The Holy Shroud of Turin
The Holy Shroud of Turin is truly one of the strangest artifacts in the world. It’s really two enigmas in one. The first enigma is how did the image of adhere to the shroud? The second mystery is whether or not this is the image of Jesus Christ, an elaborate hoax, or a dark secret of the Knights Templar?
The Holy shroud of Turin first came to light around 1350 A.D. when a widow, Jeanne de Vergy, brought the shroud to be displayed in public at a small church in Lirey, France. The people of Lirey were amazed and inspired as they saw the shroud that clearly showed the faint image of a crucified man. The flog wounds on the back were visible as well as the nail wounds in the hands, and the deep scars on the head were the crown of thorns would have been.
As the word of Jesus’ burial shroud spread, thousands flocked to the small town in France to catch a glimpse. At first the church took a defensive stance against the claims of the shroud’s owners. Eventually, the church accepted the artifact as the burial shroud of Christ and it came to rest in the town of Turin, Italy, where it still remains today.
The shroud was first photographed in 1898 and the photograph would spark a controversy to last for the next 100 years. When Secondo Pia, the young photographer chosen to take the first picture of the shroud, took the plates home to be developed, he found an extra-ordinary surprise.
The image on the shroud is pretty faint, so when Pia saw the negatives, which shown raised features of the face and body that weren’t visible to the naked eye, he was sure he was witnessing a miracle. The image on the negatives showed eyebrows, beard and mustache, and even bones in the hands. The Shroud of Turin was clearly not a painting.
The shroud remained a mystery for both the religious and the scientific world for the next 57 years until the church finally decided to let the shroud be carbon dated by the scientific community. In 1988, the British Museum was selected by the church to oversee the carbon dating of the shroud.
A small corner sample of the shroud was taken and cut into separate pieces and then sent to laboratories in five different countries to be analyzed. The results were conclusive. The shroud dated between 1260 A.D. and 1390 A.D. It seemed apparent the shroud was too new to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. If the shroud wasn’t Jesus’ burial shroud, but whom could it have belonged to?
Certain evidence points to that it may be the shroud of the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay. When the power of the Knights Templar grew to be too much for the King of France and the Pope, the two conspired to have the Order dismantled on charges of heresy.
When King Phillip the fair ordered the Knights Templar to be arrested and their treasures confiscated, he needed good solid evidence to implicate them. After all, the Knights Templar had been the Church’s Holy army and the greatest crusader’s against the Muslim invasion of the Holy Land. They were a well-praised group.
It was a common knowledge to the Church that the Templars respected Jesus Christ as a Holy prophet and not the Savior and Son of God. This was perfect basis for heresy but King Phillip wanted to spice things up a bit. He was well in debt to the wealthy Knights Templar and wanted the public to hate them so he would have no problems confiscating their riches.
With torture he was able to get the Templars to admit to homosexuality and devil worship. For Jacques de Molay, he had a more devious plan. He nailed De Molay to a doorframe as an act of crucifixion to punish De Molay for denying Christ as his Savior. He had De Molay flogged and he placed a crown of thorns on his head. Eventually De Molay caved and the King of France got his confession. Still, he wanted to keep De Molay alive to admit his confession and put him on display for his public sentencing.
De Molay was laid on a shroud to rest and recover from his wounds. He did recover and recanted his confession of heresy, but it didn’t stop the king from burning him alive next to one of his loyal knights, Geoffrey de Charney.
Is it a coincidence that another Geoffrey de Charney would come into possession of the Holy Shroud of Turin 50 years later after his Grand Uncle’s execution? When Geoffrey De Charney died, his poor and struggling wife rustled through his belongings to analyze her estate.
It was Geoffrey De Charney’s wife, Jeanne de Vergy that brought the shroud to that small church in Lirey for its first public display.