The Holy Shroud of Jesus
The Holy Shroud is the Burial Cloth in which the Sacred
Body of Jesus Christ was wrapped, when laid in the Tomb of Joseph
of Arimathea. Upon its surface, it bears the Image of our Crucified
God and the Indelible Marks of His Precious Blood. Truly, the
Shroud is the Oldest and most Precious Relic in the World; a Corporal Relic left, in the
Providence of God, to an Unbelieving World to be a
"Silent Witness" to the Infinite Love of
God to Man, to an Unbelieving World, of the
Divinity of Our Lord, and to Memorialize the
Sacrificial Victory of the Son
of God over Sin, Death, and
The Significance of the Holy Shroud is Inseparable from the Significance of
Him Whose Image is so Brutally Manifested
upon the Cloth; for the Shroud is a Divine Constituent
in the Immense Cycle represented in the Sacrifice of the
Cross, prepared before the Creation of the World: the Old Testament reaching forth to
Calvary, and Calvary, through the
Mass and the Blessed Sacrament, lifting Man
up, on the Merits of the Sacrifice of
Redemption, to Eternal Beatitude in
The Holy Shroud is an Integral Part of the
Divine Story of Him Who "Spangled the
Heavens with the Jewels of Night"; of Him Who created
Heaven and Earth, and every Living Creature; of Him Who Lavished
the Sky in Azure Blue, and Bequeathed Loveliness to the Verdant Landscape; of Him Who
devised the Beauty and Fragrance of the Littlest Flower; of Him Who Breathes Life and Wonder
into the Smallest Child; of Him Who was Born of a Virgin
Mother and Who Reigns as King
of kings, and Lord of lords; of Him Who
beneath the Crown of Thorns wore the Imperishable
Aureole of Divine Majesty; of Him Who
within Whose Body, all Torn and
Disfigured, there abided Infinite Power,
Infinite Justice, Infinite Mercy, and
Infinite Love; of Him in place of
Whom the Modern World Blasphemously cries
aloud, "Give us Barabbas! Crucify Christ!"; of Him
Who said, "Without Me you can do nothing"; the Palpable Truth of which
Contemporary Society is a Standing Proof. It is the Eternal Story of the Second Person of the Blessed
Trinity, the Word made Flesh,
without Whom there is no Christianity,
no Redemption, no Salvation,
and no slightest Hope for Mankind.
The Testimony of Scripture
taking Him down, he wrapped Him in Fine Linen, and laid Him
in a Sepulcher that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid". (Luke 23:53)
taking the Body, wrapped It in a Linen Cloth".
Joseph brought a Linen Cloth, and took Him down, and wrapped
Him in the Linen Cloth and laid Him in a
Tomb". (Mark 16:46)
therefore, took the Body of Jesus and wrapped It in Linen Cloths".
The Holy Shroud is the Linen Cloth in
which Jesus Christ was wrapped when laid in the
It is certain that on the Day of the Resurrection, Saint Peter and
Saint John found the Shroud lying in the
It is likewise certain that the Apostles and the followers of Christ
guarded the Shroud with the most Reverent Care. It had to be hidden from certain
Destruction, from the Jews and all those who
Persecuted the Infant Church - a
Persecution which would Rage with ever-increasing Intensity during the Apostolic Age of the
Church in which the Bloody Holocaust of
Millions of Christians Crimsoned
the Arenas of the Amphitheaters from Corinth to Rome, in Fidelity
to their Crucified God.
So Hated was the Cross, the Great Symbol of the
Catholic Faith, that it was not until the Fifth
and Sixth Centuries that Crucifixes were Publicly
Displayed - as it was not until the Thirteenth Century that
Devotion to the Passion of Christ
Dr Pierre Barbet, in A Doctor at Calvary, writes of the
Obscurity of the Shroud in the
Early Centuries following upon the Death of
". . . There is thus an obscure period when the Shroud does not appear, indeed when it cannot
appear. It may well have been carefully concealed, and thus escaped all occasions of being destroyed. Romans, Persians, Medes and
Parthians, massacring and dispersing the Christians, pillaging and destroying their churches . . ."
The Shroud in the Early Church
What then became of the Shroud? Nicephorus Callistus wrote in his
Ecclesiastical History that in the Year 436 the Empress Pulcheria had
built in Constantinople the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Blachernae, and that she kept there the
"Burial Linen" of Jesus Christ. It was
there that Robert de Clari found the Shroud in
In 631, Saint Braulion, Bishop of Saragossa, writes,
as if relating something that had been well known for a very long time, "of the Winding-Sheet"
in which the Body of the Lord was wrapped; and he
writes further: "the Scriptures do not tell us that it was preserved, but one cannot call those
superstitious who believe in the authenticity of the Winding Sheet".
The Benedictine Abbot of Iona, Adamnan, writes of a French Bishop, by the name of Arculphus,
who, in the Year 640, while a Pilgrim in Jerusalem, saw and kissed the
"Winding Sheet" of Our Lord which was placed over
His Head in the Sepulcher.
Pope Stephen III, shortly after his election in 769, gave a sermon in which
he stated that the Image on the Shroud is that of the
Body of Jesus Christ:
"For the same Mediator between God and man . . . stretched His Whole Body on the Cloth, white as snow,
on which the Glorious Image of the Lord's Face and the length of His whole Body was so Divinely Transformed that it was sufficient for
those who could not see the Lord Bodily in the Flesh, to see the Transformation on the Cloth".
In the Eighth Century Saint John Damascene mentions the
Sindon (Shroud) as being among the Treasured Relics
Venerated by Christians.
It is not known with certitude when the Shroud was brought back to Constantinople.
Robert de Clari, a Knight of Picardy, gives a Minute Description of the Riches and Relics he saw in the Churches
and Palaces in Constantinople in 1204. At the Basilica of the Blachenae
he discovered the Holy Shroud. He recounts that ". . . there was a
Monastery known as Lady Saint Mary of the Blachenae, in which was kept the Shroud in which Our Lord was wrapped; on every Friday this was held out,
so that it was possible to see the Face of Our Lord. And neither Greek nor Frenchman knew what happened to the Shroud after the town was
The Holy Shroud thus became part of the Spoils taken by a Conqueror in
War. It is thought that it was taken back to France by the Knights Templar during the Crusade of
1204. History records that it reappeared in France in
1349, in the Church of Saint Etienne at Besancon. It was in Lirey,
France, in 1357, and finally, in 1452,
it was brought to Turin, Italy, where, as the Miraculously Preserved
Burial Sheet of the Incarnate God, it is
Piously Venerated today.
The Cloth Itself
The Holy Shroud is a piece of Ancient Linen Cloth,
Fourteen Feet Three Inches Long by Three Feet Seven Inches
Wide. It is a Hand-Woven Three-to-One Herringbone Twill Cloth made of Mediterranean
Basin Flax. The Weave of the Cloth was unknown to Europe in the Fourteenth Century.
The Cloth is in an excellent State of Preservation.
Upon first viewing the Shroud, (below right) the most Conspicuous Markings are
Two (2) Dark Lines that Run Parallel the entire length about
Twelve Inches from the Outer Edges. These Lines are the result of Fire Damage which occurred in Chambray,
France in 1532. Visible along these Dark Lines are light-colored Triangular
Marks - Patches made of Altar Linen used to Repair the Damage. Water stains are also evident from the
Down the Central Part of the Shroud, within the Two (2)
Parallel Dark Lines, one sees Two (2) Impressions made by a
Body: One, the Front Image of the Body,
the Other, the Back. In a painting by Guilio Clovio, (above left) from
the Sixteenth Century, he represents the manner in which Christ was enclosed in the Shroud: The Sacred Body was laid on half of the Cloth with the
Head toward the center; the other half was then folded over the Head thus covering the entire
The Front and Back images of the Crucified Christ
are of a faint Sepia Color (light tan) on the off-white, yellowing cloth. Superimposed upon the distinct
Body Images are Darker Markings made by Blood, which are brownish-red in
color. The Blood Stains can be seen at the Wrists and
Feet where the Crucified was Nailed to the
Cross; upon the Head covered with a
Crown of Thorns; upon the Face which had
been Severely Beaten; on the Countless Wounds covering the Body as the Result of the
Horrible Scourging; upon the Shoulders which had borne
the Weight of the Cross on the Doleful Journey to
Mount Calvary; and from the Side from which Flowed the
Precious Blood which is the cause of Man's Redemption.
The Man of the Shroud is between
Thirty to Thirty-Five Years of Age. The
Blood Stains show no Traces of Putrefaction; which means that the Body was
in the Shroud for no more than Three (3) Days.
All the Wounds, as well as the Condition of the Blood, conform to the Biblical Description
of the Passion and Death of
The Shroud Today
Throughout the History of the Shroud, its Proprietors have always believed it to be the
Burial Cloth of the Incarnate God, and have
always Reverenced it as a Miraculous Benefaction,
Truly Worthy of Man's Humble Adoration.
The Shroud is presently kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
in Turin, Italy. Beneath a vaulted ceiling, above a
Seventeenth-Century Altar in the Royal Chapel, the Sacred Relic
is Encased in a Special Reliquary. For reasons of security, there have been relatively few exhibitions of the
Shroud in recent Centuries. In this Century, it was exhibited in 1931,
1933, 1978 and
2010. In the Nineteenth Century it was publicly displayed on
Five (5) occasions.
At the Last Exhibition of the Nineteenth Century, in
1898, an Amateur Photographer by the name of Secundo Pia was authorized to record the now Vague Images
upon the Shroud, by means of the newly discovered Science of Photography.
First Century Photo-negative
Secundo Pia, a Lawyer by Profession, who had received several prizes for his work as an Amateur Photographer, was
grudgingly given permission by King Umberto I to photograph the Shroud.
With primitive equipment he was allowed to photograph the Venerated Cloth as
it hung over the High Altar in the Cathedral. Late in the evening, on the 28th of May 1898,
Pia took Two (2) long Exposures of the
Shroud in the Deserted Church. It was almost Midnight as he reached his Apartment and rushed to develop the Plates in
his Dark Room. By Pia's own account, he was greatly relieved when his plates developed.
Seconds later, his relief turned to astonishment, for what he looked upon as he peered at the Plates was not the
Identical Image visible to the Naked Eye on the Shroud,
but rather a Stunning and Unmistakable Likeness.
As Pia peered at the wet Negatives, he was shocked to discover a "
Natural" Picture of a Powerfully Built Bearded Man, whose Features were Clearly Visible. Pia's
Negative Photographic Image was, therefore, a Positive
Picture. Thus, in addition to being the most Sacred Relic in the World, the
Shroud is also the World's Oldest Photograph.
The Shroud's Double-Image had undergone a most Dramatic Transformation. In
Pia's Negative Print, which was actually a Positive
Picture, Christ could be seen in all of His
Divine Majesty, in His Imperishable Dignity, and in the True Awfulness of
the Torments of Inflicted Hatred which
covered His Body from Head to
Foot with Blood and
Wounds. Now the Body was Truly Visible since there was Natural Light and
Dark Shading, lending Relief and Depth to all the Features. Blood Stains which showed White to the Naked Eye, could in the Photograph be
truly seen as they had flowed from the Sacred Hands,
Feet, Head, and Side. The most
Conspicuous and Striking Feature of the entire Miraculous Image was the
Face. Through the Obvious Disfigurement and Blood
Markings there Resided an Eternal Repose and a Divine
Majesty that was truly not of this World.
Secundo Pia found himself thinking that he was, in truth, the First
Person in almost Nineteen Hundred Years to gaze upon the True Appearance of the
Body of Jesus Christ exactly as
He had appeared when in Death
He was laid in the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
The Dramatic Revelation of Pia generated enormous interest in the
Shroud. Marquis Fillipo Crispolti was the first to make the news of the
"Photograph" public. On the Thirteenth of June 1898,
"The picture makes an indelible impression . . . the Long and Thin Face of Our Lord,
the Tortured Body and the Long Thin Hands are evident. They are Revealed to us after centuries; nobody having seen them since the
Ascension into Heaven".
The entire effect of the picture of the Shroud reveals a Perfectly
Proportioned Anatomy. Paul Claudel, the French Writer, remarked of the
Crucified Countenance, captured on it:
"Something so Frightening and yet so Beautiful lies in the Image that a man can only
escape it by means of Worship".
Science and the Shroud
Every True Scientist who has studied the Shroud has been deeply impressed
by the Anatomical Accuracy of the Image and the True Character of the Markings of
Blood. A great deal of Scientific Investigation has been conducted on the Holy
Shroud since the Dramatic Revelation made by Secundo Pia in
1898. Some of the Salient Findings are:
The Body Images are Photographic Negatives.
The Weave of the Cloth had been in common use in the Middle East in the First
Century, and was at that time unknown in Europe.
The Man on the Shroud is approximately
Five Feet Eleven Inches in height and of a powerful and well-proportioned physique.
Concerning the well-defined facial features, former Harvard Professor, Carleton S. Coon, has described
the Man of the Shroud as definitely
"of a physical type found in modern times among Sephardic Jews and Noble Arabs".
The Blood markings show no Sign of Putrefaction.
The Blood Stains are composed of Hemoglobin.
The Blood has been Analyzed and found to be Type
AB, the "Universal Acceptor".
The Flesh and Blood from the
Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
were also Analyzed and found to be Type AB, the "Universal
There are Precise Anatomical and Pathological Data in Our Lord's Body,
Wounds and Blood
Markings, and a Complete Absence of Distortion in the Images.
The Markings on the Shroud are not the Result of Paint or any known process;
a Painted Image would reveal Pigment and Directionality of Brush Strokes. No evidence of these whatsoever can be found.
The Body Images are Superficial and have the Depth of but
One or Two fibers.
Using Three-Dimensional Enlargements of the
Face of the Shroud, Drs Jumper and
Jackson discovered Coins covering the Eyes of the Crucified
Christ. These were placed on the Eyelids to keep them closed, which was a Common Burial Practice in the first half of
the First Century in Judea. Professor Filas, using Slide
Enlargements, discovered on the Right Eye a Pontius Pilate Coin minted in Palestine between the
Years 29 and 32 A.D. Dr Whanger
corroborated the work of Professor Filas and discovered on the Left Eye a Pontius Pilate Lepton, struck
only in the Year 29 A.D.
Dr Max Frei, a Criminologist, Botanist and Pollen Expert, after exhaustively testing the Microscopic Pollen Grains imbedded
in the Fabric, declared that Fifty-Six (56) Varieties of Pollen were found on the Cloth. He
determined that some were at least Five Hundred Years Old. It was his opinion that the
Cloth is approximately Two Thousand Years Old and came from the Area of Palestine.
The Images on the Holy Shroud are "consistent
with Medical and Pathological Knowledge, with Roman Practices, with Jewish Ritual, with History, and with the Bible".
No other "Photograph" exists revealing the Inhuman
Barbarity of Death by Crucifixion,
and no other "Crucified" has, in recorded history, been given a
Crown of Thorns, in Hateful Mockery of His
Divine Kingship, save Jesus Christ, the Son
God, in Establishing the Conditions of our Salvation,
had determined that the Price to be Paid for our Redemption should be nothing less than
His Bloody Sacrifice on the
All of the Acts of Our Lord's Life were bound up with
His Death, "for this I came, for this
I die", forming with it the Complete Price of our Redemption.
"Priest as He was, and entirely and only a Priest",
His every Action from the First Moment of
His Existence was colored by His future
Sacrifice. The whole of His Life on Earth was Ordained to the Consummation
of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
His Life was Beautiful beyond description; all is encompassed in a
Sublime Grandeur and a Divine Loveliness when viewed in the
Luminous Reflection of the Shower of Graces
which Fall from Mount Calvary.
The Key to the Life of Our Lord may be summarized in the
Words of Saint Paul:
"Sacrifice and Oblation Thou wouldst not: but a Body Thou hast fitted to Me: Holocausts for Sin did
not please Thee. Then said I; Behold I come".
The Man of the Shroud, the
Incarnate God, has taken the place of the World's Rejected Sacrifices and has become
Himself the One (1)
True Sacrifice for Sinful
"He saw from the First, Earth covered with Sin, and with Sinners who stood desperately in need of a
'deluge of blood' to wash away their Offenses. He saw that this Great Work was Reserved for Him Alone. He Accepted and Adored the
Designs of His Father in His Vocation. He Accepted the Reasons why He was Sent on Earth, the Work and Mysteries which He must Accomplish,
the Abasement in which He must Live, the Cross on which He must Die. And He Gloriously offers Himself a Perpetual Victim, for the Great
Glory of His Father, for the Wiping-out of Sin, and for the Salvation of Men".
And so, dear Reader:
Know nothing save that Jesus Christ is Almighty God.
Realize nothing save that Our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome
Sin, Death, and
Satan through His Sublime Death
on the Cross.
Fear nothing save that Our Lord say to you,
"Dost thou Betray the Son of Man with a kiss"?
Learn nothing save His Divine Faith and that He
is Risen Glorious from the Dead.
Desire nothing apart from Him and the Great Call to Eternal
Do nothing which would Jeopardize your Union with the
Glorified Christ, when in Death you will Embark upon the
And Contemplate nothing save "Jesus Christ and Him Crucified".
"His Sepulcher is Truly Glorious". The Glory of the Great Ones of this World Ends
in the Tomb; it is in the Tomb that the
Glory of God Incarnate Begins. To
Profess the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is to
Profess that He is Truly God. To Profess that
He is Truly God is to Embrace
His Holy Religion, since the Catholic Religion is wholly founded upon
the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that the
Divinity of Jesus Christ has been Unmistakably
Revealed to us through the Glorious Miracle of His
In His Passion and
Death, Our Lord submitted in Humble
and Terrible Atonement for the Sins of those
He Created. The Glory of
Christianity is Inseparable from the Glory of the
Cross. In the Providence of God there is no
Resurrection without the Crucifixion, no
Easter Sunday without Good Friday, no
Infant Jesus without the Virgin Mother, and no
Salvation without the Savior of the World and
His Holy Religion.
From the Holy Shroud our Crucified
Terrible Suffering is so Brutally Manifested thereon, asks each:
Do you not know that it was for you that I was Reviled, Spat-upon, Mocked, Scourged, Condemned, Cursed, and
Crucified? Do you not realize that you were among the number of those that Put Me to Death? Do you not know that in the Hall of Pontius
Pilate I had My Eyes fixed on you - you whom I knew by Name and Sight before the Creation of the World? It was you who fitted the Nails
to My Hands and Feet, and who Plunged the Spear into My Side. It was you who Mocked Me as My Last Breath was escaping from My Quivering
Lips. All the World knows that without My Divine Faith it is impossible to Please God. To all, I have declared that there is no Salvation
without My Precious Blood. What Recourse do I have in the Face of a World that mocks Divine Faith and Violently Wars against My Blood?
It is I Who Died for Man, and it is Modern Man who would make of his World a Colossal Golgotha. You, Contemporary Man, are a Collaborator
in the Modern Impiety that Labors without Interruption to Ungod Me in My Creation, to Ungod Me in My Incarnation, to Ungod Me in the
Sacrifice of the Mass, and to ungod Me in My Heaven. You are an Accomplice in the
Greatest Crime that Time and Eternity could ever behold - you have Crimsoned your hands in the Blood of the Savior of the World.
Do you not Realize that Shortly, Momentarily, you will stand before the Throne of Judgment,
"while Hell Moans and Heaven Weeps at the Terrors of My Anger"?
To a Faithless, Impious and
Turbulent Generation, Our Lord has left to the
World His Holy Shroud as a Divine Signet
of His Undying love for Man.
The Dead Christ Supported by an Angel -
by CANO, Alonso, from Museo del Prado, Madrid
Look upon His Sacred Body which, in Death,
was filled with the Horrors of Sin. Look upon the Terrible
Wages of Sin which was the Death of the
No longer does the Heart throb. The Countenance that was once the Delight
of Heaven and Earth, is now all Bruised, Disfigured
and Covered with Blood. The Divine Lips
that Proclaimed the Law of Charity, the Words of Eternal
Life, are now Silent and Motionless. The Sacred Head that in
Jesus' Infancy had Reposed upon His
Mother's Breast, is now covered with a Crown of
Thorns. The Omnipotent Hands that had Fashioned Heaven and Earth, and
Wrought Stupendous Miracles, are now Rent with the
Wounds of the Cruel Nails. The Side, the Seat of the
Sacred Heart, is now Open from the Wound
of the Lance, and the Precious Blood and Water
Behold your God "from Whom to depart is to
Die, to Whom to Repair is to Revive, in Whom to Dwell is to Live".
There is no Greatness in this World, apart from the Cross of
Christ. We must not allow the Cunning
and Cruelty of the Enemies of
Our Lord, the ceaseless Tribulations that
Afflict us on all sides, and the Terrible
Disloyalty and Treachery of the Modern World, to Daunt our
Constancy and Courage in
God's Holy Cause. If we are Faithful to
Him we must ever Suffer with
Him. The Servant is not Greater than his
Master, nor Wiser than God Himself.
If we would be Faithful to Our Lord
in all things, we would own that through Creation,
Baptism, Grace and Providence
we belong Entirely to God; and as His, our
Lives should Mirror the Fidelity of our Hearts
and ever Exemplify the Beautiful Words of Saint Robert Southwell:
"We should have no other University than Jerusalem, no other School but Mount Calvary, no
other Pulpit but the Cross, no other Reader but the Crucifix, no other Letters but His Sacred Wounds, no other Commas but His Lashes, no
other Periods but His Nails, no other Book but His Open Side, and finally no other Lessons but 'to know Jesus Christ and Him