Blogger Kevin Stuart Brodie has been visiting France and writing about it in his blog. In one post about Chartes, he regrettably, all too easily, dismisses the shroud while attesting to the authenticity of Mary’s Veil, a relic in this famed famed cathedral.
Those same pilgrims [= visitors to Chartes] also continue to be in awe of Mary’s Veil. The veil was supposedly worn when Mary gave birth to Jesus. It is displayed behind a locked gate, in a glass window with a golden frame. Recent tests confirm that the material itself and the weaving technique to make the cloth date to the first century, so if this isn’t the genuine article, it’s from the same time period. No bogus Shroud of Turin here.
Mary’s Veil? The Sancta Camisia? Recent tests? What tests? I can’t find anything much and nothing specific about recent tests. The Sancta Camisia
Kathy Schiffer writes in the Catholic Channel of Patheos:
In the Cathedral of Chartres, southwest of Paris, is a holy relic called the “Sancta Camisia,” the “holy veil.” A crumpled, faded cream-colored cloth, it’s protected in a glass reliquary. Tradition holds that the Sancta Camisia is the veil of the Virgin Mary—in fact, it’s the veil she wore when she gave birth to the Christ Child.
Was the Sancta Camisia really worn by Mary? Scientific study has confirmed that the veil dates to the first century. It was presented to the Cathedral at Chartres in 876 by Charles the Bald, grandson of Charlemagne, upon his return from Jerusalem. It was nearly destroyed by fire in 1194, but the Bishop of Chartres rescued it just in time.
Note another traditions is that Mary wore the veil for the Annunciation. There are also other contenders for Mary’s veil. There is the relic at St. Mary’s Syrian Jacobite Orthodox Church in Kerala, South India, which, according to tradition, was brought from Edessa by the Apostle Thomas.
Having noticed that Brodie concluded his post with a comment by the late, great Christopher Hitchens. . . .
The great literary critic and avowed atheist Christopher Hitchens once called being in Chartres the closest to holy he has ever felt. That alone should tell you about the Cathedral’s majesty and mystical beauty.
. . . . I wondered if Hitch, had he ever really pondered the mysteries of the shroud with that great mind of his, always taking in countless details, might have reacted similarly to the shroud. Not that anything could have converted him. But would he have called anything bogus without explanation given the many recent tests and the mountains of historical evidence in favor of authenticity?
Also see: Our Lady’s Veil: two tales at Catholicism: Plain & Simple.
And in this blog in the past:
Again, What tests? Anybody know about tests on the Sancta Camisia, the one at Chartes?
A reporter from the Cincinnati Inquirer, shown around Chartres by a guide, Anjali Janakiraman, quotes (http://www.cincinnati.com/travel/stories/072003_travlede.html):
“It’s not probable that it was worn by Mary, because the cloth has been dated to probably the 7th century,” said Janakiraman.”
Novelist Kate Mosse writes (http://www.katemosse.co.uk/index.php/kates-books/labyrinth/labyrinth/chartres/):
“The Chartres Cathedral reliquary was opened during the French Revolution and a robe, 6.4 metres in length, was discovered. It was torn up into 6 or 7 pieces and scattered. Two pieces of the long robe were returned to the cathedral at the beginning of the 19th century. Expert examination has shown the cloth to be about 2000 years old and or Near of Middle Eastern origin.”
A blogger (http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/our-ladys-veil-two-tales/) writes:
“The veil itself is more than six metres long and made of silk. Scientific studies have shown that it is of Syrian design, of fine quality and can be traced to the first century. If indeed it was the original Veil of Our Lady it has probably been extended and embellished over the centuries. It had once been depicted as a tunic (Sancta Camisia) but when this was unwound it was found to be a Veil, or a long piece of cloth rather than a tunic.”
The best information I can find is a book “Sea of Silk: A Textile Geography of Women’s Work in Mediaeval French Literature,” by E. Jane Burns (try Google Books) which says everything there is to be said about the relic. It’s made of silk and covered in embroidery. She quotes Yves Delaporte; La Voile de Notre Dame, and another source (which Google books won’t give me!) saying that “according to an analysis in 1927, the embroidered cloth is Syrian work from the 8th or 9th century.” And: “More recently, Annemarie Weyl Carr has identified the tiraz-like fabric now called the Virgin’s veil as Byzantine, dating it to the tenth or eleventh century.”
Sadly I suspect that Kevin Stuart Brodie gets his information from “The Kabbalah Code: A True Adventure” by James Twyman and Philip Gruber, which does date the santa camisia to the first century, but is, like all books entitled “a True Adventure,” really not much more than a romantic fiction.
Incidentally, it appears that the single sheet in your photo above is, in fact, just a dust and light excluder. The veil itself is draped over a bar behind it – Google more pictures to see it.
What makes the Shroud unique is the medically accurate, yet inexplicable, image of crucified body in rigor mortis (0-48 hours after death normally) and the blood “residues.”
Trying to bootstrap other relics unto the back of the Shroud doesn’t work becasue it is truly unique and casts doubt on the Shroud through guilt by association.
Update. Kevin Brodie got his information from Rick Steve’s Guidebook, “Paris 2013,” which in turn got it from the doyen of Chartres guides, Malcolm Miller. An email to Malcolm Miller said:
“I am familiar with E. Jane Burns’s book “Sea of Silk,” which devotes some space to the Camisia, and says “according to an analysis in 1927, the embroidered cloth is Syrian work from the 8th or 9th century,” and also, “More recently, Annemarie Weyl Carr has identified the triraz-like fabric now called the Virgin’s veil as Byzantine, dating it to the tenth or eleventh century.” However, you may know of more recent tests which date it earlier. If so, I should be very grateful for any information you can pass on.”
The reply said:
“Like you I have heard different estimations of the Veil’s age, varying from 1 century BC to 8th.c AD !”
That’s a No, then.
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