Shroud Of Turin On Public Display Again After Five Years, But Mystery Still Surrounds Object

The Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, is on public display again for the first time in five years. The cloth is being on display for 12 hours a day in the Turin's Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The viewing is free to the public. However, a reservation is needed for viewing.

The BBC reports that the Shroud of Turin is a hot topic of debate in the religious community. Some devote believers think that the shroud is the actual burial cloth that covered Jesus after his crucifixion. If the Shroud of Turin was really used to cover Jesus, that would mean the image of the man imprinted on the cloth was Jesus himself. However, many researchers claim the cloth is actually a medieval forgery that carbon dating places around the 1300.

Though the shroud is on display in the Italian city's cathedral, the Church makes no claims to the cloths origins. The Church says it does not promote the idea that the cloth was actually used to wrap Christ's body. However, they feel the cloth has religious significance despite not being an official relic. Archbishop Nosiglia says there is no doubt that the shroud can help faith despite not being an object of faith.

"What counts the most is that this shroud... reflects in a clear and precise manner how the gospels describe the passion and death of Jesus. It is not a profession of faith because it is not an object of faith, nor of devotion, but it can help faith."
The Archbishop points out that many coming to see the Shroud of Turin have already witnessed the cloth before in previous viewings. He says, "that means there is a fundamental need in people's hearts to renew this incredible experience that they had the first time they saw it." It is also pointed out that many non-believers come to the viewing, which makes it a great time for everyone to be brought together under the Church.
"Even non-believers will come. It's an occasion that brings everybody together."
The mystery of the Shroud of Turin's origins is still hotly debated. One U.S. graphic artist, Lillian Schwartz of School of Visual Arts in New York, has made bold claims that the shroud was actually created by famed inventor and painter Leonardo da Vinci. Schwartz previously used a facial scanning program to determine that the Mona Lisa was actually a modified self-portrait of da Vinci. She used that same program to scan the image on the Shroud of Turin and found that it too matched da Vinci's face.
"It matched. I'm excited about this. There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this Shroud's face."
Do you think the Shroud of Turin has a place in the Church despite likely being a forgery?

[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Vittorio Zunino Celotto]