channel was opened to Geoffrey in the Spring
of 1349. At that time, Geoffrey held a life annuity of 1,000
livres, payable directly from the royal treasury. On April
19, 1349, this annuity was modified to 500 livres payable
to Geoffrey and his heirs from the first forfeitures which
might occur in the Languedoc senechaussees of Toulouse, Beaucaire,
This paper suggests that, subsequent to April
19, 1349, the Shroud was discovered among the confiscated
and forfeited personal goods of a Languedoc heretical family,
perhaps one victimized by the Black Death, and that Geoffrey
de Charny, by right of royal grant, legally and rightfully
acquired title to the relic. Given the location of the Sabarthes
and the other likely areas of heretical safe havens, the Shroud
forfeiture probably occurred in the seneschalsy of Carcassonne
where Geoffrey's trusted bailiff would have confiscated the
forfeited property even if Geoffrey himself was being held
in captivity.134 In Languedoc,
local bailiffs administered both high and low justice, arrested
heretics, pursued lawbreakers through the mountains, and attempted
to recover stolen objects.135 A forfeiture precipitated by the Plague would have
probably taken place in 1349 or 1350 and Geoffrey could have
been aware of his acquisition of the Shroud either before
he was taken prisoner at Calais on December 31, 1349 or during
his imprisonment in London through June of 1351.136
Such knowledge may have been responsible for the melancholy
religious poetry which Geoffrey authored during the period
of his captivity.137
1349-1390: PERPETUAL SILENCE AND THE MISSING
YEARS. Geoffrey has never been quoted as relating the
manner in which he acquired the Shroud and Wilson speculated
that something in the cloth's biography may have caused his
silence.138 If this is the explanation,
it may have been either a Cathar or a Templar
history; however, there is another possibility.
Given Geoffrey's noble character and personal
integrity, it is virtually certain that he fully reported
the circumstances of his acquisition to the Pope in Avignon.139
Indeed, a report and petition, together with papal approval,
was surely a prerequisite to holding the Lirey Shroud exhibitions
of the 1350's,140 and the Pope would never have permitted the relic to
become the object of worldwide pilgrimage141
unless he knew exactly how Geoffrey had acquired it and was
convinced that it was genuine; i.e., the Shroud was the same
cloth as that which had disappeared from Constantinople. Once
the Pope had learned of the reasons underlying the Languedoc
forfeiture, he would have deduced that Cathars
and their descendants had been the Shroud's keepers for a
century and a half and concluded that a disclosure of such
information might embarrass the Church, raise questions concerning
the motives for the Albigensian Crusade, create empathy for
who had preserved Christianity's most precious relic, prejudice
the Church's ongoing prosecution of heresy
, and/or expose the relic to attack as the forgery or
idol of heretics. In addition, had it become known that the
cloth was only recently discovered among the personal effects
of Plague victims, it may have aroused fear of contamination
and a clamor for the destruction of the relic. Finally, a
disclosure of the Shroud's genesis may have precipitated a
demand from the Byzantine Emperor or the Eastern Orthodox
Church that the relic be returned to Constantinople.
Geoffrey's noble character does not
preclude him from being the victim of a hoax.
This paper suggests that, for these and/or
other reasons, the Pope ordered Geoffrey and his family to
remain perpetually silent on the subject of how the cloth
had been acquired and, on that specific condition, authorized
the exhibitions of the Shroud which were held in Lirey during
the 1350's. Geoffrey, ever the perfect knight and obedient
servant of king and Church, would have dutifully complied
with the Pope's directive and would have never publicly spoken
of how he had come into possession of the relic, thereby keeping
the information secure among himself, his wife, and their
son, Geoffrey II.142
In approximately 1389, Geoffrey's son initiated
a new round of Shroud exhibitions and Pierre D'Arcis, the
Bishop of Troyes, attempted to terminate them. In a draft
memorandum, which probably never reached Pope Clement VII
in Avignon,143 D'Arcis claimed
that the cloth was a cunningly-painted fraud, offered to supply
the Pope with all relevant information "from public report
and otherwise", and expressed a desire to speak personally
to the Pope due to his inability, in writing, to sufficiently
express "the grievous nature of the scandal, the contempt
brought upon the Church and ecclesiastic jurisdiction, and
the danger to souls".144 D'Arcis' reference to ecclesiastic jurisdiction appears
directly related to the Inquisition's ongoing prosecution
of heretics145 and his allusion
to scandal indicates that he had learned something of the
relic's heretical, but not of its Byzantine, history. In any
event, Clement was already familiar with the Shroud's Cathar
biography and Constantinople pedigree through the records
of his predecessors and/or his familial relationship with
Geoffrey's son.146 There is no evidence of the Pope's having requested
any elaboration from D'Arcis or having conducted any investigation
whatsoever. Instead, Clement permitted the Shroud exhibitions
to continue (subject to rather trivial conditions) and he
twice sentenced D'Arcis to the same perpetual silence as that
which had previously bound Geoffrey and his family.147
Thus, the mystery of the Missing Years was born of the papal
mutation of witnesses who could have attested to a heretical
forfeiture which, in turn, would have directed historians
to the sindonic road from Constantinople to Languedoc.
Popes frequently prohibited - and still
prohibit - discussion of topics they find uncomfortable, including
the revenues generated by bogus relics.
POSTSCRIPT--HERETICAL CUSTODIANS OF THE SHROUD: It
is entirely possible that, on three separate occasions, the
Shroud was in the possession of heretics. It has been argued
that, for at least one hundred and fifty years after the Resurrection,
the cloth was in the possession of Carpocratian Gnostics before
being brought to Edessa, during the reign of Abgar the Great
(177-212 A.D.), and remained there, in the possession of Gnostics,
for an additional lengthy period.148
In the eighth century, and as the result of an alleged loan
transaction, the cloth was given to Edessan Monophysites and/or
Jacobites and remained in their possession for a period of
almost two hundred and fifty years (circa 700-944 AD).149
Since this paper suggests that the cloth was in the possession
and their descendants for approximately one hundred and forty-five
years (1204-1349 AD), the cumulative heretical history of
the Shroud may exceed five centuries in length and constitute
more than twenty-five per cent of its present life.
1. Ian Wilson hypothesized that this sydoine was
the Mandylion which could be traced back to before 50 AD Wilson,
2. Wilson, p. 172. It should be noted that an earlier
period of "Missing Years" (from the Resurrection to 544 AD) also
remains unaccounted for, except in the hypotheses of sindonologists.
3. See Wilson, pp. 176-177.
4. Wilson, p. 169, citing Robert de Clari, The
Conquest of Constantinople, p. 112, trans. E.H. McNeal (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1936). "The Byzantine Emperor had
always relied on his relics to protect his throne and his city,
and in 1204 both were gravely threatened by the Frankish Crusaders".
Drews, p. 50.
5. See Wilson, pp. 112-124.
6. Wilson, p. 170.
7. Wilson, p. 140.
8. Wilson, pp. 140-141.
9. Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire, Chapter 49, as cited in Wilson, p. 141.
10. Wilson, p. 144.
11. Wilson, pp. 147-148.
12. Currer-Briggs, pp. 126-127.
13. Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 14-15. Dualists in Constantinople
may have converted French crusaders to their heretical beliefs.
Sumption, p. 36. Crusaders, pilgrims and merchants were the likely
carriers of the heresy
to Western Europe. Wakefield, p. 29.
14. Sumption, pp. 17; 24. Baigent, p. 23.
15. Sumption, p. 39. The term "Cathar" is derived
from the Greek word for "purified" and was probably first used in
Northern Europe in about 1150. Sumption, p. 39. Wakefield, p. 30.
16. The Council branded Catharism a "damnable heresy".
Lea, p.118. Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 41-42.
17. Including a small military campaign. Wakefield,
18. Hamilton, p. 115.
19. It is "incontrovertible that Bogomils and Cathars
had close relationships after the middle of the twelfth century".
Wakefield, p. 29.
20. Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 11; 14. Absolute dualists
held that there were two equal Gods, one good and one evil. Moderate
dualists believed in one God who created an evil demiurge who, in
turn, created the world. Paulicians were absolute dualists. The
Bogomils started as moderate dualists but, as the result of a schism
which likely occurred in the mid-twelfth century, split into factions
of absolute and moderate dualists. By 1172, the absolute dualists
had gained control over the Church of Constantinople. Hamilton,
21. Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 15-16. The date of the Synod
was originally reported as 1167. See Hamilton, p. 116, f11. Reports
were spread that the Cathars
followed a pope headquartered in the Balkans. Wakefield, p. 32.
22. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 10. The Synod was held in
the village of St. Felix-de-Caraman. Wakefield, p. 31.
23. Hamilton, pp. 116-117.
24. Lea, pp. 119-120. Sumption, pp. 49-50. Warner,
Vol. 1, pp. 15-16.
25. Hamilton, p. 118. On a document located in the
archives of the Inquisition of Carcassonne,
it is noted: "This is a secret document of the heretics of Corcorezio,
brought from Bulgaria by Nazarius their Bishop, full of errors".
Warner, Vol. 1, p. 12.
26. The Council branded Catharism a "damnable heresy".
Lea, p.118. Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 41-42.
27. Baigent, p. 30. In addition, the Cathars employed
Bogomil scripture. See Wakefield, p. 35.
28. The Cathars' new leader, "Pope" Bartholemew,
created bishops, consecrated churches, made official visits, and
consulted with heretics throughout Languedoc. Warner, Vol. 2, pp.
29. Innocent III employed the French to crusade,
in 1199, against Markward of Anweiler, Emperor Henry VI's representative
in Sicily, and, in 1202, against the Moslems. Strayer, pp. 45-47.
In Languedoc, he first attempted to control the heresy
by replacing local clergy and investing local legates with
the power to excommunicate, to interdict, and to remove clergy with
neither notice nor right of appeal. Sumption, pp. 60; 68.
30. Sumption, p. 67. Innocent referred to heresy
as a "hateful plague" and a "spreading canker", and called
heretics "vile wolves among the Lord's flock".
31. As noted, in approximately 1172, Nicetas had
converted the Cathars from moderate to absolute dualism. Thus, in
1204, they shared religious beliefs both with the Paulicians and
with the faction of the Bogomils which controlled the Church of
Constantinople. The Cathar ascetic lifestyle was modeled on the
Bogomils, who renounced worldly possessions, rather than the Paulicians,
who owned property, married, and fought as warriors. Hamilton, pp.
32. Wilson, p. 173.
33. See Hamilton, p. 123. The dualists of Constantinople
had been permitted to have their own places of worship by the Byzantines.
Currer-Briggs, p. 140.
34. The Cathars rejected relics as devices through
which salvation could be procured. Lea, p. 93.
35. The Cathars also had sympathizers in the Knights
Templars (see the discussion on the Grail
appearance, infra., and endnote 48) and it is possible that
a Templar crusader pilfered the Shroud in Constantinople and sent
it to a Cathar friend or relative in Languedoc for their protection.
Currer-Briggs initially believed that Templars, for their own purposes,
may have brought the Shroud directly from Constantinople to Montpellier,
in Languedoc. Currer-Briggs, p. 92.
36. Esclarmonde once sent her sons on a raid of a
local monastery. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 11. During a disputation held
in Pamiers, she heckled the Church's representatives, provoking
a monk to exclaim: "Go away, woman, and spin at your distaff. It
is no business of yours to discuss matters such as these". Sumption,
p. 72. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 10. Oldenbourg, p. 60.
37. Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 10-11.
38. Lea, p. 138. Sumption, p. 60.
39. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 11. Perched 3,500 feet high
atop an almost sheer rock, Montsegur
was apparently a part of Esclarmonde's inheritance. Oldenbourg,
40. Oldenbourg, p. 317.
41. A retelling of the Edessa saga appears in Wilson,
42. See, e.g., Currer-Briggs, pp. 1-29; 72-73.
43. See, e.g., Baigent, pp. 20; 34.
44. Maurin, pp. 60-61.
45. A conclusion reached by Prof. A.T. Hatto, a translator
of Parzival. See Currer-Briggs, p. 16.
46. Wolfram may have obtained some of his Grail/Shroud
information from his patron, the Landgrave Hermann of Thuringia,
the owner of a psalter containing one of the first-known illustrations
of the Crucifixion where three nails were used rather than four;
i.e., in a manner consistent with the evidence of the Shroud. See
Currer-Briggs, pp. 192-193 and the discussion on the Cathars' three-nail
47. For example, at precisely the time when the Shroud
remains hidden, Wolfram declares that the Grail
is not a fantasy, but, rather, a clue to something of immense importance
which has been concealed. See Currer-Briggs, p. 14. Wolfram also
links the Grail with the concept of resurrection. Wolfram, p. 124.
Currer-Briggs, pp. 14-15. Baigent, p. 266.
48. Currer-Briggs, p. 17. These and other coincidences
between certain details of Parzival and circumstances involving
the Cathars were first noted, in 1934, by a Nazi author, Otto Rahn
in Kreuzzug gegen den Graal. See Currer-Briggs, pp. 16-18.
49. Wolfram, p. 124. Currer-Briggs, p. 15.
50. The Cathars had developed a close relationship
with the Knights
Templar by donating vast tracts of land to the Temple Order
and by infiltrating its ranks to such a degree that, at the beginning
of the Albigensian Crusade, a significant proportion of high-ranking
Languedoc Templars derived from Cathar families. See Baigent, p.
46, citing E.-G. Leonard, Introduction au cartulaire manuscrit
du Temple, Paris, 1930, p. 76.
51. Baigent, p. 34; p. 62.
52. Baigent, p. 274. The work was entitled Der
53. Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 10-11.
54. The cult of relics, such as the Passion and the
True Cross, formed the premise and genesis of the Fourth Crusade.
See Currer-Briggs, pp. 124-127.
55. The Pope proclaimed: "Let the strength of the
crown and the misery of war bring them back to the truth". Sumption,
56. Sumption, p.15.
57. Sumption, p. 159.
58. Sumption, pp. 81-82. The Pope predicted that,
if Raymond did not come to the aid of the heretics, "nothing should
be easier than to finish them off" and counseled that, when the
Cathars had been eliminated, the crusade should turn its attention
to the Count
of Toulouse. See, Oldenbourg, p. 15.
59. Wakefield, p. 97. Once Raymond had declared himself
an obedient son of the Church and submissive to any condition which
the Pope might impose upon him, he literally destroyed half of the
raison d'etre of the Crusade. Oldenbourg, p. 14.
60. Currer-Briggs claims that, in an illustration
appearing in a psalter dated to 1211-1212 and owned by the Landgrave
Hermann of Thuringia, Christ is first portrayed as being pierced
by three nails, with one nail driven through both feet, consistent
with what Currer-Briggs believes to be the evidence of the Shroud.
Currer-Briggs, pp. 191-192. It is an interesting coincidence that
this depiction of the Crucifixion appears in the prayerbook of the
patron of Wolfram von Eschenbach whose Grail
legend seems to place the Shroud in Languedoc between 1205 and 1207.
61. Currer-Briggs, p. 192.
62. This was an "unconventional" form of the Crucifixion.
Lea, pp. 102-103. Apparently, the hands were nailed above the head
and parallel to the body, with either one hand nailed above (but
not overlapping) the other or with one hand nailed to each side
of the upright beam.
63. Sumption, 48-49.
64. See, e.g., Barbet, Pierre, Proof of the Authenticity
of the Shroud in the Bloodstains: Part II, Shroud Spectrum International,
No. 23, p. 10. Currer-Briggs, p. 192.
65. On June 25, 1218, the Crusade leader, Simon de
Montfort was killed and was succeeded by his son, Amaury who served
in that capacity until January 14, 1224 when he made peace with
of Toulouse and Foix.
66. Joinville (Trans. Joan Evans), p. 15. The precise
date and circumstances of the invitation remain unknown. Guilhabert
de Castres, who was probably among the privileged few to have viewed
the Shroud, was in Castelnaudary during Amaury's eight-month siege
of the city in 1220-1221 and escaped to continue his missionary
work in the surrounding areas. Strayer, pp. 119-120. Sumption, p.
67. Oldenbourg, p. 36.
68. Warner, Vol. 1, p. 31.
69. Lea, p. 93.
70. Lea, p. 94.
71. There is, however, one uncorroborated account
of a Cathar Easter Day celebration in which the participants profess
their belief that consecrated bread and wine is the body and blood
of Christ. See Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 80-82.
72. Sumption, p. 234.
73. Warner, Vol. 1, pp. 73-74.
74. Lea, pp. 103-104.
75. Joinville (Trans. Rene Hague), pp. 5-6.
76. Including the future Louis X, who was presented
with the book in 1309. Joinville (Trans. Rene Hague), p. 9.
77. Meanwhile, at the Fourth Lateran Council, Esclarmonde's
brother, the Count, denounced her as an evil and sinful woman and
the Catholic Bishop of Toulouse railed that she had perverted many.
Oldenbourg, p. 182. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 85. The Count maintained
that he was not responsible for his sister and that he had no authority
"Am I to be ruined for my sister's sins?", he asked. Sumption, p.
78. Guilhabert was appointed Cathar Bishop of Toulouse
in 1208. Madaule, p. 51; Wakefield, p. 169.
79. Sumption, p. 228.
80. Sumption, p. 228. Guilhabert's missionary work
has been favorably compared with that of the Apostles. See Madaule,
81. Sumption, p. 237.
82. Wakefield, p. 169.
83. Oldenbourg, p. 363.
84. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 152.
85. Oldenbourg, p. 317. Sumption, p. 236.
remained untouched even as surrounding areas were captured by crusaders
in 1209 and 1212. See Sumption, p. 236. Oldenbourg, p. 317f.
87. Baigent, pp. 30-31.
88. Oldenbourg, p. 353. Baigent, pp. 31; 35.
89. Oldenbourg, pp. 355-356.
90. The request was made, apparently, for some religious
purpose. Sumption, p. 240.
91. Baigent, p. 33. Easter was the most important
celebration of the Cathar religious year. Warner, Vol. 1, p. 81.
92. Sumption, p. 240. The victims included Raymond
de Perella's wife, daughter, and mother-in-law. Oldenbourg, pp.
93. Oldenbourg, p. 361.
94. Sumption, p. 241. Baigent, p. 32.
95. Baigent, p. 32. Some survivors of Montsegur
claimed that these men were sent to retrieve the treasure which
had been removed in January. Oldenbourg, p. 362.
96. It is rather ironic that the three most important
years in the palladian history of the Shroud involve "forty-fours";
i.e., the Shroud saved Edessa in 544, it was taken from Edessa to
protect Constantinople in 944, and it failed to rescue Montsegur
97. In 1244, Easter fell on April 3.
98. Madaule, p. 136.
99. The Auteris lived in Ax-les-Thermes and had been
heretics since 1230. Madaule, p. 136.
100. As late as the mid-1270's, the nobility of Aragon
sought support against the King of France from Cathars hiding in
the Pyrenees. Shneidman, p. 321. From 1298 to 1309, the Cathars
hid an itinerant Perfect in the southern highlands of Languedoc.
Sumption, pp. 242-243.
101. In 1299, Cathars were arrested at Albi and in
1310, the Inquisition of Toulouse extracted Cathar confessions.
Lea, p. 97.
102. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 209.
103. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 214.
104. Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 214-216.
105. Sumption, p. 243. Madaule, pp. 137-138.
106. Madaule, p. 137.
107. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 216.
108. Strayer, p. 162.
109. Parenthetically, a Cathar-based Shroud biography
which ends in the years after Montsegur
still lends itself to a subsequent
Templar possession and Geoffrey's acquisition of the relic through
his family's putative Templar connections. The Temple Order, infiltrated
by Cathars, provided safe havens for Cathar refugees who may have
given the Shroud to their Templar protectors. See Baigent, p. 46.
110. Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 145-146; p. 174.
111. In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council relegated
punishment of condemned heretics to the State which was expected
to confiscate their goods. Warner, Vol. 2, p. 90. In 1228, Louis
IX ordered his bailiffs to seize the goods of the excommunicated.
Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 194-195. The Statutes of Toulouse, promulgated
in 1233, provided that all goods found in a heretic's house or hiding
place were to be confiscated and that all heretical inheritances
were to be forfeited unless the children could prove their own orthodoxy.In
1243, Pope Innocent IV approved the twelve statutes of Emperor Frederick
which consigned condemned heretics to the State for punishment,
treated heretical sympathizers as if they themselves were heretics,
and deprived the heirs and successors of both heretics and their
sympathizers of all temporal benefits. Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 153-154.
In Toulouse, all forfeited real property was divided between the
king and the bishop and all forfeited personal property belonged
exclusively to the crown. Warner, Vol. 2, pp. 194-195.
112. Even up in the mountains, a careless word could
lead to imprisonment or persecution by the Inquisition. See Le Roy
Ladurie, pp. 13-14.
113. Gottfried, p. 42.
114. This according to the "thoroughly reliable"
Gilles de Massis. Nohl, p. 40.
115. Gottfried, p. 49.
116. Nohl, p. 40.
117. Gottfried, p. 49.
118. Nohl, p. 40.
119. Gottfried, 50.
120. Gottfried, p. 50.
121. Nohl, p. 40.
122. Gottfried, p. 50-51. In Montaillou, one of the
last centers of Catharism, only half of the population survived
the catastrophes of the second part of the fourteenth century. Le
Roy Ladurie, p. 3.
123. Nohl, p. 37.
124. Gottfried, p. 53.
125. Wilson, p. 86.
126. A change in Geoffrey's burial plans appears
to pinpoint this period as the time frame for his acquisition of
the Shroud. See Crispino, Dorothy, Why Did Geoffroy deCharny
Change His Mind?, Shroud Spectrum International, Vol. 1, pp.
127. Geoffrey fought at Calais in 1349 and 1351;
at Picardy in 1353; at Normandy in 1354; and at Breteuil in 1356.
See Crispino, Dorothy, Why Did Geoffroy deCharny Change His Mind,
Shroud Spectrum International, No. 1, pp. 28-29.
128. Least likely is a gift from the king. See Wilson,
129. Wilson, p. 196.
130. Wilson, p. 87.
131. Wilson, p. 192.
132. Froissart, p. 129.
133. Crispino, Dorothy, Geoffroy de Charny in
Paris, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 24, Sept. 1987, p.
13. The grant is preserved in the Archives Nationales JJ77 #395,
folio 245 and is hand-copied in the Wuenschel Collection.
134. In these three areas of Languedoc, Geoffrey
probably employed bailiffs to represent his interests. See Crispino,
Dorothy, Poor Geoffrey, Shroud Spectrum International, Spicilegium,
1996, p. 24. A bailiff (bayle) was generally a non-native
who acted as mayor, chief of police, judge, tax collector, and army
mobilization officer all in one. See Wilson, p. 204.
135. Le Roy Ladurie, p. 11.
136. Even while imprisoned, Geoffrey would have readily
learned of his good fortune since his servants were travelling between
London and Paris in connection with raising a ransom for his release
and Geoffrey himself was released on parole in September of 1350
to attend the wedding of King John in Paris. Crispino, Dorothy,
To Know the Truth, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 28/29,
137. See Wilson, p. 90.
138. Wilson, p. 87. Wilson believes this something
to be the Shroud's hypothetical Templar
history and the memory of that Order's "savage downfall". Wilson,
139. In all likelihood, Geoffrey made his report
to Clement VI, who became Pope in 1342 since Geoffrey would have
probably filed his petition subsequent to his release from prison
in June of 1351. Pope Clement VI died in December of 1352 and construction
of the Lirey church took place between February and June of 1353,
during the papacy of Innocent VI, who reigned until 1362. Both Clement
VI and Innocent VI were French.
140. The documents have not yet been found, but certainly
must exist. Crispino, Dorothy, Why Did Geoffroy deCharny Change
His Mind?, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 1, p. 32. Church
approval was sought in 1389 by Geoffrey's son who obtained it directly
from the Pope's French legate, Cardinal de Thury, thereby circumventing
Bishop D'Arcis of Troyes. Wilson, Appendix B, pp. 267-268.
141. At least as reported by Pierre D'Arcis in his
draft memorandum of approximately 1389. See, Wilson, Appendix B,
142. Geoffrey's son said only that it had been graciously
given to his father, and his granddaughter stated merely that Geoffrey
had acquired it. Crispino, Dorothy, Why Did Geoffroy deCharny
Change His Mind?, Shroud Spectrum International, No. 1, p. 29.
Crispino, Dorothy, To Know the Truth, Shroud Spectrum International,
No. 28/29, pp. 30-31.
143. See, e.g., Bonnet-Eymard, Bruno, Study of
Original Documents of the Archives of the Diocese of Troyes in France
with Particular Reference to the Memorandum of Pierre D'Arcis,
Shroud News, No. 68, pp. 8-9.
144. Wilson, Appendix B, pp. 266-272.
145. The Inquisition's Piedmontese trials were held
in 1388. See, Lea, p. 96f.
146. Clement was the nephew of Geoffrey's widow,
Jeanne de Vergy, through her second marriage. Wilson, p. 206.
147. Wilson, pp. 209-210. Wilson concluded that Pope
Clement VII knew of the Shroud's Missing Years biography (albeit
Templar-based) and suppressed the truth both for political reasons
and in "a pious attempt to introduce a genuine relic for public
veneration". Wilson, pp. 208-210.
148. This argument claims that the image on the Shroud
is manmade. See, Drews, pp. 75-96.
149. The relic was pawned to a Monophysite, Athanasius
bar Gumayer, and was deposited into the Jacobite Church of the Mother
of God in Edessa. See Wilson, pp. 149; 254, citing J.B. Segal's,
Edessa the Blessed City.
Baigent, Michael, Leigh, Richard, and Lincoln, Henry
III, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Delacorte Press (New York, 1982).
Currer-Briggs, Noel, The Shroud and the Grail,
Weidenfeld and Nicolson (London, 1987).
Drews, Robert, In Search of the Shroud of Turin,
Rowman & Allanheld (Totowa, 1984).
Froissart, Jean, Chronicles (Trans. Geoffrey
Brereton), Penguin Books.
Gottfried, Robert S., The Black Death, The
Free Press (New York, 1983).
Hamilton, Bernard, Monastic Reform, Catharism
and the Crusades (900-1300), Variorum Reprints (London 1979).
Joinville, Jean de, The History of St. Louis
(Trans. Joan Evans),
Oxford University Press (London, New York and Toronto,
Joinville, Jean de, The Life of St. Louis,
(Trans. Rene Hague), Sheed and Ward (New York, 1955).
Lea, Henry Charles, A History of the Inquisition
of the Middle Ages, The Macmillan Company (New York, 1908).
Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel, Montaillou, The Promised
Land of Error (Trans. Barbara Bray), George Braziller, Inc.
(New York, 1978).
Madaule, Jacques, The Albigensian Crusade
(Trans. Barbara Wall), Fordham University Press (New York, 1967).
Maurin, Krystel, Les Esclarmonde, Editions
Privat (Toulouse 1995).
Nohl, Johannes, The Black Death, A Chronicle of
the Plague (Trans.
C.H. Clarke), Harper & Rowe (New York and Evanston,
Oldenbourg, Zoe, Massacre at Montsegur (Trans.
Peter Green), Pantheon Books (New York, 1961).
Shneidman, J. Lee, The Rise of the Aragonese-Catalan
Empire, 1200- 1350, New York University Press (New York, 1970).
Sumption, Jonathan, The Albigensian Crusade,
Faber & Faber (London and Boston, 1978).
Strayer, Joseph R., The Albigensian Crusades,
The Dial Press (New York, 1971).
Wakefield, Walter L., Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition
in Southern France, 1100-1250, University of California Press
(Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1974).
Warner, H.J., The Albigensian Heresy, Russell
& Russell (New York, 1967).
Wilson, Ian, The Shroud of Turin, The Burial Cloth
of Jesus Christ?, Image Books (Garden City, N.Y., 1979).
Wolfram, von Eschenbach, Parzival (Trans.
Andre Lefevere), The Continuum Publishing Company (New York, 1991).
History of the Shroud of Turin
Possible history before the 14th century: The Image of Edessa
to the Gospel of John (John 20:5-7), the Apostle Peter and the "beloved
disciple" entered the sepulchre of Jesus, and found the "linen
clothes" that had wrapped his body and "the napkin, that
was about his head."
There are numerous reports of Jesus' burial shroud, or an image
of his head, of unknown origin, being venerated in various locations
before the fourteenth century. None of these reports has been connected
with certainty to the cloth held in the Turin cathedral. Except
for the Image of Edessa, none of the reports of these (up to 43)
different "true shrouds" was known to mention an image
of a full body.
The Image of Edessa was reported to contain the image of the face
of Jesus and its existence is reported since the sixth century.
Some have suggested a connection between the Shroud of Turin and
the Image of Edessa. No legend connected with that image suggests
that it contained the image of a beaten and bloody Jesus. It was
said to be an image transferred by Jesus to the cloth in life. This
image is generally described as depicting only the face of Jesus,
not the entire body. Proponents of the theory that the Edessa image
was actually the shroud posit that it was always folded in such
a way as to show only the face.
John Damascene mentions the image in his anti-iconoclastic work
On Holy Images, describing the Edessa image as being a "strip,"
or oblong cloth, rather than a square, as other accounts of the
Edessa cloth hold. However, in his description, John still speaks
of the image of Jesus' face when he was alive. On the occasion of
the transfer of the cloth to Constantinople in 944, Gregory Referendarius,
archdeacon of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, preached a sermon
about the artifact. This was rediscovered in the Vatican Archives
and translated by Mark Guscin in 2004. This sermon says that this
Edessa cloth contained not only the face, but a full-length image,
which was believed to be of Jesus. The sermon also mentions bloodstains
from a wound in the side. Other documents have since been found
in the Vatican library and the University of Leiden, Netherlands,
confirming this impression.
In 1203, a Crusader knight named Robert de Clari claims to have
seen the cloth in Constantinople: "Where there was the Shroud
in which our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday raised itself
upright so one could see the figure of our Lord on it."
After the Fourth Crusade, in 1205, the following letter was sent
by Theodore Angelos, a nephew of one of three Byzantine Emperors
who were deposed during the Fourth Crusade, to Pope Innocent III
protesting the attack on the capital. From the document, dated 1
"The Venetians partitioned the treasures of gold, silver,
and ivory while the French did the same with the relics of the
saints and the most sacred of all, the linen in which our Lord
Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before the resurrection.
We know that the sacred objects are preserved by their predators
in Venice, in France, and in other places, the sacred linen in
(Codex Chartularium Culisanense, fol. CXXVI (copia), National
Unless it is the Shroud of Turin, then the location of the Image
of Edessa since the 13th century is unknown.
Some historians suggest that the shroud was captured by the knight
Otto de la Roche who became Duke of Athens, but that he soon relinquished
it to the Knights
It was subsequently taken to France, where the first known keeper
of the Turin Shroud had links both to the Templars
as well the descendants of Otto. Some speculate that the shroud
could have been a major part of the famed 'Templar treasure' that
treasure hunters still seek today.
The association with the Templars seems to be based on a coincidence
of family names, especially since the Templars were a celibate order,
and so unlikely to have (especially acknowledged) children. However,
the location of the Shroud in the 13th-14th centuries is interesting,
since the Frankish (French) contingent in 4th Crusade, which resulted
in the sack of Constantinople, was led by Tibaut of Champagne. Lirey,
the first known location of the Turin Shroud, is located in the
territory of this Count.
The known provenance of the cloth now stored in Turin dates to
1357, when the widow of the French knight Geoffroi de Charny (said
to be a descendant of Templar
Geoffroy de Charney who was burned at the stake with Jacques de
Molay) had it displayed in a church at Lirey, France (diocese of
During the fourteenth century, the shroud was often publicly exposed,
though not continuously, because the bishop of Troyes, Henri de
Poitiers, had prohibited veneration of the image. Thirty-two years
after this pronouncement, the image was displayed again, and King
Charles VI of France ordered its removal to Troyes, citing the impropriety
of the image. Sheriffs were unable to carry out the order.
In 1389, the image was denounced as a fraud by Bishop Pierre D'Arcis
in a letter to the Avignon Pope (now Antipope) Clement VII. Despite
the pronouncement of Bishop D'Arcis, Clement VII (first "antipope"
of the Western Schism) prescribed indulgences for pilgrimages to
the shroud, so that veneration continued, though the shroud was
not permitted to be styled the "True Shroud."
Alternative 14th century origins
The Second Messiah by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
argues that the Shroud's image is that of the final Knights
Templar leader, Jacques de Molay.
On Friday, 13 October 1307, the Templars
were arrested by Philip the Fair under the authority of Pope Clement
V. De Molay was nailed to a door and tortured, and his almost comatose
body was wrapped in a cloth and left for 30 hours to recover. According
to the hypothesis of Dr. Alan A. Mills in his article "Image
formation on the Shroud of Turin," in Interdisciplinary Science
Reviews, 1995, vol. 20 No. 4, pp 319326, convection currents
from the lactic acid in de Molay's perspiration created the image.
The image corresponds to what would have been produced by a volatile
chemical if the intensity of the color change were inversely proportional
to the distance of the cloth from the body, and the slightly bent
position accounts for the extension of the hands onto the thighs,
something not possible if the body had been laid flat.
Further, according to Knight and Lomas, de Molay, and co-accused
Geoffroy de Charney, were then cared for by brother Jean de Charney,
whose family retained the shroud after de Molay's execution on 19
1418, Humbert of Villersexel, Count de la Roche, Lord of Saint-Hippolyte-sur-Doubs,
moved the shroud to his castle at Montfort, Doubs, to provide protection
against criminal bands, after he married Charny's granddaughter
Margaret. It was later moved to Saint-Hippolyte-sur-Doubs. After
Humbert's death, canons of Lirey fought through the courts to force
the widow to return the cloth, but the parliament of Dole and the
Court of Besançon left it to the widow, who traveled with
the shroud to various expositions, notably in Liège and Geneva.
The widow sold the shroud in exchange for a castle in Varambon,
France in 1453. Louis of Savoy, the new owner, stored it in his
capital at Chambery in the newly built Saint-Chapelle, which Pope
Paul II shortly thereafter raised to the dignity of a collegiate
church. In 1464, the duke agreed to pay an annual fee to the Lirey
canons in exchange for their dropping claims of ownership of the
Beginning in 1471, the shroud was moved between many cities of
Europe, being housed briefly in Vercelli, Turin, Ivrea, Susa, Chambery,
Avigliana, Rivoli, and Pinerolo. A description of the cloth by two
sacristans of the Sainte-Chapelle from around this time noted that
it was stored in a reliquary: "enveloped in a red silk drape,
and kept in a case covered with crimson velours, decorated with
silver-gilt nails, and locked with a golden key."
16th century to present
1532, the shroud suffered damage from a fire in the chapel where
it was stored. A drop of molten silver from the reliquary produced
a symmetrically placed mark through the layers of the folded cloth.
Poor Clare Nuns attempted to repair this damage with patches. Some
have suggested that there was also water damage from the extinguishing
of the fire. However, there is some evidence that the watermarks
were made by condensation in the bottom of a burial jar in which
the folded shroud may have been kept at some point. In 1578, the
shroud arrived again at its current location in Turin. It was the
property of the House of Savoy until 1983, when it was given to
the Holy See.
In 1988, the Holy See agreed to a radiocarbon dating of the relic,
for which a small piece from a corner of the shroud was removed,
divided, and sent to laboratories. Another fire threatened the shroud
on 11 April 1997, but a fireman was able to remove it from its heavily
protected display case and prevent further damage.
In 2002, the Holy See had the shroud restored. The cloth backing
and thirty patches were removed. This made it possible to photograph
and scan the reverse side of the cloth, which had been hidden from
Using sophisticated mathematical and optical techniques, a part-image
of the body was found on the back of the shroud in 2004. Italian
scientists had exposed the faint imprint of the face and hands of
the figure. The most recent public exhibition of the Shroud was
in 2000 for the Great Jubilee. The next scheduled exhibition is
Theories of how the image on the Shroud was formed
The image on the cloth has many peculiar and closely studied characteristics,
for example, it is entirely superficial, not penetrating into the
cloth fibers under the surface, so that the flax and cotton fibers
are not colored; the image yarn is composed of discolored fibers
placed side by side with non-discolored fibers so many striations
appear. Thus the cloth is not simply dyed, though many other explanations,
natural and otherwise, have been suggested for the image formation.
Alone among published researchers, McCrone believed the entire image
to be composed of pigment - no one disputes that some of it, notably
the "blood" is actually a pigment.
Believers have hypothesized that the image on the shroud was produced
by a side effect of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Maillard reaction theory
The Maillard reaction is a form of non-enzymatic browning involving
an amino acid and a reducing sugar. The cellulose fibers of the
shroud are coated with a thin carbohydrate layer of starch fractions,
various sugars, and other impurities. In a paper entitled "The
Shroud of Turin: an amino-carbonyl reaction may explain the image
formation," R.N. Rogers and A. Arnoldi propose that amines
from a recently deceased human body may have undergone Maillard
reactions with this carbohydrate layer within a reasonable period
of time, before liquid decomposition products stained or damaged
the cloth. The gases produced by a dead body are extremely reactive
chemically and within a few hours, in an environment such as a tomb,
a body starts to produce heavier amines in its tissues such as putrescine
and cadaverine. This raises questions as to why the images (both
ventral and dorsal views) are so photorealistic, and why they were
not destroyed by later decomposition products. Removal of the cloth
from the body within a short enough time frame would prevent exposure
to these later decomposition products.
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas (1997) claim that the image
on the shroud is that of Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master
of the Order of the Knights
Templar, arrested for heresy
at the Paris Temple by Philip IV of France on 13 October 1307.
De Molay suffered torture under the auspices of the Chief Inquisitor
of France, William Imbert. His arms and legs were nailed, possibly
to a large wooden door. According to Knight and Lomas, after the
torture De Molay was laid on a piece of cloth on a soft bed; the
excess section of the cloth was lifted over his head to cover his
front and he was left, perhaps in a coma, for perhaps 30 hours.
They claim that the use of a shroud is explained by the Paris Temple
keeping shrouds for ceremonial purposes.
De Molay survived the torture but was burned at the stake on 19
March 1314 together with Geoffroy de Charney, Templar
preceptor of Normandy. De Charney's grandson was Jean de Charney
who died at the battle of Poitiers. After his death, his widow,
Jeanne de Vergy, purportedly found the shroud in his possession
and had it displayed at a church in Lirey.
Knight and Lomas base their argument partly on the 1988 radiocarbon
dating and Mills' 1995 research about a chemical reaction called
auto-oxidation and they claim that their theory accords with the
factors known about the creation of the shroud and the carbon dating
results. The counter argument is that the Templars
acquired the shroud upon one of the crusades and brought it
to France where it remained a secret until Jean de Charney died.
Photographic image production
suggest that there is a strong resemblance between this purported
self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci and the Man of the Shroud. Skeptics
have proposed many means for producing the image in the Middle Ages.
Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince (1994) proposed that the shroud is
perhaps the first ever example of photography, showing the portrait
of its purported maker, Leonardo da Vinci. According to this theory,
the image was made with the aid of a "magic lantern,"
a simple projecting device, or by means of a camera obscura and
light-sensitive silver compounds applied to the cloth.
Although Leonardo was born a century after the first documented
appearance of the cloth, supporters of this theory propose that
the original cloth was an inferior fake, which was replaced with
a superior hoax created by Leonardo. However, no contemporaneous
reports indicate a sudden change in the quality of the image. The
Turin Library holds a drawing of an old man that is widely but not
universally accepted as a self-portrait by Leonardo. As the image
depicts a man with a prominent brow and cheekbones and a beard,
some consider that it resembles the image on the Shroud and have
suggested that as part of a complex hoax, Leonardo may have placed
his own portrait on the Shroud as the face of Jesus. There is however,
no mention of this supposed resemblance in any known contemporary
account, nor any reference to a connection between the Shroud and
There is also conjecture that he was commissioned by the royal
family of Turin, with whom he was friends, to create a work which
could return to Turin that which had been lost for so many years.
Such theories are however, conjectural and are not taken seriously
by most scholars.
The photography theory also needs to account for lighting directionality,
which produces shadowing in photographs, and is absent from the
Turin Shroud. Analysis including side-by-side photos of Shroud and
self-photo by Prof. Nicholas Allen using means available to da Vinci,
was written in 2000 by STURP photographer Barrie Schwortz.
1977, a team of scientists selected by the Holy Shroud Guild developed
a program of tests to conduct on the Shroud, designated the Shroud
of Turin Research Project (STURP). Anastasio Cardinal Ballestrero,
the archbishop of Turin, granted permission. The STURP scientists
conducted their testing over five days in 1978. Walter McCrone,
a member of the team, upon analyzing the samples he had, concluded
in 1979 that the image is actually made up of billions of submicrometre
pigment particles. The only fibrils that had been made available
for testing of the stains were those that remained affixed to custom-designed
adhesive tape applied to thirty-two different sections of the image.
(This was done in order to avoid damaging the cloth.) According
to McCrone, the pigments used were a combination of red ochre and
vermillion tempera paint. The Electron Optics Group of McCrone Associates
published the results of these studies in five articles in peer-reviewed
journals: Microscope 1980, 28, 105, 115; 1981, 29, 19; Wiener Berichte
uber Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst 1987/1988, 4/5, 50 and Acc.
Chem. Res. 1990, 23, 7783. STURP, upon learning of his findings,
confiscated McCrone's samples, and brought in other scientists to
replace him. In McCrone's words, he was "drummed out"
of STURP and continued to defend the analysis he had performed,
becoming a prominent proponent of the position that the Shroud is
a forgery. As of 2004, no other scientists have been able to confirm
or refute McCrone's results with independent experiments, because
the Vatican refuses to cooperate.
Dr. John Heller and Dr. Alan Adler, the scientists whom STURP asked
for a second opinion after McCrone's, examined the same samples
as McCrone researched. They confirmed McCrone's result that the
cloth contains iron oxide. However, they concluded, both due to
the exceptional purity of the chemical and due to comparisons with
other ancient textiles which showed that retting flax draws in iron,
that the iron was not the source of the body image. McCrone's response
to their analysis has been vehement and negative.
Other microscopic analysis of the fibers seems to indicate that
the image is strictly limited to the carbohydrate layer, with no
additional layer of pigment visible. Proponents of the position
that the Shroud is authentic say that no known technique for hand
application of paint could apply a pigment with the necessary degree
of control on such a nano-scale fibrillar surface plane. Moreover,
they claim the technical skill required to produce the photographic
or near-photograpic realism in the image on the Shroud would be
impressive in any century, much less the twelfth or thirteenth.
However, Renaissance painters have produced photorealistic art.
Solar masking, or "shadow theory"
March 2005, N.D. Wilson, an instructor at New Saint Andrews College
and amateur sindonologist, announced in an informal article in Books
and Culture magazine that he had made a near duplicate of the shroud
image by exposing dark linen to the sun for ten days under a sheet
of glass on which a positive mask had been painted. His method,
though admittedly crude and preliminary, has nonetheless attracted
the attention of several sindonologists, notably the late Raymond
Rogers of the original STURP team, and Antonio Lombatti, founder
of the skeptical shroud journal Approfondimento Sindone. Wilson's
method is notable because it does not require any conjectures about
unknown medieval technologies and is compatible with claims that
there is no pigment on the cloth. However, the experiment has not
been repeated and the images have yet to face microscopic and chemical
analysis. In addition, concerns have been raised about the availability
or affordability of medieval glass large enough to produce the image
and the method's compatibility with Fanti's claim that the original
image is doubly superficial.
Using a bas-relief
Another theory suggests that the Shroud may have been formed using
a bas-relief sculpture. Researcher Jacques di Costanzo, noting that
the Shroud image seems to have a three-dimensional quality, suggested
that perhaps the image was formed using an actual three-dimensional
object, like a sculpture. While wrapping a cloth around a life-sized
statue would result in a distorted image, placing a cloth over a
bas-relief would result in an image like the one seen on the shroud.
To demonstrate the plausibility of his theory, Costanzo constructed
a bas-relief of a Jesus-like face and draped wet linen over the
bas-relief. After the linen dried, he dabbed it with ferric oxide
and gelatin mixture. The result was an image similar to that of
the Shroud. The imprinted image turned out to be wash-resistant,
impervious to temperatures of 250 C (482 F) and was undamaged by
exposure to a range of harsh chemicals, including bisulphite which,
without the help of the gelatine, would normally have degraded ferric
oxide to the compound ferrous oxide. Similar results have been obtained
by author Joe Nickell. Instead of painting, the bas-relief could
also be heated and used to burn an image into the cloth.
Second Image on back of cloth
During restoration in 2002, the back of the cloth was photographed
and scanned for the first time. The journal of the Institute of
Physics in London published a peer-reviewed articlePDF (1.52 MiB)
on this subject on April 14, 2004. Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo
of the University of Padua - Italy, are the authors. They describe
an image on the reverse side, much fainter than that on the front,
consisting primarily of the face and perhaps hands. Like the front
image, it is entirely superficial, with coloration limited to the
carbohydrate layer. The images correspond to, and are in registration
with, those on the other side of the cloth. No image is detectable
in the dorsal view of the shroud.
Supporters of the Maillard reaction theory point out that the gases
would have been less likely to penetrate the entire cloth on the
dorsal side, since the body would have been laid on a stone shelf.
At the same time, the second image makes the electrostatic hypothesis
probable because a double superficiality is typical of coronal discharge
and the photographic hypothesis is somewhat less probable.
Scientific Analysis of the Shroud
In 1988, the Holy See agreed to permit six centers to independently
perform radiocarbon dating on portions of a swatch taken from a
corner of the shroud, but at the last minute they changed their
minds and permitted only three research centers to undertake such
analysis. The chosen laboratories at Oxford University, the University
of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, produced
consistent results indicating that the analysed portion of the shroud
dated from the 13th to 14th centuries (12601390). The scientific
community had asked the Holy See to authorize more samples, including
from the image-bearing part of the shroud, but this request was
refused. One possible account for the reluctance is that if the
image is genuine, the destruction of parts of it for purposes of
dating could be considered sacrilege.
Chemical properties of the sample site
argument against the results of the radiocarbon tests was made in
a study by Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan and Raymond Rogers,
retired Fellow of the University of California Los Alamos National
Laboratory. In an interview with Harry Gove, father of modern carbon
14 testing, Gove acknowledges that bacterial contamination, which
was unknown during the 1988 testing, would render the tests inaccurate.
By ultraviolet photography and spectral analysis they determined
that the area of the shroud chosen for the test samples differs
chemically from the rest of the cloth. They cite the presence of
Madder-root dye and aluminum-oxide mordant (a dye-fixing agent)
specifically in that corner of the shroud and conclude that this
part of the cloth was mended at some point in its history. Plainly,
repairs would have utilized materials produced at or slightly before
the time of repair, carrying a higher concentration of carbon-14
than the original artifact.
A 2000 study by Joseph Marino and Sue Benford, based on x-ray analysis
of the sample sites, shows a probable seam from a repair attempt
running diagonally through the area from which the sample was taken.
These researchers conclude that the samples tested by the three
labs were more or less contaminated by this repair attempt. They
further note that the results of the three labs show an angular
skewing corresponding to the diagonal seam: the first sample in
Arizona dated to 1238, the second to 1430, with the Oxford and Swiss
results falling in between. They add that the variance of the C-14
results of the three labs falls outside the bounds of the Pearson's
chi-square test, so that some additional explanation should be sought
for the discrepancy.
Microchemical tests also find traces of vanillin in the same area,
unlike the rest of the cloth. Vanillin is produced by the thermal
decomposition of lignin, a complex polymer and constituent of flax.
This chemical is routinely found in medieval materials but not in
older cloths, as it diminishes with time. The wrappings of the Dead
Sea scrolls, for instance, do not test positive for vanillin.
These conclusions suggest thatother samples, from a part of the
shroud not mended or tampered with, would need to be tested in order
to ascertain an accurate date for the shroud. Since the Vatican
has refused to allow such testing, the age of the shroud remains
Raymond Rogers' 20 January 2005 paper in the scientific journal
Thermochimica Acta argues that the sample cut from the shroud in
1988 was not valid. Rogers concludes, based upon the vanillin loss,
that the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.
Skeptics contend that the carbon dating was accurate and that Rogers'
study was flawed.
A team led by Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes, MD, adjunct professor of
microbiology, and Stephen J. Mattingly, PhD, professor of microbiology
at the University of Texas at San Antonio have expounded an argument
involving bacterial residue on the shroud. There are examples of
ancient textiles that have been grossly misdated, especially in
the earliest days of radiocarbon testing. Most notable of these
is mummy 1770 of the British Museum, whose bones were dated some
800 to 1000 years earlier than its cloth wrappings. The skewed results
were thought to be caused by organic contaminants on the wrappings
similar to those proposed for the shroud. Pictorial evidence dating
from c. 1690 and 1842 indicates that the corner used for the dating
and several similar evenly-spaced areas along one edge of the cloth
were handled each time the cloth was displayed, the traditional
method being for it to be held suspended by a row of five bishops.
Wilson and others contend that repeated handling of this kind greatly
increased the likelihood of contamination by bacteria and bacterial
residue compared to the newly discovered archaeological specimens
for which carbon-14 dating was developed. Bacteria and associated
residue (bacteria by-products and dead bacteria) carry additional
carbon-14 that would skew the radiocarbon date toward the present.
Harry E. Gove of the University of Rochester, the nuclear physicist
who designed the particular radiocarbon tests used on the shroud
in 1988, stated, "There is a bioplastic coating on some threads,
maybe most." If this coating is thick enough, according to
Gove, it "would make the fabric sample seem younger than it
should be." Skeptics, including Rodger Sparks, a radiocarbon
expert from New Zealand, have countered that an error of thirteen
centuries stemming from bacterial contamination in the Middle Ages
would have required a layer approximately doubling the sample weight.
Because such material could be easily detected, fibers from the
shroud were examined at the National Science Foundation Mass Spectrometry
Center of Excellence at the University of Nebraska. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry
examination failed to detect any form of bioplastic polymer on fibers
from either non-image or image areas of the shroud. Additionally,
laser-microprobe Raman analysis at Instruments SA, Inc. in Metuchen,
NJ, also failed to detect any bioplastic polymer on shroud fibers.
Detailed discussion of the carbon-dating
There are two books with detailed treatment of the Shroud's carbon
dating, including not only the scientific issues but also the events,
personalities and struggles leading up to the sample taking. The
books offer opposite views on how the dating should have been conducted,
and both are critical of the methodology finally employed. These
books have been reviewed on amazon.com
In Relic, Icon or Hoax? Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud (1996;
ISBN 0750303980), Harry Gove provides an account. Gove describes
the struggle between Prof Carlos Chagas, chairman of the Pontifical
Academy of Sciences, and Cardinal Ballestrero, with Gove and Gonella
as the main combatants from each side. He provides a detailed record
of meetings, telephone conversations, faxes, letters and maneuvers.
The Rape of the Turin Shroud by William Meacham (2005; ISBN
1411657691) devotes 100 pages to the carbon dating. Meacham is highly
critical of STURP and Gonella, and also of Gove. He describes the
planning process from a very different perspective and focuses on
what he claims was the major flaw in the dating: taking only one
sample from the corner of the cloth. Meacham reviews the main scenarios
that have been proposed for a possibly incorrect dating, and claims
that the result is a "rogue date" because of the sample
location and anomalies. He points out that this situation could
easily be resolved if the Church authorities would simply allow
another sample to be dated, with appropriate laboratory testing
for possible embedded contaminants.
Material historical analysis
Much recent research has centered on the burn holes and water marks.
The largest burns certainly date from the 1532 fire (another series
of small, round burns in an "L" shape seems to date from
an undetermined earlier time), and it was assumed that the water
marks were also from this event. However, in 2002, Aldo Guerreschi
and Michele Salcito presented a paper at the IV Symposium Scientifique
International in Paris stating that many of these marks stem from
a much earlier time because the symmetries correspond more to the
folding that would have been necessary to store the cloth in a clay
jar (like cloth samples at Qumran) than to that necessary to store
it in the reliquary that housed it in 1532.
According to master textile restorer Mechthild Flury-Lemberg of
Hamburg, a seam in the cloth corresponds to a fabric found only
at the fortress of Masada near the Dead Sea, which dated to the
first century. The weaving pattern, 3:1 twill, is consistent with
first-century Syrian design, according to the appraisal of Gilbert
Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology in Belgium. Flury-Lemberg
stated, "The linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin does not display
any weaving or sewing techniques which would speak against its origin
as a high-quality product of the textile workers of the first century."
However, Joe Nickell notes that no examples of herringbone weave
are known from the time of Jesus. The few samples of burial cloths
that are known from the era are made using plain weave.
The 'restoration' of 2002
In the winter of 2002, the Shroud was subjected to an aggressive
restoration which shocked the worldwide community of Shroud researchers
and was condemned by most. Authorized by the Archbishop of Turin
as a beneficial conservation measure, this operation was based on
the claim that the charred material around the burn holes was causing
continuing oxidation which would eventually threaten the image.
It has been labeled unnecessary surgery that destroyed scientific
data, removed the repairs done in 1534 that were part of the Shroud's
heritage, and squandered opportunities for sophisticated research.
Detailed comments on this operation were published by various Shroud
researchers. In 2003, the principal restorer Mechthild Flury-Lemberg,
a textile expert from Switzerland, published a book with the title
Sindone 2002: L'intervento conservativo Preservation
Konservierung (ISBN 88-88441-08-5). She describes the operation
and the reasons it was believed necessary. In 2005, William Meacham,
an archaeologist who has studied the Shroud since 1981, published
the book The Rape of the Turin Shroud (ISBN 1-4116-5769-1) which
is critical of the operation. He rejects the reasons provided by
Flury-Lemberg and describes in detail what he calls "a disaster
for the scientific study" of the relic.
Biological and medical forensics
Details of crucifixion technique
The piercing of the wrists rather than the palms goes against traditional
Christian iconography, especially that of the Middle Ages. Many
modern scholars suggest that crucifixion victims were generally
nailed through the wrists. A skeleton discovered in Israel shows
that at least some were nailed between the radius and ulna. This
was not common knowledge in the Middle Ages. Proponents of the shroud's
authenticity contend that a medieval forger would have been unlikely
to know this operational detail of an execution method almost completely
discontinued centuries earlier.
There are several reddish stains on the shroud suggesting blood.
McCrone identified these as containing iron oxide, theorizing that
its presence was likely due to simple pigment materials used in
medieval times. Other researchers, including Alan Adler, a chemist
specializing in analysis of porphyrins, identified the reddish stains
as type AB blood and interpreted the iron oxide as a natural residue
of that element always found in mammalian red blood cells.
Unlike McCrone, Heller and Adler are neither forensic serologists
nor pigment experts, nor are they experienced in detecting art forgeries.
The 1983 conference of the International Association for Identification
where forensic analyst John E. Fischer demonstrated how results
similar to Heller and Adler's could be obtained from tempera paint.
Skeptics also cite other forensic blood tests whose results dispute
the authenticity of the Shroud. "Forensic tests on the red
stuff have identified it as red ocher and vermilion tempera paint."
Skeptics also note that the apparent blood flows on the shroud are
unrealistically neat. Leading forensic pathologist Michael Baden
observes that real blood never oozes in nice neat rivulets, it gets
clotted in the hair.
Researchers of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported the
presence of pollen grains in the cloth samples, showing species
appropriate to the spring in Israel. However, these researchers,
Avinoam Danin and Uri Baruch, were working with samples provided
by Max Frei, a Swiss police criminologist who had previously been
censured for faking evidence. Independent review of the strands
showed that one strand out of the 26 provided contained significantly
more pollen than the others, suggesting deliberate contamination.
Olive trees surrounding Jerusalem would have been in full bloom
at the time, meaning that there should have been a significant amount
of olive tree pollen on the Shroud. However, there does not seem
to be any at all.
Catholic veneration of the Shroud by the faithful probably involved
touching it. Public display of the Shroud in the past may have contributed
to its contamination not only by bacteria but also by pollen and
other air-borne plant material
Digital image processing
Using techniques of digital image processing, several additional
details have been reported.
NASA researchers Jackson, Jumper, and Stephenson reported detecting
the impressions of coins placed on both eyes after a digital study
in 1978. The coin on the right eye was claimed to correspond to
a Roman copper coin produced in AD 29 and 30 in Jerusalem, while
that on the left was claimed to resemble a lituus coin from the
reign of Tiberius. There is however no recorded Jewish tradition
of placing coins over the eyes of the dead.
Greek and Latin letters were discovered written near the face (Piero
Ugolotti, 1979). These were studied by André Marion, professor
at the École supérieure d'optique and his student
Anne Laure Courage, graduate engineer of the École supérieure
d'optique, in the Institut d'optique théorique et
appliquée in Orsay (1997).
The Gospel of John also states, "Nicodemus . . . brought a
mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. They
took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices,
as the manner of the Jews is to bury" (John 19:3940,
KJV). No traces of spices have been found on the cloth.
Analysis of the Image as a Work of Art
Correspondence with Christian iconography
are alleged similarities between traditional icons of Jesus and
the image on the shroud. As a depiction of Jesus, the image on the
shroud corresponds to that found throughout the history of Christian
iconography. For instance, the Pantocrator mosaic at Daphne in Athens
is similar. Skeptics attribute this to the icons being made while
the Image of Edessa was available, with this appearance of Jesus
being copied in later artwork, and in particular, on the Shroud.
Analysis of proportion
The man on the image is taller than the average first-century resident
of Judaea. The right hand has longer fingers than the left, along
with a significant increase of length in the right forearm compared
to the left.
Analysis of optical perspective
One further objection to the Shroud turns on what might be called
the "Mercator projection" argument. The shroud in two
dimensions presents a three-dimensional image projected onto a two-dimensional
surface, just as in a photograph or painting. A true burial shroud,
however, would have rested nearly cylindrically across the three-dimensional
facial surface, if not more irregularly. The result would be an
unnatural lateral distortion, a strong widening to the sides, in
contrast to the kind of normal photographic image a beholder would
expect, let alone the strongly vertically elongated image on the
Reasons to Doubt the Shroud's Authenticity
The shroud is known to be a medieval forgery
1389, the image was denounced as a fraud by Bishop Pierre D'Arcis
in a letter to the Avignon Pope (now Antipope) Clement VII, mentioning
that the image had previously been denounced by his predecessor
Henri de Poitiers, who had been concerned that no such image was
mentioned in scripture. Bishop D'Arcis continued, "Eventually,
after diligent inquiry and examination, he discovered how the said
cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the
artist who had painted it, to wit, that it was a work of human skill
and not miraculously wrought or bestowed."
The letter of Bishop D'Arcis also mentions Bishop Henri's attempt
to suppress veneration, but notes that the cloth was quickly hidden
"for 35 years or so," thus agreeing with the historical
details already established above. The letter provides an accurate
description of the cloth: "upon which by a clever sleight of
hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say,
the back and the front, he falsely declaring and pretending that
this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was
enfolded in the tomb, and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour
had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which He bore."
The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1912 seems to have been aware that
the shroud was not genuine:
Extract from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1912: The Holy Shroud
... This Shroud like the others was probably painted without
fraudulent intent to aid the dramatic setting of the Easter sequence:
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via
Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.
As the word sudarium suggested, it was painted to represent the
impression made by the sweat of Christ, i.e. probably in a yellowish
tint upon unbrilliant red. This yellow stain would turn brown
in the course of centuries, the darkening process being aided
by the effects of fire and sun. Thus, the lights of the original
picture would become the shadow of Paleotto's reproduction of
the images on the shroud is printed in two colours, pale yellow
and red. As for the good proportions and æsthetic effect,
two things may be noted. First, that it is highly probable that
the artist used a model to determine the length and position of
the limbs, etc.; the representation no doubt was made exactly
life size. Secondly, the impressions are only known to us in photographs
so reduced, as compared with the original, that the crudenesses,
aided by the softening effects of time, entirely disappear.
Lastly, the difficulty must be noticed that while the witnesses
of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries speak of the image
as being then so vivid that the blood seemed freshly shed, it
is now darkened and hardly recognizable without minute attention.
On the supposition that this is an authentic relic dating from
the year A.D. 30, why should it have retained its brilliance through
countless journeys and changes of climate for fifteen centuries,
and then in four centuries more have become almost invisible?
On the other hand if it be a fabrication of the fifteenth century
this is exactly what we should expect.
Radiocarbon dating in 1988 by three independent teams of scientists
yielded results published in Nature indicating that the shroud was
made during the Middle Ages, approximately 1300 years after Jesus
As indicated above, no scientific tests have shown the shroud to
date from the first century AD and many of them provide independent
reason to doubt the shroud's authenticity.
If you want to learn more about these questions from experts like
Henry Lincoln, on location in the Languedoc, you might be interested
in Templar Quest Tours.