P.Pfeiffer: The sindonologists are grieved for this event.
Vatican City, September 19. (Ap.Biscom) – The wait (and the controversies)
between the sindonologists all over the world in order to know in detail
the results of the last restoration on the Shroud are mounting. On the
eve of the Cardinal of Turin Severino Poletto’s report, the querelle
on the delicate “conservative” intervention, undertaken without too much
publicity in August in order to remove the ‘patches’ and the darns made
in 1534 by the nuns of Chambéry in consequence of the devastating
fire that ruined the sacred cloth, does not calm down at all.
“We are waiting for the results to be known, even if I fear that this intervention will end by dividing the sindonologists,” says Alberto Di Giglio, responsible of the Italian Shroud Center. Another expert of the matter, Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, Professor of Medieval Art History at the Gregoriana University, does not hide his own perplexities and attacks: “I wonder if it was really necessary,” he says, asked by Ap.Biscom. “An intervention of this kind could be justified for two reasons: either in that time the nuns of Chambéry did not make a precise work, or it has emerged that the patches, just like the support of the Holland cloth on which the Shroud is sewn, has not the function of holding the relic together anymore. I would like to have information just on this issue. We experts are distressed and grieved for the way the operation has been carried out, because we have not been informed at all about this most important step. If it means that they do not consider us confidential people anymore, I think that is very serious,” Father Pfeiffer concluded.
The most precious relic for the Christianity, on which it is thought there is imprinted the image of Jesus, underwent a ‘cleaning’: not only was the Holland cloth, on which the sheet was sewn, replaced, but the darns of the nuns of Chambéry, around which, in the course of the centuries, small detritus, dust, dirt and carbon residues were accumulated, have been removed. In 1998 the Commission in charge of the conservation of the Shroud decided to unroll it in order to avoid further damages. Stretching it, however, the experts had assessed that in some points the bad situation of the cloth could compromise the same conservative operations undertaken until that moment. Therefore, it was decided to proceed to the cleaning of the patches. (follows)
The perplexity of the scholars and the defense of the committee.
Vatican City, September 19. (Ap.Biscom) – “But, in this way, the historical trace that the cloth possessed are missing. As there are no documentary sources dating back to before 1200, the history of the Shroud until today has been read also through the signs imprinted on the sheet. The documents written about the relic go back, in fact, to 1356. All that we know before this period,” Di Giglio explains, “we know for what was written on the Shroud, for the folds due to the several ways in which it was arranged during the various ages. As a matter of fact, the restoration has expropriated this scientific vision. However, we are waiting for what the Cardinal Severino Poletto will say on Saturday”. Professor Bruno Barberis, mathematical physicist and member of the Committee for the Conservation of the Shroud, pours oil on the waters of controversies. “I am astonished at a storm in a teacup. The experts must be patient and wait until Saturday, when the motivations of the intervention on the Shroud will be given. In this period many inaccurate things have been said and written.”