TURIN, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archbishop of Turin has announced he will display what is believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ during Holy Week.
As a display of goodwill, Abp. Cesare Nosiglia said that owing to the pandemic, he will unveil the Shroud to the world from Holy Saturday, April 11–17, the octave of Easter. From the Turin Cathedral, the Shroud will be broadcast live on Italian television and on various social media platforms.
Nosiglia said that he's received "thousands and thousands" of messages over the past several weeks from "the people, elderly and adults and young people, healthy and sick, who ask me that, in the moment of great difficulty we are living, if they can pray during Holy Week in front of the Shroud, to implore Christ, who died and was risen."
The Shroud has had a role to play in history with plagues. For example, tradition holds that when a plague broke out in Milan in 1576, St. Charles Borromeo, who served as archbishop of Milan from 1564–1584, pledged to make a pilgrimage on foot to the Shroud as a thanksgiving to God for stopping the outbreak of the bubonic plague.
At the time, the Shroud was held in Chambéry, France. Because of Abp. Borromeo's poor health, the Duke of Savoy decided to transfer the Shroud to Turin, where it can be found to this day.
"Thanks to television and social media, the time of contemplation makes available to everyone, in the whole world, the image of the holy cloth, which reminds us of the Passion and death of the Lord, but which also opens our hearts to the faith in his Resurrection," Nosiglia said in a statement.
The Shroud, he added, "presents to us in such a true and concrete way, the grace of overcoming evil as He did, trusting in the goodness and mercy of God."
Though Church authority has not formally declared the Shroud to be authentic, the 14-foot-long linen cloth depicts the negative image of a man that millions over the centuries have believed to be Jesus Christ, including many popes and saints. The cloth has been traced back to at least the 1300s. When the Shroud was displayed from April-June of 2015, Pope Francis, during a day trip to Turin, Italy, visited and venerated it.
The Shroud has been the single most studied artifact in human history. Modern science has completed hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research on it. Yet, controversy still surrounds it as to whether it is, in fact, the burial cloth of Our Lord or a medieval forgery.
Scientific studies have indicated the image is a faint sepia-colored outline of a crucified man with dark brown stains — confirmed now to contain AB blood particles — in anatomically correct locations matching descriptions of Jesus' scourging and crucifixion found in the Gospels.
Jesus' blood type (AB) on the Shroud is the same as found in the eucharistic miracles at Lanciano and Orvieto. The image of the face reveals a beard, mustache and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle, with coins over his eyes. Photos have revealed the image is a photographic negative.
In 1978, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) investigations confirmed that the image was not formed by dyes, chemicals, vapors or scorching, and was not formed by brush strokes.
Researchers have investigated multiple naturalistic explanations, but none can account for the unique features of this photographic negative. Scientific investigators in both 2008 and 2010 have hypothesized that the image may have come from ultraviolet radiation. Believers see this miraculous image as depicting the moment the power of God transformed the body of Christ, which laid in His tomb on Easter Sunday morning, to the risen and glorified Jesus Christ conquering death.
Nosiglia stressed that love is stronger than death, and that the image believed to be Jesus' face in the Shroud "is stronger than any suffering, any disease, any contagion, any trial and discouragement."
"Nothing and no one can separate us from this love, because it is faithful forever and unites us to Him with an indissoluble bond," he said.
The face in the Shroud "speaks to the heart and communicates a great peace to us as if it were telling us: 'Have faith, do not lose hope — the strength of the love of God and the Risen One overcome everything,'" Nosiglia assured the faithful.