Movements of the Shroud

30 - On Friday April 7 the body of Jesus is wrapped in a clean linen sheet. On the morning following the Saturday the Sheet is found empty. For the Hebrew custom of the 1st century a cloth that had wrapped a corpse was considered an impure thing, therefore couldn't be shown. The Christians will be persecuted for three centuries.
Jerusalem (M. Paolicchi)  

42 - Persecution of the Church by Agrippa I and possible transfer near the Dead Sea.

Urfa (Edessa)
Urfa (Edessa) - The ancient walls
(M. Paolicchi)
2nd c. - In Edessa (now Urfa - Turkey) there is a special image of the face of Jesus on a cloth. In his Ecclesiastic History, Eusebius tells that Abgar V Ukama (the Black), king of Edessa at the time of Christ, was ill. When he knew about the existence of Jesus of Nazareth who made miracles, sent him a messenger to ask him to go the court of Edessa. Jesus didn't go, but sent him a letter. 

A parallel tradition is contained in the Addaï Doctrine (perhaps a deformation of the name of the apostle Judas Taddheus) dated to the end of 4th century or, according to other authors, to the period of the siege of Edessa in 544. It is a Syriac composition which includes various legends; in accordance with this version, Abgar sent his archivist and painter Hannan who came back to Edessa with an image of Jesus painted by him and with a letter in which Jesus promised the safety of the city.

393 - In Anablatha, near Jerusalem, on the way to Bethel, Epiphanes of Salamina tears a "weil" with a size suitable for burial use, on which one can see, with uncertain outlines, a whole human image.

525 - During the restoration work on St. Sofia Church in Edessa the acheiropoiètos (not drawn by the hand of man) image, called Mandylion (handkerchief), of the face of Jesus on a cloth is rediscovered. Many testimonies and descriptions put it in relation with the Shroud. There is an identity between the face of the Shroud and the copies of the Mandylion, there are more than a hundred points of congruence (that are the points where two figures are superimposible; on the base of the American legal criterion 60 points are enough to assert that two images belong to the same person). The face of Edessa, since the 6th century was copied on the icons and since the 7th century was reproduced on the Byzantine coins; in these cases as well, there are more than 100 points of congruence.
King Abgar V Ukama
Icon of King Abgar with
the image of Christ
(M. Paolicchi)
Edessa's walls
The image of Jesus found
in the walls of Edessa
(M. Paolicchi)
544 - In Edessa one discovers in a niche of the walls an image of Jesus that rids the city from the Persian siege by king Cosroe I Anushirvan. They realize at least two copies of the face, worshipped in the church of the Nestorians and in that of the Jacobites, while the authentic Mandylion is worshipped in the Great Church (St. Sofia) officiated by the Melkiti-Chalcedonians.
Edessa's siege
The image of Jesus rescued 
Edessa from the siege
(M. Paolicchi)

944 - After a strict siege, in June, the Byzantines force the Islamic authorities of the Arabian sultanate in Edessa to consign the Mandylion. The case is transferred to Samosata (near Samsat - Turkey) for a first check with the copies. Then the procession directs its steps toward Bithynia, maybe passing through Cesarea of Cappadocia (now Kayseri - Turkey) and Laodicea (near Denizli - Turkey). In a village near the river Sangarius it is welcomed by the Imperial authorities leaded by the cubicularius Teofane (first decade of August). On August 15 the case reaches Constantinople and is placed for a first veneration in the church of St. Mary of Blachernae. The day after a solemn procession follows the transport of the case through the streets of Constantinople to St. Sofia. From here the case with the Mandylion is taken to the Bukoleon (the Imperial Palace) and placed in the chapel of St. Mary of the Pharo with the other relics of the Passion. About the arrival of the Mandylion in Constantinople we have the testimony of the homily attributed to Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (emperor of Constantinople from 912 to 959) and the report of Gregory the Referendarius. The Mandylion, was probably the Shroud folded in eight layers so that it showed only the face. The image of the body of Christ is reproduced with particulars inspired by the Shroud; as for example in the Budapest Pray manuscript of 1192-1195. The asymmetry of the inferior limbs that we can notice on the Relic (the left leg is more flexed) created the legend of the lame Christ reproduced by artists with the so called "Byzantine curve" and with the footrest of the Cross inclined.

1 095 - A letter attributed to the emperor Alexius I Comnenus lists, among the relics guarded in Constantinople, "the sheets that were found in the sepulchre after the Resurrection".

1171 - Manuel I Comneno shows to Amalrico, king of Latins of Jerusalem, the relics of the Passion between which there is the Shroud.

1201  - Nicholas Mesarites, custodian of the relics kept in the chapel of St. Mary of the Faros, asserts that also Christ's burial sheets were guarded there.   

1204 - Robert de Clary, chronicler of the Fourth Crusade, wrote in his work La conquête de Constantinople that before the fall of Constantinople on April 14, 1204, a Sydoine was exhibited every Friday in the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae and that the image of Christ was clearly visible on the cloth. However, once in the hands of the western crusaders, de Clary adds: "But neither Greek nor frenchman knew what became of the Shroud after the city was conquered". Therefore, the Shroud disappears from Constantinople and probably the fear of the excommunication threatened against thieves of relics, caused its concealment. There are signs hinting that the Shroud was brought to Europe by Othon de la Roche, one of the chief of the IV Crusade, Latin Duke of Athens. In the castle of  Ray-sur-Saône, residence of the La Roche family, is still kept the case in which the Shroud was placed. Probably for a period was preserved by the Templars, an Order of the Crusade Knights.
Istanbul (Constantinople)
Istanbul (Constantinople) - St. Sofia

1314 - The Templars are sent to the stake as heretics and accused to secretly worship the Face that seems to be reproduced from the Shroud. One of them was called Geoffroy de Charny.

Lirey - The Chapelle (ML)

1356 - Geoffroy de Charny, a crusade knight having the same name as the previous one, deliveries the Shroud to the canons of Lirey, near Troyes in France. The precious cloth has been in his possession for at least three years. His wife, Jeanne de Vergy, is a grand-niece of Othon de la Roche.

1389 - Pierre d’Arcis, bishop of Troyes, forbids the Exhibition of the Shroud. 

1390 - Clement VII, antipope of Avignon, discusses about the Shroud in two Bulls and two letters.

1453 - Marguerite de Charny, descendant of Geoffroy, gives the Sheet to Anna of Lusignano, the wife of the duke Ludovico of Savoy who will keep it in Chambéry. 

1506 - The Pope Julius II approves the Mass and the Office of the Shroud, allowing public worship. The festivity is put on May 4. 

1532 - A fire in Chambéry on the night between December 3 and 4: one side of the wooden urn, covered with silver that keeps the Shroud in the Sainte-Chapelle of the Savoy castle, burns and the Relic was considerably damaged. 

1534 - After an examination of the Relic's condition, the Clare nuns will sew up the patches and the Holland cloth as backing cover.

Chambéry - The Sainte-Chapelle
(M. Paolicchi)

1535 - For war reasons the Sheet is transferred to Turin and then to Vercelli, Milan, Nice and lately again to Vercelli; it will stay here until 1561 when it is brought back to Chambéry.

Turin - The Cathedral
(M. Paolicchi) 

1578 - On September 14, Emanuele Filiberto transfers the Shroud to Turin in order to shorten the journey of St. Charles Borromeo who wants to worship it to fulfil a vow. Since then the Exhibitions followed one after the other for special celebrations of the Savoy Family or for the Jubilees. 

1694 - On June 1 there is the definitive placing of the Shroud in the Chapel added by the architect Guarino Guarini to the Cathedral of Turin. During that year the blessed Sebastian Valfrè reinforces the patches and mending. 

1706 - In June the Shroud is transferred to Genoa because of the siege of Turin. At the end of the siege, in October, the Shroud is brought back to the chief-town of Piedmont.

1898 - The first photograph is taken by a lawyer, Secondo Pia, between May 25 and 28. The exciting discovery of this negative showed in a very precise way the features of the Man of the Shroud and this is the beginning of the studies and research, above all in the medical-legal field. 

1931 - During the Exhibition for the wedding of Umberto of Savoy, the Shroud is photographed again by the professional photographer Giuseppe Enrie. 

1933 - Exhibition to commemorate the XIX Centenary of Redemption.

1939-46 - During the Second World War the Shroud is hidden in the Sanctuary of Montevergine (Avellino) from September 25, 1939 to October 28, 1946. 

Sanctuary of Montevergine
Sanctuary of Montevergine (Avellino)

1969 - From June 16 to 18 there is a recognition of the relic made by a commission of study appointed by the cardinal Michele Pellegrino. The first colour photograph is taken by Giovanni Battista Judica Cordiglia.

Domes of the Cathedral and the Shroud Chapel
Domes of the Cathedral
and the Shroud Chapel
(M. Paolicchi)

1973 - First time on television with a live broadcast (November 23). New recognition of the relic. Samples taken by Max Frei and Gilbert Raes.

1978 - Celebration of the IV Centenary of the transfer of the Shroud from Chambéry to Turin, with a public exhibition from August 26 to October 8 and an International Study Congress. At the end, from October 8 to 14, many scientists, most of them of the USA STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project), take measurements and make analysis on the relic for 120 hours in succession, in order to achieve a multidisciplinary scientific survey.

1980 - During the visit to Turin on April 13, the Pope John Paul II has the opportunity to worship the Shroud during a private exhibition.

1983 - On March 18 Umberto II of Savoy dies; according to his will, the Shroud is donated to the Pope.

1988 - On April 21 a sample of material is taken from the Shroud to make a radiocarbon dating test. On the base of this analysis, the Shroud is dated back to the middle ages, in a period between 1260 and 1390 A.D, but a great number of scientists believe that the method used to take the sample and the radiocarbon dating reliability are not satisfying, considering a material like the Shroud that suffered many vicissitudes. In fact, the 1532 fire could have modified the quantity of radiocarbon in the Shroud, altering its dating. Moreover, the American scientist Leoncio Garza Valdés proved the existence of a biological complex made of fungi and bacteria covering the Shroud’s threads in a patina that can’t be eliminated with normal cleaning methods. In the zone of the sampling other scientists have found cotton fibers that can have been used for an invisible mending. All this make it possible to trace back the Shroud’s dating to the 1st century A.D.

1992 - On September 7 there is a recognition of the Holy Cloth by a group of experts invited to suggest suitable interventions and initiatives to warrant the best preservation.

1993 - On February 24 the reliquary containing the Shroud is temporarily transferred behind the main altar of the Cathedral of Turin to allow the restoration of the Guarini Chapel. The reliquiary is put in a crystal shrine with walls 39 mm thick.

1995 - On September 5 the cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, archbishop of Turin and guardian of the Shroud, announces the two following exhibitions, from April 18 to June 14, 1998 (to celebrate the centenary of the first photograph) and from April 29 to June 11, 2000 (during the Great Jubilee of Redemption). During the 1998 exposition from June 5 to 7 , the 3rd International Congress of Sindonic Studies, organised by the Centro Internazionale di Sindonologia di Torino (International Centre for the Turin Shroud), will be held in Turin. Subsequently on May 29, 1998 the dates relative to the 2000 exhibition were modified: from August 26 to October 22.

1997 - In the night between April 11 and 12 a fire caused very serious damage to the Chapel of the Shroud. Luckily, since 1993, the Sheet has been transferred into the Cathedral due to the restoration works of the Chapel. This situation allowed the Fire Brigade ( to get close to the special crystal case to break it and rescue the Shroud. On April 14 a commission of experts, including also the cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, examined the condition of the Sheet. They verified that there wasn’t any damage and the cardinal confirmed the exhibitions planned for 1998 and 2000 in Turin. On June 25, a private exhibition took place in the church of the Holy Sudarium. On that occasion some high-definition images of the Shroud were taken with special cameras: they will be useful to the researchers, but particularly for the official film-documentary of the event. During this private exhibition Giancarlo Durante took some new photographs.
Dome of the Shroud Chapel burnt
Dome of the Shroud Chapel
burnt in the 1997 fire
(M. Paolicchi) 
The Shroud
The Shroud as shown inside
the Turin Cathedral (M. Marinelli)
1998 - From April 18 to June 14 it was held a public exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the first photograph taken by the lawyer Secondo Pia between May 25 and 28, 1898. The year 1998 comes 1600 years after the provincial council of the Bishops of Gaul held in Turin by St. Maximus, 400 years after the constitution of the Confraternity of the Holy Sudarium and 20 years after the last exhibition. Both for the exhibition and for the normal conservation of the precious linen it was realized a horizontally pivoted case. The cloth is kept unfolded behind a bullet-proof water tight glass, in absence of air and in the presence of an inert gas. The cloth is protected from light and kept in constant climatic conditions through various monitorizing. On May 24 the Holy Father John Paul II went to Turin and prayed in front of the Holy Relic. From June 5 to 7 the III International Congress of Shroud Studies entitled "Shroud and Science - Outcomes and programs on the verge of the third millennium" took place in Turin.

1999 - On Friday evening January 22, it was held a recognition of the Shroud in the presence of the Papal Custodian, Card. Giovanni Saldarini, and the members of the Diocesan Commission for the preservation. The recognition gave wholly positive results: the layout of the new case with inert gas grants the necessary outside safeties and the optimum conditions to preserve the Shroud. Mgr. Severino Poletto, 66, from June is the new Archbishop of Turin. The Pope John Paul II, appointed him after accepting Card. Giovanni Saldarini's resignations, handed in advance on medical grounds. The installation took place on September 5, 1999 in the Turin Cathedral.

2000 - From August 12 to October 22 a public Exhibition was held on the occasion of the Great Jubilee. A new case was made for the ordinary preservation of the precious Linen, which is kept lying in an inert gas. The previous horizontally pivoted case will be used only for exhibitions. From March 2 to 6 an International Symposium and a recognition on the Shroud took place in Turin. For further information see the Internet page From August 27 to 29 the Worldwide Congress "Sindone 2000" was held in Orvieto (Italy). For further information see the Internet website
On November 2-4 a scanner adapted to the necessities has been inserted among the back part of the Shroud cloth and the "Holland cloth," support on which the Shroud itself was sewn by the Clarisse nuns of Chambéry after the fire of the 1532. The reading with the scanner was performed by Prof. Paolo Soardo of the National Institute Galileo Ferraris of Turin. Beyond to the examination with the scanner, it was effected a complete series of photos, in white and black and in colors, destined above all to the scientific community. The Shroud was placed in the new case on December 22, 2000.

2002 - Between June 20 and July 23, 2002 the Shroud has undergone a remarkable intervention that has involved the removal of the restoration made by the Chambéry Clare nuns in 1534. All the patches have been removed and all the charred edges of the holes have been scraped away. Therefore, the holes have become larger and left uncovered. On the back of the Shroud, a new cloth, which dates back to about fifty years ago, has been sewn with bent needles and silk thread. Moreover, the complete digital scansion both on the surface where the image of the Man of the Shroud is visible, and on the back, which has then been hidden again by the new backing cloth, has been carried out. Finally, a complete photographic documentation and some drawings of material have been effected. The motivations brought forward by the commission that has operated (a list of its members, however, has not been given out) regard the reduction of the problem of the folds existing on the cloth, the irregular and uncontrolled tension caused by the stitches and the limitation of the damages caused by the presence of carbon residues. Moreover, the cleanness conditions of the backing cloth were thought to be very worrisome and dust and debris, besides fragments of carbonized cloth, had accumulated under the patches for nearly five centuries. The intervention has raised remarkable perplexities among many Shroud scholars: in fact, such a drastic intervention did not appear necessary and urgent. A lot of possible information on the object has also probably been lost.

2005 - On April 2 evening, on the eve of the Divine Mercy feast, Our Lord called to Himself the Holy Father John Paul II. With him in 1983 the Shroud, given by Umberto II of Savoy, came back to St. Peter's successor, the apostle who first saw it empty, in the Holy Sepulchre.
On Tuesday, April 19 Card. Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope and chose Benedict XVI as his name. The new Pope has always shown his attention for the Holy Shroud, which he also mentioned during the recent Way of the Cross on Good Friday.

2006 - In the evening of Thursday, 4 May 2006, the Holy Mass in the Turin Cathedral was particularly solemn because 500 years from the concession of the Shroud liturgy by Pope Julius II were celebrated. The event was also commemorated in the two following days with a Symposium.

2008 - On 22 January 2008 HAL9000 took a high definition photograph of the Turin Shroud. The realization of this incredible photographic record was made possible through HAL9000’s receiving of permission from the Holy See on the occasion of the Shroud being temporarily removed to the new sacristy in the Cathedral. This transfer was carried out following extensive checks on the security systems in the chapel and on the reliquary which holds the Shroud. The digital shots were taken using electro–optic equipment and robotic machines thus the photos were taken under strict conditions and from a distance of 30cm to provide full protection for the safety of the Cloth. The first phase of processing has allowed for the creation of a detailed reproduction to original size and a grand scale reproduction of 12 metres in length which are on exhibition in the Novara Cathedral and in the square opposite and are a symbol for the cultural project Passio 2008.
On June 2 Pope Benedict XVI announced a new exhibition of the Shroud for the spring of 2010 and stated: “It will be a very propitious occasion to contemplate that mysterious Face, that silently speaks to the heart of men, inviting them to recognize God’s face in it”.

2010 - From April 10 to May 23 it was held a Solemn Exhibition. On May 2 the Holy Father Benedict  XVI went to Turin and prayed in front of the Holy Relic.

2013 - TV Exhibition on Holy Saturday (March 30th) forty years after the 1973 one. The new Pope Francis sends a videomessage for the occasion of the TV broadcast.

2015 - From April 18th to June 24th there was a special Exhibition for the 200 years from St. John Bosco's birth, founder of the Salesian order. The Pope Francis went to Turin on June 21st for a pastoral visit to the city and he stopped silently in front of the Holy Shroud.

2018 - On August 10 an exceptional exhibition of the Shroud was held on the occasion of the pilgrimage of young people from Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta to Rome. On September 27 Guarino Guarini’s Chapel of the Shroud was reopened.

2019 - The statistical analysis of the raw data of the 1988 radiocarbon test is published on Archaeometry. This analysis reinforced the argument against the goodness of the radiocarbon dating of the TS, suggesting the presence of serious incongruities among the raw measurements. The results, which are compatible with those previously reported by many other authors, strongly suggest that homogeneity is lacking in the data. The measurements made by the three laboratories on the TS sample suffer from a lack of precision which seriously affects the reliability of the 95% AD 1260–1390 interval. It is no longer possible to affirm that the 1988 radiocarbon dating offers ‘conclusive evidence’ that the calendar age range is accurate and representative of the whole cloth.

2020 - On 11 April, Holy Saturday, an extraordinary exhibition of the Shroud was held online on the occasion of the pandemic.

2021 - On April 3, Holy Saturday, the contemplation of the Shroud took place on live TV and on social media. On May 4, the celebration of the feast of the Shroud was held in the Guarini Chapel, on the recently restored Bertola altar.

2022 - On July 9 an exceptional exhibition of the Shroud was held on the occasion of the Taizé meeting.