MURCIA, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - Groundbreaking new research reveals the Shroud of Turin — believed to be the burial shroud of Christ — shows marks indicating a spear wound consistent with that of Our Lord depicted in the gospels. The same report also shows the Shroud of Turin and the Shroud of Oviedo were wrapped around the same man.
In a study released Friday by the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM) in Spain, researchers offered the newest forensic evidence suggesting the Shroud of Turin and the Shroud of Oviedo came from the same period and covered the same person. The Shroud of Oviedo also shows the man suffered a wound from a sharp object after death. This accords with the account given by St. John in his Gospel, which describes a Roman centurion opening Christ's side with a spear while He still hung on the Cross.
Alfonso Sánchez Hermosilla, one of the project's lead researchers, says the report "not only reaffirms that both garments involved the same person, but also that, when already a corpse and standing upright, the person suffered a penetrating wound."
Researchers had previously been unsure of the origin of the bloodstains on the Shroud of Oviedo. "The bloodstains on which we have worked have always been there, but no one had studied them, and they are the only ones of those characteristics," said Sánchez Hermosilla. "So far, they had been attributed to marks caused by flogging wounds."
But it soon became clear to researchers that not all the stains on the shroud came from a living person. When put under an infrared filter, some of the stains became invisible. According to Sánchez Hermosilla, this is what one would expect of blood from a cadaver, not blood from a living man. Analysis of the wound also suggested that it had been given to a person who was standing upright.
Further examination explains why there were certain stains coming from the nose and mouth.
"[W]hen passing through the right lung, the weapon also made its way through the intraparenchymal airways and, as a consequence, part of the organic fluids mentioned were thus opened in an upward trajectory as a result of the intrathoracic pressure caused by the kinetic energy that the advance of the weapon transmitted to the corpse," the scientist explained.
"These fluids traveled through the upper airways and finally they were also emitted by the mouth and nose of the corpse, causing new spots in these areas in the Shroud of Oviedo," he noted.
The evidence for the spear wound accords with the eyewitness account given by St. John in chapter 19 of his Gospel: "One of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immeidately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it, hath given testimony; and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe."
Though not as famous as the Shroud of Turin, the Shroud of Oviedo, which is believed to be the cloth wrapped around the head of Christ, has aroused similar devotion, likewise fostering discussions over its authenticity. The Oviedo Shroud has been housed in the cathedral town of Oviedo in northern Spain since the 11th century.
Forensic research from UCAM had already concluded in a 2015 report that the Shrouds of Oviedo and Turin had once enveloped the same person. Researchers compared "blood studies, presence of pollens, preservation of the textile material (flax) and determination of organic and inorganic contaminants."
Scientists had previously found grains of a pollen spore from Helicrysum, a plant used in Jewish burials during the first century of the Christia era. Similar spores had also been found on the Shroud of Turin. They ruled out the possibility that these spores had found their way on the Shroud of Oviedo at a later date, noting that the spores were attached to the blood, and were "not random."
The study also describes in detail what tissues and organs would have been pierced by the sharp object in its "hypothetical trajectory," and notes that whoever administered the coup de grâce had experience with a weapon, based on the fact that the spear went deftly between the victim's ribs in precisely the right spot in the first instance.
Once dismissed as medieval forgeries, the shrouds of Turin and Oviedo have increasingly become accepted as authentic, after carbon dating conducted on the Shroud of Turin, which resulted in the wrong date, was found to be faulty.