The Cluny Medal with shields of Geoffrey de Charny and Jeanne de Vergy

imageColin Berry should re-evaluate his historical hypothesis based on the lead medal in the Cluny museum in Paris.  It was probably a souvenir of a pilgrimage to Lirey or a commemorative medal for an exhibition in Lirey.  Note that you can see both the front and back images of the man on the shroud. 

Given that the medal has the two shields of Geoffrey de Charny of Lirey and Jeanne de Vergy of Besançon, it is most unlikely that the medal was struck before the two were married in 1349 or after Geoffrey’s death in 1356. The year 1349 is the same year that the Cathedral of St. Etienne in Besançon burned, the cathedral where, until that year for many years previously, the shroud (or a copy) was periodically stored and displayed at Eastertide.

César Barta, José M. Orenga and Daniel Duque from the Centro Español de Sindonología, in a paper, The Noalejo Shroud copies write:

It is also evident on the oldest known copy of the Shroud of Turin – the pilgrim’s medal from Lirey found in the Seine and preserved at the Cluny Museum in Paris. Despite its small size, this medal shows the herring bone weave on the Shroud and also the bloodstain on the back. In this case, all the details are depicted in relief, and we could say that the elbows are given the same relief as the arms, legs and the rest of the figure. All this leads us to think that the elbows were just as visible as the rest of the body on the dorsal image of the Shroud of Turin before the 1532 fire.

V. Guerrera in "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," writes:

A fortuitous discovery which adds another piece to the case for the Shroud’s historicity concerns a pilgrim’s medallion dating from about 1357 which was found in the Seine River in Paris in 1855 by Arthur Forgeais. This small lead object, most likely a souvenir of a pilgrim’s visit, is now kept in the Museum of Cluny. It depicts the frontal and dorsal image of a body on a long sheet being held out for veneration by two clerics vested in copes. It is obvious that the heads are broken. The image is an uncanny replica of what is now known as the Shroud of Turin. The double body image depicts a naked figure with crossed hands and trickles of blood on the back and feet. As an added touch of realism one can also detect the herringbone weave pattern that appears on the Shroud. Of striking note are the two coats of arms represented on the reliquary beneath the Shroud on the medallion. The one on the left (as viewed by reader) is that of Geoffrey I de Charny, represented with three small inner shields. The original would have been silver on a red background. The one on the right is that of Jeanne de Vergy, represented with three flowers which would have been gold. Flanked between the coats of arms are the instruments of the Passion. Clearly visible are the flagrum, the scourging column, the lance, nails, and, in the middle of the two shields, a roundel symbolizing the empty tomb surmounted by a cross upon which is hung a crown of thorns. Although the exact date or origin of the medal is not certain, the coats of arms give us a clue. Since Geoffrey I de Charny was Lord of Lirey, the medallion probably came from that region. Humbert de Villersexel, the second husband of Marguerite de Charny, to whom various relics were entrusted for safekeeping in 1418, acknowledged receiving `a cloth, on which is the figure or representation of the Shroud of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is in a casket emblazoned with the de Charny crest.’ Geoffrey I de Charny died on September 19, 1356; therefore, it is highly unlikely that his crest would have been engraved on a medallion produced after that year.

The medal is not a tribute, rememberance, or anything else for Geoffroi de Charney, a completely different person, perhaps related, perhaps not, who died in 1314 in Paris. 

“Only those in the know  – the few remaining members of a powerful but persecuted  fraternity – may have been aware of its true meaning and significance,” wrote Colin. Yeah, right!

5 thoughts on “The Cluny Medal with shields of Geoffrey de Charny and Jeanne de Vergy”

  1. Actually, “the alleged crown of thorns” is only a circlet of rushes without any trace of thorns and still kept at the Paris Sainte-Chapelle (the circlet just held Yeshua’s head cap of thorns together around his head)

  2. Medieval French secret fraternities such as “les chevaliers de l’étoile” (XIVth century CE) and “les chevaliers du broullard” (XVth century CE) took up the Shroud secret thread. However public Lirey pilgrimages did cover the second half of the XIVth century CE) with a two decades’ interruption.

  3. Colin’s mis-interpretation of many of the symbols seen on this metal just goes to show my several previous comments that maybe a new pair of glasses are warranted is correct ;-)

    Blood stains turn to chains, firm body features turn to armour, etc; etc; yet clues such as herringbone weave, the naked body, the flagrum, the nails, the tomb seem to disappear in his analysis.

    It has been stated that the medalion was most evidentally created whilst de Charny was still alive and as the Lirey expositions were ongoing, this conclusion comes from the depiction of the coat of arms and their ‘specific’ positioning. This was covered in detail in Wilson’s latest book The Turin Shroud and backed by others. So the medallion would be pre-1356. Medallions were common place among pilgrims in the middle ages and apparently it was good luck to toss them into waters, hense the finding of this medalion in the siene river.


  4. Dan, Thanks for this posting. I had been aware of this badge as Ian Wilson refers to it in both his 1978 & 2010 books. I had been misled by the comments in the previous posting suggesting that the images were intended to be representative of the Templars Molay & Charnay. I had incorrectly presumed that the medal referred to there was a separate and different object.

  5. I am s-o-o-o- disappointed. I thought Colin had really made an intelligible post. Of well, as Scarlett O’Hara said: Tomorrow is another day.

Comments are closed.