There are volumes of special studies written about the Turin Shroud, one of the main shrines of Christian world. Until today hot disputes are boiling and debates and scientific discussions do not stop about a piece of flaxen matter of 14 feet 4 inches length and 3 feet 7 inches width in which according to the legend the body of Jesus Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion.
A human body printed on the Shroud places the scientists in cul-de-sac -- it appears that it is impossible to obtain such an image by any of the methods known today. It slightly reminds contours of evaporated human bodies after the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima. For believers a fact like this is the main prove of the authenticity of the relic. However, the non-believing and doubtful part of the mankind always want to know facts as much as possible and then make any conclusions.
The first thing which scientist always would like to know when someone speaks about the Turin Shroud is the age of the matter. Whether or not it is of twenty or more century old? Because if this is not true there is nothing to speak about -- the dates of birth and death of the man named Jesus are well established and many times were verified by the Church and the historical science.
The second main question is how a photographically precise image-negative was obtained on the matter of the Shroud? Neither the level of arts in general, nor drawing skills in particular, do not have analogues neither in that far times, nor today. By what means and materials and how a drawing of a man in full height was made, where the front and back views come together near the crown of the head like two pictures from an anatomic map?
And the third thing is: who is pictured on the Shroud? Can this be really Christ about whom the mankind know through the prophets of the Old Testament, the New Testament, Apostles, Church tradition, through chosen witnesses, through the famous image on the Ubrus (towel) which originated the icon painting tradition?
Isn't this puzzling piece of flaxen matter keeps a main document of what happened on our earth 2000 years ago?
The most prominent scientists around the world studied the Shroud. Vatican never spared for such thing. There was established a special committee in the Papal Academy for study of the Turin Shroud. World known historians and archaeologists, biologists and specialists in genetics, physicists and biophysicists, specialists in microbiology, chemists and mathematicians join their efforts for solution of the problem of world-historical significance.
Scientists used in their investigations such methods as radio carbon dating, infrared spectroscopy and photography in ultraviolet rays, plasma mass spectrometry, electronic layered microscopy and micro photography, all contemporary achievements of organic and non-organic chemistry, microbiology and cytology, structural genetic analysis of DNA, scientific modeling, complex mathematical calculations and computer codes.
One of the representatives of the research team studying the Turin Shroud met with a young Russian scientist in 1995 after his outstanding presentation on a European conference on radio carbon dating held in England.
Dmitrii Kuznetsov, a talented biochemist, professor, and the head of the Sedov Laboratory teaching biopolymer chemistry of textile in the Los Angeles University, and Andrei Ivanov, mathematician, Ph. D., working on spectrometry scientifically proved the age of the Shroud and found mistakes in the previous calculations based on the radio carbon dating of its material. However, studies conducted in 1988 in fact came to a dead end.
These studies were conducted simultaneously and independently in Switzerland (Zurich), England (Oxford), and in the USA (Tyson). A control piece of material approximately 2 inches by 2 inches was kept in Vatican. The results were identical: the material taken for investigation was really fabricated in the Middle East, butÖ not earlier than in the 13th century. Not in the first or earlier as historical witnesses were claiming.
21 signatures of world recognized experts were under this scientific verdict.† Hard times of doubts and trials came for the keepers of the shrine, for believers, for all people who dedicated many years for study of the Turin Shroud. These times continued until 1995.
The matter of fact is that sophisticated calculations attracted arsenals of modern tools and brains did not take into account conditions of several fires, which the fabric was suffered. In general, plots and all possible misfortunes became usual phenomena accompanying it seems the fact of the existence of the Shroud itself in our world. Especially severe fire it experienced in the 16th century.
Dukes of Savoy, in future Kings of Italy, had good historiographers. They in details described a fire nightmare in the monastery temple of the town of Chambry in 1532. The Shroud was in the fire about 6 hours and was saved only by a miracle. Soot, smoke, and cations of silver from the melted rack together with a tremendous temperature about 1500 F increased the content of the atoms of the radioactive carbon in the fabric. This is the reason for rejuvenescence of the Shroud.
Russian scientists were persistent in conduction of a scientific experiment, which they modeled. In 1996 in English ``Journal of Archaeological Science" there appeared a paper of Kuznetsov, Ivanov, and Valetskii about their recent investigations. - It is strange that famous specialists did not take into account known factors, which may cause "the effect of rejuvenescence of the Shroud". - Some of them were found in our laboratory.
It is really strange. For 2000 years the Shroud obtained its own history, experienced its own challenges and suffering. Except of those that were already memorized on it. This ``correction for suffering" great minds did not take into account. The experiment of Kuznetsov and Ivanov was conducted in two fire-technical academies, in Moscow and in Lyon, independently. Results were identical: the Shroud is not less 2000 years old. Bravo, Russia!
Our country can be backward and lose in many positions and issues, but when one speaks about spiritual priorities it is pleasant to acquit world hopes. Soon the journal ``Miracles and Adventures" noted that the ``Russian discovery" was presented in the Western mass media including solid scientific journals (for example, such as the American Journal of Analytical Chemistry and English Journal of Archaeological Science) as an absolute sensation.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Dmitrii Kuznetsov himself tells about this as follows:
-In determination of the age of the Turin Shroud I did not have any intention to mix desired and real. In my studies there is no any religious background. I have a purely scientific interest.
The shroud traveled around the world for a long time, from hands to hands, from temple to temple, and experiencing one tragedy after the other. A detailed story about its earth path could be a content of a separate book. Presently the relic is located in Italy just near the Alps in Turin. Under a high arc of Cathedral Santa Sindone on Plazza Castello there is a special stand in the size of the fabric covered by bulletproof glass. By understandable reasons a free access is a rear phenomenon. After a terrible fire happened on April 12, 1997 also in this Cathedral, when only a miracle helped to a firefighter to break down by a hammer lead glass and bring the fabric out of the fire on his chest, nobody hoped that there is any opportunity to exhibit the Shroud publicly soon. But the life is full of paradoxes.
In May and June of 1998 more than 2 million of pilgrims from the entire world obtained again a rear opportunity to stand near a miraculously printed image of Savior. Before the Shroud was opened for public access in 1898, 1931, 1969, and 1978. The highest audience could not last more than four minutes.
Four minutes for everything: for shock, for realizing, for confession, for all secret requests and prayers. And who knows, it might be so important on the eve of the new century and the new millennium to give the mankind an opportunity to come closer to Those by Whose will the world is managed. While an endless line of waiting people contemplated with tremble the ancient grand temple, a river of lucky ones with cleared faces and tears in eyes was pouring out through its central doors. The temple was still not recovered after the catastrophe. It was enmeshed in bandages of scaffolding and crowned with a char cupola. Science is science, but a human heart sometimes does not need more proof of truth than feeling of the highest grace never felt before. I witness this.
Science is always skeptical. It sees tricks everywhere and use to explain miracles with charlatanism and connecting their nature with human ignorance or excessive impressionability of sick, miserable, and nervous people. In fact until now it denies the existence of the other, non-scientific way of obtaining knowledge: knowledge-through-revelation. Might be this is the main reason of the historical paradoxes that in spite of complete ruination of materialistic doctrines our world did not get spiritual gains. An old, primitive, and distorted world outlook stereotypes are deeply implanted in people. We do not have idea what treasures bear everybody since it birth date independently on social, national, or geographical origin. Naturally we absolutely cannot use them.
The most important thing for science relative to the Shroud was to figure out the age of the fabric. As our entire contemporary world it was not hasty to peer into the details of the image. Yes, numerous scientists had clearly seen on the canvas brownish contours of a full-length human body. As it was already mentioned one half gives a view from the back and the other one -- from the front, as two pictures from an anatomical atlas put together in the region of the crown.
There are no doubts that this is a picture or print of the body of a tall man, about two meters in height. The very rare shape of that figure and absolutely honorable proportions of his forms are obvious. There are not only the lines and the body details completely marked but also all face's features, long enough and curly hear, several wounds and multitude damages too. Every scratch to every drop of blood. If this is just a fake there is definitely a very talented job had performed here and it's creator did know Gospel and everything about Jesus life.
Yes, we can see the nasty nail's wounds on the hands and foots on this fabric here, but not only. There is the big wound after spear's impact in the fifth interrib's space on the right side of the body, eighteens deep damages on the back and on the hips, around one hundred prints after lash's impacts, the lakes of the blood on the chest and on the back side of the neck, on the head and on the forehead too. When we see that all together we do understand why in the Holy Shroud's own history Jesus back print names like a "blood flow". In the very first look it is really not a back, but really smashed bloody substance.
As you know Jesus got the 39 lashes through His execution. There were two soldiers with two lashes. The parts of each lash were created from the bull's tendons with the metal peaces on them ends. That is why this execution was performed not by real lashes but by real hollow of hand filled with iron. The great Russian writer Bulgakov in his great novel "Master and Margarita" had described the only one hit of this satanic's instrument Joshua got from centurion named Ratkiller on His back. The hit after which Joshua lost His mind and the author had no any fortitude to continue the story about Jesus tormention. But, once more, not only.
The Holy Shroud is keeping carefully all evidences of insults and beating up, also each thorn's sting mark and even the print after the Cross-joists on the shoulders. The Cross heaviness could be the only reason for that. It was so mach heavy that created deep and fixed cavity in the back and shoulder's muscles. By the way same author Michael Bulgakov probably did not saw the Shroud. He is maintaining in his novel we were talking about before that Jesus was transmitted to the Golgotha in special carriage separately from the Cross. But the Holy Shroud confirmed what Gospel is saying. Yes, the Cross was much more heavier than Jesus could accept after lash's execution but He did continued His own way to Golgotha together with His Cross only using some Simon, a man of Cyrene, help.
The other details and particulars fixed with documentary clarity on the Shroud are very impressive too. Just this, for instance. The biggest challenge for the person who crucified definitely was a slow progressive asthma. The human's gasp is an active process. The human's exhalation is a passive one provided by special groups of chest and diaphragm muscles. This kind of execution on the cross just eliminates the passive part of the human breathing because of muscles immobilization. The crucified person could provide just very short breathing movements to suffice some air but absolutely could not to make any exhalations. That is why his chest gradually blow out with high CO2 contents gas and asthma had aggravated. The size and the shape of his chest, by his ribs positions and the interribes space conditions, formally confirm the presence of extremely hard lungs emphysema that person represented on the Shroud has definitely had. Also as a microscopic analysis of Shroud tissues and cells cytology dates show, there was a pleura's damage in the fifth right interribes space which caused significant haemothorax (blood pumping), lung's deficiency and asthma worsen.
Even the thorn crown was not only joker's enterprise at all. Each sting was tougher than iron and sharper than blade. The picture on the Shroud is demonstrating clearly the presence of filtering wounds on the backside of the human neck, which caused the occipital artery, and the posterior vertebral veins plexus destroying with the profuse bleeding in this area too. Truly is saying, "A good shepherd gives all his blood for each lam." And all the blood of Person described by the Holy Shroud was given out till the last drop. All that this piece of an old tissue gathered it is testifying now.
But donít forget the crazy sun, skin sun burns, brutal thirst, bile with vinegar, progressive asthma, all the pain after beating up and nails (they were big enough; Jesus had not only wounds with blood-flows through them, but there were a serious damages of the right median nerve caused a muscle contraction) of His forearms and foots, and also an impatient ischemyc pain in fingers, neck and shoulders too. If you were in an emergency situation with the bleeding and braid you do know what is the ischemyc pain means. So, you understand now how many terrible details of our Redemption are covered from us till now!
It is worth stopping on the print of face kept by the Shroud. We see clearly a face of a young man with long curly hair, beard and moustaches on it. This face is really mutilated but even in this condition it shows the print of rare perfection. It presents a very special kind of Jewish beauty - king's David, or pretty European kind, like blond hair, light and gentle skin, fine features, soft and pretty effeminate shape of lips. The only nasal prolongation and gibbsite together with the sensual nostril's form are testifying about oriental roots of this human exterior. But there is nothing to be amazed of if we remember that all European mankind came after Noah's son Japheth.
Just one more thing here about the king's David blood. As we know from the Bible all Jewish kings started from Saul were pretty tall. He should be taller than any average man on "a head from the shoulder". And the first look on the Man of the Shroud gives first impression about unusual size of his body. It is approximately (I did not find more exact) two meters - just the king's height, isn't it? And then we understand moreover, that this magnificent figure is absolutely beautiful. All lines and proportions are saying about a unique and last perfection. Man of the Shroud looks like human's ideal of Creation. What is about his face?
Let's back to the document. The first photo of Turin's fabric was taken in 1889 and a real discovery had happened. On the negative plate there was a positive human picture. In 1997 NASA laboratory created a Man of the Shroud portrait by a unique computer program and the entire world just froze from the next miracle. It was an image of such a pure beauty and heavenly charming that impossible to reject eyes from it. It was truly the image of Love. It was the face of God.
But it was a new document too. The obstinate piece of fabric saved till today all the details of the indescribable insults without any mercy to the only pearl of Creation and highest Spirit embody. Jesus face from the Shroud is the face of extreme sorrow, fatigue and sadness. High and honorable forehead crowned with the thorns is shining. Eyes are closed. Beautiful lips are still keeping child puffiness, slightly opened and express humility and amazing. The fine grinding nose is broken, the chin is cut out, the cheekbone is smashed and the left cheek pretty swelled because of beating face up. In the praetorian of Pontius Pilate Jesus was beaten up by the regiment of Roman soldiers.
If you are still know nothing about Jesus Christ Passions and Death for you 2000 year ago, just go to Italy tomorrow and see everything with your own eyes. That is way the Holy Shroud is named "the fifth Gospel".
Mostly scary Gospel, isn't it? But you know, I have to tell you something like a witness.
If you ever will have this opportunity to see the Turin's Shroud and to stay across with God just a couple of minutes, you will remember another thing. Not these all evidences of brutal murder. Not the marks of tortures and ferocious actions. Not this smoky flow of human blood. Above all this, we can truly see the miraculously happened most marvelous and undoubtedly celebration. We can truly see the glorious victory of the Holy Spirit.
While we were freezing in the resounding silence of huge Italian cathedral on the Castella Plazzo before the piece of brightly lightened-up by sophist old and pretty yellow fabric we saw one thing but we were filling another. There were other flows in the air, so strong and so real that seemed the cupola above our heads just blow out and the entire universe with all Angels was opened throw this highness. We felt clearly the breeze of unbreakable quietude and excellence merit and the radiance of confident superiority. Each thing there around the frame with wonder was flashing by high lights of superlunary - truly royal glory. That was so unforgettable!
So, there is not a kind of lost or defeated the Shroud was exhibited, but the complete and unique Triumph. Yes, indeed. There was a complete and unique Triumph in a fantastic Tran physical battle, such that never will happen under the sun. What this ancient and pretty burned, miraculously saved page of mankind History is saying about. And this page is absolutely unique not only because of what happened 2000 thousand years ago matters but how it happened too. The Turin's Shroud is the only real witness in the world of the greatest Privacy - resurrection of God. Scientists are saying that a possible way in which the picture on the fabric could be generated is an explosion of light energy more powerful than Hiroshima's nuclear explosion in August 9, 1945. Only with this temperature and other physical conditions a fabric could behave like a negative plate. Can you ever imagine how powerful our Lord Jesus Christ really is?
What comets are talking about?
Today when the authenticity of the Turin Document almost proved do we have any rights to be relaxed in sweet ignorance? To remain on the same way we used to be? Do we understand what the price of our Redemption really is? As we see on the Shroud account page, it is so high that looks like not human's but divine's indeed. No one - no anyone from people - can to accept a miserable part of Jesus Passions and stay alive during the day after without any symptoms of pain shock, unconscious or craziness. He did. "Father, into your hands I commend My Spirit" - last Jesus words were and they confirm His pure mind and unbreakable will. He also refused from vine and pain relief medicine before the execution too. Why?
Because, the Savior came not only for a death. He came for a payment of biggest price to the king of that world. All emanations of human sufferings and fresh effusions of blood are his best feasting. And the Son of the Heaven was able to pay so big price that He redeemed all past and all future usual people generations. Aren't we all in the great luck?
Hi, the sweatiest Son of the Heaven! It happened again and we able to see You now, in the end of this millennium. We can to touch this tissue that is still keeping the evidence of Your inestimable exploit. We can to look inside Your grief and loving eyes. And all that became possible because of many, many heroic acts of people who saved unrepeatable document in the wild satanic fire during twenty centuries.
You are still walking to us from Yours eternity. And who knows, may be there is You Second Coming happening right on our eyes? May be the Hale-Bopp comet came here to the Earth before Easter of 1997 to announce us about? It is well known that another name for comets is "courier of God". And Your portrait from the Shroud was created closely to the time of the Hale-Bopp huge comet coming.
If that is true and if You are creating new appearance to our world - please make it happier than First one! There are more than enough sufferings and corrections for them. Help us to be right.
Today the Holy Shroud had covered again from the mankind's eyes in the bosom of the ancient Cathedral just near the Alps. What the feelings and thoughts of new pilgrims will be about, when they will come here in the next Millennium of Christianity?
The author used in this article some materials of Russian and other newspapers and magazines and also the materials of the book Gino Moretto "The Shroud".
„2001, Larisa Gumerov (English Version).