On Sunday June 14, 1998 at 2 p.m. the Shroud Exhibition ended. It lasted 56 days and saw over 2,500,000 booked people coming from all around the world and many other (about 350,000) without booking. The most numerous group was formed by 5,000 people. The last pilgrims were a catholic group from Sri Lanka resident in Milan. The end of the Exhibition was solemnized by a Mass at 4 p.m. celebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini and transmitted by Internet. Finally the case was rotated in horizontal position and it was covered with a steel plate that together with the rest of the supertechnological structure protects the Shroud from light and from possible accidents. (Il Giorno, June 15, 1998)
From Friday, June 5 to Sunday, June 7, 1998 the III International Congress of Shroud Studies entitled "Sindone e Scienza: Bilanci e programmi alle soglie del terzo millennio" took place in Turin. It saw the participation of 100 official rapporteurs and of about 300 listeners. Scientists from all over the world come back to evaluate results of the research on the Cloth and added some further study at the already long list of work in favour of its authenticity.
On Friday, May 29, 1998 it was officially announced by Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini during a press conference the period during which the 2000 Exhibition takes place: from Saturday, August 26 to Sunday, October 22. (La Stampa, May 30, 1998)
On Saturday, May 24, 1998 Pope John Paul II went to Turin on the occasion of the centenary of the first photograph of the Shroud taken on May 24, 1998. In the morning the Pope celebrated the Mass in Vittorio square into the presence of about 500,000 people. It was the first Mass transmitted by Internet. In the afternoon he prayed long in front of the Shroud. Then, during a long homily, the Pope said that: «The Shroud is a provocation to the intelligence. Not being a matter of faith, the Church has no specific competence to give her opinion about such matters. She entrust the scientists with the task to go on investigating to find convenient answers to the questions connected to this Cloth». (La Stampa, May 25, 1998)
On Saturday morning, April 18, 1998 the Shroud Exhibition began. The first visitors were allowed in the Cathedral: Cardinal Saldarini, Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy and her daughter Elisabetta. At 9:00 a.m., more than 800 qualified journalists coming from all over the world were allowed to see the Shroud.
Unfortunately there were many technical problems, such as the lack of translators for the foreign journalists, an inadequate public address amplification system that made the recordings unusable and the lack of specific experts on the Shroud able to answer the various questions. During this press conference there were some statements that raised many polemics. Above all, those relative to the meaning of the words "icon" and "relic" that are in contrast with the previous statements of the Pope favorable to the authenticity of the Shroud. In fact the Cardinal claimed that «It is not correct to call the Shroud 'relic'». Since it was persistently defined as an "icon", Emanuela Marinelli intervened, stating that, with the word "icon" one doesn't intend to define the Shroud as a painting since it was scientifically shown that it isn't. Father Ghiberti thanked her for this intervention, confirming that the word "icon" is used only in the sense of "image". At 4 p.m. the solemn Mass for the opening of the Exhibition was celebrated by Cardinal Saldarini with many Piedmontese Bishops.
On the evening of Friday, April 17, 1998 the Shroud was inserted unfolded in its new case, realized by the workshop "Bodini" of Turin. The cost of 800 millions liras to produce the case was sponsored by "Italgas". The case weighs three tons and measures m 4.64 x 1.38. Each surface of the case is formed of two 5 mm bulletproof steel plates separated by a thin air space, while the inside part is of stainless steel. The Shroud is covered by a special glass, 7 cm thick, bulletproof and UV protected. Inside the case there is a mixture of inert gas (argon) and steam; the quantity of oxygen is continuously controlled since it mustn't exceed 0.01÷0.1%. Even the temperature is controlled at around 18°C. The case was placed in the Cathedral at almost the same position in which the Shroud was shown in 1978, contrary to earlier announcements claiming that the Cathedral was practicable only to the transept.
On Wednesday, April 15, 1998 at 5.29 a.m., the Shroud was secretly transferred to the temporary sacristy of the Turin Cathedral, from a secret place in which was preserved after the fire of 1997, April (some press articles talk about a Monastery in the hills around Turin). The Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini was present. The textile expert Mrs. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg and Sister Maria Clara Antonini worked for about three days to stitch the Shroud on a white cloth and a thick flannel after having removed the old blue satin border.
On February 12, 1998 it took place inside the Turin Cathedral the presentation to Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini of the huge painting representing the Guarini Chapel how it looked before 1997 fire. This work, realized by the scenographer Giampaolo Lanza , was placed before the steel shield that divides the Cathedral from the Chapel waiting for the conclusion of the restoration. (L'Avvenire, February 13, 1998)
On January 29, 1998 the Bishop's See gave the news that on June 25, 1997 a private Exhibition of the Shroud took place in Turin inside the church of the Holy Sudarium. On that occasion some Italian and foreign experts carried out tests useful for the construction of the case's crystal from which the pilgrims will be able to see the Shroud during the Exhibition. Furthermore there was a television troupe, with the director Michelangelo Dotta who realized high definition shots. Those extraordinary images are the most important part of the Exhibition's official documentary: "L'Uomo dei dolori - La Sindone di Torino" (The Man of sorrows - The Shroud of Turin) (Avvenire, January 30, 1998)