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History of the Shroud of Turin

QUESTION: What is the history of the Shroud of Turin?


The most famous piece of archeological discovery that man will ever come to know is the Shroud of Turin. This fascinating piece of cloth has been the center of much controversy over many decades as to its authenticity as being the same Shroud our Lord and Savior was wrapped when He succumbed to brutal execution on a wooden cross to save the lives of mankind. I am going to take you on a journey through the history of the Shroud of Turin as we wind our way through the ages from the Hills of Golgotha.

As we begin our journey of the history of the Shroud of Turin, we begin in Jerusalem in the year AD 27-36. Peter and John, disciples of Christ, have visited the tomb in the morning and find the body of Jesus gone. The burial wrappings, however, have been left behind. John describes something he called a "sudarion" rolled up and in a place by itself. This is possibly the Shroud.

Also, in that same year, a disciple called Thaddeus or Addai travels from Jerusalem to Edessa (400 miles north of Jerusalem), which is today called Urfa in Eastern Turkey. He visits the city's ruler, Abgar V, someone Jesus had reportedly been corresponding with. The request comes for Thaddeus to visit to heal Abgar of a disease and convert some of the citizens to Christianity. Thaddeus also brings with him a cloth which has the imprint of a man with Jesus' likeness. At this point in history, the cloth was called "The Cloth of Edessa." In AD 50, Abgar passes away and his eldest son succeeds him. His son reverts to paganism, and is responsible for the persecution of the Christians. The cloth is hidden inside the city's gates to ensure its safety from all the floods for which Edessa was known, or to make sure it is safe from all the persecutions. It is not known why the cloth was hidden away.

In the 6th Century, during repair of the walls of Edessa during a Persian invasion, the cloth was rediscovered and placed in a church built for it.

To continue on in our journey of the history of the Shroud of Turin, in AD-500-525, a manuscript is discovered where it is reported that Joseph of Arimathea, whose tomb Jesus' body was laid in, collected the blood of Jesus in the linen cloth that wrapped his body. He made note that he retrieved the blood in a headband and in a large sheet.

Another major discovery in the history of the Shroud of Turin, occurs around the year AD-600. In the Acts of Thaddeus, it is reported that Jesus wiped His face on a cloth, which was doubled in four and left His image on this cloth. Since it had to be folded, that would suggest the cloth was of substantial length.

In 944, Emperor Romanus sent an army to remove what was still known as the Edessa Cloth and transferred it to Constantinople, which is now Istanbul. In Constantinople, the cloth was sometimes ceremoniously unfurled, raised up like a banner. Crusaders looted the treasures of Constantinople and carried away many relics. The Cloth disappeared along with other priceless treasures. It was reported the cloth was taken to Athens, Greece.

The Turks capture Jerusalem, taking over the holy places, and the next known public reappearance occurred in Lirey, France where expositions of the Shroud were held. The authenticity of the Shroud was at question, so the expositions stopped. The Shroud was hidden away for 34 years.

It then made its journey from Lirey, France to become the property of the Dukes of Savoy in Austria and they, in turn, moved it to Chambery, England until the year 1578. It is there that it survived a major fire. It is reported that it possibly was consumed in the fire, yet, we discover later that the Shroud is moved to Turin, Italy. This is where it is now housed, and where it also escaped a fire in the year 1997. For obvious reasons, the Cloth of Edessa is now generally referred to as the Shroud of Turin.

If this is not the original burial cloth of our Lord and Savior, this is definitely an artifact, which our Heavenly Father desires to keep safe from harm. The cloth has gone through many hands and disasters, but comes through each one with minor damage to the cloth itself.

Learn More about the Shroud of Turin!

What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

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