ANSA Press Agency, August 9, 2002

Shroud:  Curia, intervention on Cloth as agreed with the Holy See

(ANSA) - TURIN, AUGUST 9 - "No mystery, the interventions and the new analyses on the Shroud are led in agreement with the Holy See and on the basis of the directions emerged from the world-wide symposium of experts of March 2000."  This is what the Turin Curia has specified about the news, published today in "Il Messaggero," with regard to the elimination of the old darns from the linen that, according to the tradition, would have wrapped Jesus Christ's body.  In truth the operation has been more complex and has involved also new scientific "non-invasive" assessments, that is, without damaging the cloth, as, instead, happened in 1988 for the 14C test.  Between last June 20 and July 22 the Shroud was removed from the armored case put under the royal stand of the Turin Cathedral and taken in the adjoining sacristy to carry out the scientific-conservative intervention:  "the results will be made public and documented also photographically in mid-September," has also specified the spokesman of Cardinal Severino Poletto. The Cardinal, who is the Custodian of the Shroud on behalf of the Holy See, to which it was donated by the Savoy family, is presently engaged outside Turin in spiritual exercises.  On the most famous and important icon of the Christianity - whose last exhibitions, in 1998 and 2000, carried millions of pilgrims from all the world to Turin - there has been an intervention in the first place in order to remove the some thirty darns and patches made by the Clare nuns of Chambéry in 1534.  Two years before, in the night between December 3 and 4, 1532, a fire, burst mysteriously in the "Sainte Chapelle" of the then capital city of the Savoy ducky, had damaged a border of the linen.  The cloth, guarded in a silver urn, was burnt along the folds and some drops of melted metal pierced various layers: that's why some patched were put on the sides of the body image of a man naked, scourged, and crucified.  According to what is known, the operation, led by the Swiss textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, also consisted in the substitution of the Holland cloth, sewn by the Clare nuns themselves on the back of the Shroud in order to allow a better preservation of it.  But not only.  The Shroud has been newly analyzed by experts in the century-old attempt to penetrate all the secrets of the image formation.  By now, in fact, many scientists-sindonologists question the result of carbon 14, that had dated the linen from the Medieval Age, between 1260 and 1390.  The samples examined by the laboratories of Oxford, Tucson and Zurich would have been contaminated just by the following interventions with medieval cloths.  Moreover, in 1995 the Russian scholar Dmitri Kouznetsov came to the conclusion that the 1532 fire had modified the present radioactive carbon amount in the Shroud, altering its dating.  The Shroud has been in  Turin since 1578, where it was taken by the Duke Emanuele Filiberto in order to shorten the pilgrimage of Saint Carlo Borromeo, who wanted to venerate it in order to fulfill a vow.  In 1694 the Shroud was put in the baroque chapel annexed to the Dome and built by the architect Guarino Guarini, just the one where you cannot go in yet, after the furious second fire that attacked the sheet in the night between April 11 and 12, 1997.  (ANSA)
      GE August 9, 2002  13:45 NNN