Home > History > The Confusing Holy Tunic of Argenteuil

The Confusing Holy Tunic of Argenteuil

November 2, 2015

“I am speechless. Good grief.”

Yesterday, Berry Schwortz in his website update posted Holy Tunic of Argenteuil To Be Displayed in 2016.  A simple phrase, “Although not directly related to the Shroud of Turin,” got a reaction out of O.K. He responded:

Actually, several comparisons between bloodstains on the Tunic and the dorsal image on the Shroud have been performed, one back in 1930s, and more recently by late Andre Marion in 1997. Here you have two scans from Marion & Lucotte book “Le linceul de Turin et la tunique d’Argenteuil” (which provides excellent overview of the scientific reasearch of the Tunic):



They claim there is a match. If so, then we should say that the Tunic is directly related to the Shroud -and very important material evidence.

That got me thinking. Just three months ago, I posted Remembering an Earlier Posting About The Seamless Robe

imageSomeone just wrote:

I hope your are the right person to write.

On the blog "Shroud of Turin blog" there was an article on november 2, 2011 "A Reaction to Giulio Fanti’s Suggestion" there ist also a photo.

I’m part of a student group at University of Hannover, Germany planning an exhibition about a seamless shirt in Steinhude. For this would like to design a map of europe with all the seamless clothes we found during our research and we would like to use the pictures. Who has the licence of this photo and can allow us to use it?

My response was:

No, I don’t know who has the license for the photo. You might try doing a Google image search on tunique d argenteuil. From there you can try all the many websites who are using the image. Such is the nature of the internet.  Moreover (at least in the U.S.) the image may not be copyrightable just as photographs of the shroud are not according to the U. S. District Court for Southern New York which has held that exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright.


As I mentioned in August, I’d forgotten about the November 2, 2011 posting – that was four years ago today, to the day on All Souls Day. That posting was A Reaction to Giulio Fanti’s Suggestion. Here it is:

A reader writes:

clip_image001With regards to the SSG posting about the Argenteuil robe and carbon dating by Giulio, I am speechless. Good grief.

In the Catholic Church there are two competing claimants to the title of the seamless robe or chilote of Christ. Legendary accounts of the robe at Argenteuil’s provenance has it being given by the Byzantine empress Irene to Charlemagne in the 9th century. In other words it came by way of Byzantium. The earliest extant written records go back only to 1195 and describe it as a child’s garment. We can’t know otherwise by looking at it because it was cut up into many pieces during the French Revolution and each piece was hidden away in a different secret location. Today only few pieces remain that have been seamed together. Some do claim that it is the seamless robe but there isn’t any good evidence for doing so.

A robe at Trier is an alternate claimant.  Like the Argenteuil robe it only has a certain documented history that goes back only to the 12th century, though legend takes it back to St. Helena. Over the years it has been repaired and patched so much that it is hard to tell what might be authentic and what might not be. It is as good a candidate as the Argenteuil robe.

The claims don’t end there. Allegedly, the robe, or at least some piece of it, is to be found in the Patriarchal Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, Georgia, brought to that city by a Jewish Rabbi called Elias who bought the entire robe from a soldier who was present at the crucifixion. It is as good a story as any and I suppose it more likely true than the other stories. Portions of this robe are found at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Petersburg, Kiev’s Sophia Cathedral and the Moscow Cathedral of the Dormition.

The Shroud of Turin, on the other hand, has a respectable history going back to the Hymn of the Pearl, the letters of Sister Egeria, the Mozarabic Rite, John of Damascus, the capture by Curcuas and the subsequent witness of Gregory Referendus and Constantine VII and the Pray Manuscript. All of this would be almost worthless information were it not for the distinct, still inexplicable image on the Shroud.

The Sudarium has a reasonably well documented history back to the seventh century. From bloodstains there are reasons to believe that these two cloths covered the same body at about the same time. The idea that they might have been forged, both or one or the other, to have such similar bloodstain patterns is implausible to anyone who traces their possible paths during the Medieval. The Shroud and the Sudarium have been carbon dated with very dissimilar results. There are valid reasons to doubts the correctness of those dates independent of their differences.

To throw the Argenteuil robe into the mix with the Shroud and Sudarium and claim that a series of undesirable radiocarbon dates suggest some supernatural aura attached to Jesus as a source of c14 rejuvenation is preposterous beyond scientific embarrassment.


On November 6th, two years later, there was also  Of Similarities: The Tunic of Argenteuil and the Shroud of Turin

By email, Joe Marino sends along some very interesting quotations from the new book, Witnesses to Mystery: Investigations into Christ’s Relics by Grzegorz Gorny (Author) and Janusz Rosikon (Illustrator). They are from a chapter “on the little-known ‘Tunic of Argenteuil,’” Joe writes, “believed to be the robe mentioned in Mt 27:31 and the tunic mentioned in Jn19:23-24.”:

In 1998 scientists at the Optics Institute in Orsay decided to compare the bloodstain patterns on the Tunic of Argenteuil and on the Turin Shroud  They created realistic and rotational computerized geometric models of what the tunic would look like if worn by a man of the same physical stature and morphology as the man depicted on the shroud.  The result was absolutely bewildering:  it turned out that the bloodstains on the tunic were aligned exactly with the imprinted wounds visible on the shroud.  Overlaying both images drove the scientists to the conclusion that both clothes were stained by the same bleeding man.


Categories: History
  1. ekmcmahon
    November 2, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I have to write of my ignorance here. I have not heard of this before. Are we to think of this as being like a tee shirt that Jesus would have worn under his robe during the period of the Passion and all the related torture he went through until the actual Crucifixion ? I think I know of the Robe he wore as my older brother (God bless his soul) was in a high school play in a public school back late ’40s or early ’50s titled “The Robe”, I recall it had something to do with Jesus Christ is all I know.

    • Dan
      November 2, 2015 at 5:58 am

      Spotted this in a comment at http://goo.gl/vFf2oG, Holy Tunic of Argenteuil, Seamless Garment, To Be Displayed in 2016, the article, Barrie Schwortz pointed to:

      Well, this is not “The Robe” (the red or purple garment that the soldiers put on Jesus in their cruel game of Basileus), but the seamless garment (possibly a priestly garment like the Temple priests wear while offering sacrifices in the Temple) that the soldiers did not want to split between them because it was so fine, so they drew lots (gambled) for it.

      Hope this helps.

  2. piero
    November 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I visited the Church of Argenteuil,
    which houses the famous Holy Tunic,
    many years ago.
    Then I returned to attend a conference.

    Here what I have found:

    >The Robe of Christ
    (For Cecil Chesterton)

    >At the foot of the Cross on Calvary
    Three soldiers sat and diced,
    And one of them was the Devil
    And he won the Robe of Christ.
    When the Devil comes in his proper form
    To the chamber where I dwell,
    I know him and make the Sign of the Cross
    Which drives him back to Hell.
    And when he comes like a friendly man
    And puts his hand in mine,
    The fervour in his voice is not
    From love or joy or wine.
    And when he comes like a woman,
    With lovely, smiling eyes,
    Black dreams float over his golden head
    Like a swarm of carrion flies.
    Page 44
    Now many a million tortured souls
    In his red halls there be:
    Why does he spend his subtle craft
    In hunting after me?
    Kings, queens and crested warriors
    Whose memory rings through time,
    These are his prey, and what to him
    Is this poor man of rhyme, … etc. …

    … omitted part of the poem
    (= here some parts of the poem
    must be omitted because there is
    an excessive length for this message) …

    …O Mother of Good Counsel, lend
    Intelligence to me!
    Encompass me with wisdom,
    Thou Tower of Ivory!
    “This is the Man of Lies,” she says,
    “Disguised with fearful art:
    He has the wounded hands and feet,
    But not the wounded heart.”
    Page 46
    Beside the Cross on Calvary
    She watched them as they diced.
    She saw the Devil join the game
    And win the Robe of Christ.


    Joyce Kilmer (born as Alfred Joyce Kilmer;
    December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918)
    was an American writer and poet
    He was the author of
    “The Robe of Christ”
    and he was killed by a sniper’s bullet
    at the Second Battle of the Marne,
    in 1918, at the age of 31.
    Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic,
    lecturer, and editor…

    • piero
      November 2, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      >Born in 1886 into an Episcopalian family
      in New Brunswick , New Jersey,
      Kilmer studied at the Rutgers College
      Grammar School, Rutgers College and
      graduated from Colombia in 1908.
      >Shortly after graduation he married
      Aline Murray, the love of his life, a
      poet in her own right.
      >Together they had a happy home and
      five children to fill it. …



      Prayer of a Soldier in France (1918):

      My shoulders ache beneath my pack
      (Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
      I march with feet that burn and smart
      (Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

      Men shout at me who may not speak
      (They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

      I may not lift a hand to clear
      My eyes of salty drops that sear.

      (Then shall my fickle soul forget
      Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)

      My rifle hand is stiff and numb
      (From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

      Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
      Than all the hosts of land and sea.

      So let me render back again
      This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.


  3. piero
    November 2, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    >… …Il était urgent de reprendre et
    d’approfondir l’enquête passionnante Jésus et la science,
    la vérité sur les reliques du Christ, parue en 2000.
    >C’est l’objet de ce nouvel ouvrage,
    qui ne laisse rien au hasard :
    nouveaux documents historiques,
    analyses textiles, carbone 14,
    travaux comparatifs sur les pollens,
    les groupes sanguins, les empreintes ADN, etc.
    >Est-ce le même homme qui a saigné sur ces linges ?
    À quelle époque ?
    Pourrait-il s’agir de Jésus de Nazareth,
    comme le veut la Tradition ?
    >Les réponses à toutes ces questions
    sont apportées par Gérard Lucotte, généticien,
    professeur à l’École d’Anthropologie de Paris,
    et André Marion, expert en traitement des images,
    enseignant à l’université Paris-Sud, et
    déjà auteur de deux ouvrages sur les reliques de la Passion.

    Here a rough translation:
    > … … It was urgent to take and
    deepen the investigation Jesus and the Science,
    the truth about the relics of Christ, published in 2000.
    >This is the purpose of this new book,
    which leaves nothing to chance:
    new historical documents,
    textiles analysis, carbon 14,
    comparative work on pollen,
    blood types, DNA fingerprinting, etc.
    >Is this the same man who bled on these cloths?
    At what time?
    Could it be Jesus of Nazareth,
    as is the tradition?
    >The answers to these questions
    are made by Gerard Lucotte, geneticist,
    professor at the School of Anthropology in Paris,
    and Andre Marion, image processing expert,
    lecturer at the University Paris-Sud,
    already author of two books the relics of the Passion.


    Unfortunately… I have only bought
    the book by Marion but not that of
    Marion and Lucotte.

    • daveb of wellington nz
      November 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Piero, Thank you for the Joyce Kilmer poetry. The Great War of 1914-18 for some reason gave rise to a considerable amount of excellent and sensitive war poetry by various poets. Curiously this did not seem to be the case for World War II 1939-45, particularly in Britain. But you might like to check out “Lessons of the War” a sequence of poems set in a training barracks by Henry Reed and available on the web.

      • piero
        November 3, 2015 at 11:27 am

        Here what
        I have found about
        Reed, Henry:
        “Naming of Parts.”
        New Statesman and Nation 24,
        no. 598 (8 August 1942):

        Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
        We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
        We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
        Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
        Glistens likecoral in all the neighboring gardens,
        And today we have naming of parts.
        … … …





        ‘Naming of Parts’ forms Part I of a six-poem collection called Lessons of the War, each a parody of British Army training during the Second World War. There are two juxtaposing voices in this poem, the first being that of a training instructor delivering a lecture on the parts of a rifle. The second voice, which comes in halfway through the fourth line of each stanza, is more lyrical and seems to be that of the recruit, daydreaming about a beloved garden.


        — — —
        Here what I wrote
        (March 16, 2015 at 9:59 am)
        on this blog:

        >…Here two lines about Lucotte…
        >If I am right in my readings, it appears that the results of the particular analyses conducted by Lucotte have found that Jesus was an opium addict with bad habits …

        >What is your opinion about Lucotte (a scientist who specialized in the field of DNA) who argued that Jesus was an opium addict ? His statements were based on the analysis of fragments of hair found on the tunic of Argenteuil …
        >Now the questions are the following:
        >What can we say of those DNA analysis?
        >What value can we give to those controls on material very old?


        I think that we can stop here for a moment…
        and then think if it is a right thing try to waste
        our time to discuss on analyses about
        ancient DNA and inherent attempts done by prof. Lucotte, who obtaned these strange results…
        What is your opinion?

      • piero
        November 3, 2015 at 11:38 am

        I wrote a message but the
        text doesn’t appeared.
        I don’t know what happened.
        I have to rewrite my message another time!
        Here the text that I have sent few minutes ago:
        Here what I wrote on this blog
        (in March 16, 2015 at 9:59 am):

        >…Here two lines about Lucotte…
        If I am right in my readings, it appears that the results of the particular analyses conducted by Lucotte have found that Jesus was an opium addict with bad habits …
        >What is your opinion about Lucotte (a scientist who specialized in the field of DNA) who argued that Jesus was an opium addict ? His statements were based on the analysis of fragments of hair found on the tunic of Argenteuil …
        >Now the questions are the following:
        >What can we say of those DNA analysis?
        >What value can we give to those controls on material very old?


        I think that we can stop here for a moment…
        and then think if it is a right thing try to waste
        our time to discuss on analyses about
        ancient DNA and inherent attempts done by prof. Lucotte, who obtaned these strange results…

        • piero
          November 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

          For the sake of truth,
          at the beginning of my original message
          appeared the name of the poet Reed
          and few other (famous) word:

          Reed, Henry. “Naming of Parts.” New Statesman and Nation 24, no. 598 (8 August 1942)

          Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
          We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
          We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
          Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
          Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
          And today we have naming of parts. … etc. …

          >Lessons of the War is Reed’s most well-known poem and also one of the most distinctive poems of the war. He mimics the speech of army instructors, precisely echoing the vocal rhythms and including military jargon



          — —
          Here other words:
          Vixi duellis nuper idoneus
          Et militavi non sine gloria

          I have found them under
          the same address:

          See also :
          Horace begins:
          Vixi puellis nuper idoneus et militavi non sine gloria. (Till lately I have lived on easy terms with girls, and fought [in love’s battles] …


          Then the meaning of my previous intervention
          (= deleted, or failed, message) was near the following:
          “Today we have naming of genomics…”
          Turning the last word of the first line of the beginning of Reed in that manner, instead of :
          >Today we have naming of parts…

  4. Hugh Farey
    November 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I see that the original correspondents were designing “a map of Europe with all the seamless clothes” they could find. How many more are there, apart from those of Argenteuil and Trier? And what about the lendentuch of Aachen?

    • November 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Hugh, you asked, you got:

      According to Michael Hesemann’s “Milczący świadkowie Golgoty’ (The polish translation of the original ‘Die stummen zeugen von Golgatha’), the table on pg. 241-2, the following fragments are dispersed across Europe:

      1. From Trier’s cloth:
      -Weissenau (?)
      -Maria Lach

      2. From Argenteuils’ cloth:
      -Flines (?)
      -Santiago de Compostella (?)

      3. From Constantinople’s robe:
      -Mount Athos

      4. From the Mtskheta’s cloth (Hesemann doubts the very existence of that cloth, as according to the legend it is buried under some tree in Cathedral, and no one has seen it for ages):

      -Moscow (?)
      -St. Petersburg (?)

      5. Unknown:


      About the Aachen and Kornelimünster relics, see http://en.heiligtumsfahrt2014.de/wissenswertes/heiligt–mer/

      • daveb of wellington nz
        November 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm

        Thank Providence that the relic collectors seeking to enhance the reputation of all their cathedrals and churches by such a pathetic means never got their grimy hands and scissors near the Shroud. Fragments of it might have been scattered from Moscow to Madrid. The importance of conserving the image is probably what prevailed and saved it from such a fate.

      • Hugh Farey
        November 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

        Thanks, OK; very interesting.

  5. piero
    November 4, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Now I want to drift… I want
    to depart somewhat from the
    main theme (the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil):
    Do you know what is DRIFTs
    (= Diffuse Reflectance Fourier
    Transform spectrometry) ?

    I have found an old reference :

    Michael P. Fuller and Peter R. Griffiths,
    “Infrared Microsampling by Diffuse Reflectance
    Fourier Transform Spectrometry”
    Appl. Spectrosc. 34, 533-539 (1980)


    IMHO this technique can help us learn
    something about fragmented samples
    and dusts (see for example the controversial
    debate around the materials taken away
    from the cloth [= vacuumed dusts] from
    Giovanni Riggi, in the past. And see also
    what then Eng. G. Fanti did with his controls).
    I do not think this non-destructive
    technique has been used (or suggested)
    by Marion for the Holy Tunic, who was a
    well known expert in optical field…

  6. piero
    November 4, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Errata corrige:
    >I do not think this non-destructive
    technique has been used (or
    suggested to use on that ancient
    Tunic made of wool) by prof.
    Marion (who was a well known
    expert in Optical field…)
    for the Holy Tunic.

    Instead of:
    >I do not think this non-destructive
    technique has been used (or suggested)
    by Marion for the Holy Tunic, who was a
    well known expert in optical field…

    • piero
      November 4, 2015 at 10:28 am

      It seems to me odd that Dr. Raymond N.
      Rogers, despite being an expert in
      the field of explosives, he never used
      the ATR-FTIR and DRIFT techniques
      in order to control linen samples coming from
      the Shroud.
      Or …
      Maybe he wanted to suggest to me
      the study of such analytical ways
      when he criticized my excessive
      dwell in the AFM, saying that
      the AFM could not see well in depth
      the ligno-cellulosic samples tested …

      • piero
        November 4, 2015 at 10:54 am

        Here a generic example (about
        ATR-FTIR and DRIFT)
        taken from:

        “Explosives Detection:
        A Challenge for Physical Chemistry”
        Annual Review of Physical Chemistry
        Vol. 49: 203-232 (Volume publication date October 1998)
        Jeffrey I. Steinfeld (Department of Chemistry,
        Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Jody Wormhoudt (Aerodyne Research Inc.).

        >… important application of IR spectrometry
        to … (here an omitted part, sorry)
        >… is the use of techniques such as
        diffuse reflectance IR-FT (DRIFT) or
        attenuated total reflectance to measure
        adsorption, decomposition,
        and diffusion kinetics of species such … … etc. …

        — — —
        That ancient tunic in tatters seems
        to suggest us the idea of a person
        (= Jesus Christ!) hit by a strong blast
        …. or not?

      • piero
        November 5, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Although I am interested in the
        use of ATR-FTIR and AFM
        in order to investigate the material
        (and the ATR-FTIR technique
        permits a penetration instead
        AFM is limited to the surface…)…
        I want to add that there is
        not only these techniques
        in my thoughts, since there are also other
        advanced technologies.

        For example:
        the ATR-SNOM-Raman spectroscopy
        by M. Futamata, A. Bruckbauer

        And here the beginning of
        the Abstract:
        >In this study, an ATR-SNOM-Raman
        equipment was built to obtain
        topography and SNOM images
        simultaneously … …




        • piero
          November 5, 2015 at 11:45 am

          Errata corrige:
          >I want to add: there are
          not only these techniques

          Instead of:
          >I want to add that there is
          not only these techniques

        • piero
          November 6, 2015 at 11:30 am

          I must intervene here (…another time!)
          to clarify that (in my opinion) those
          advanced analyses are better suitable
          for linen fibres of the Shroud instead of
          the wool of the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil.
          I am also curious about the probable levels of degradation for ancient DNA on that Tunic that
          (if I am right) was not properly conserved [as
          instead happened for the Holy Shroud].
          In any case…
          What sense does the will to control
          with sophisticated analysis a relic
          that was made into pieces [to hidden
          it, in front to the French Revolution]
          or that was stolen and then returned?
          — — —
          >In honor of the Year of Mercy decreed by Pope Francis — which begins on December 8, 2015 — Stanislas LaLanne, Bishop of Pontoise and “Guardian of the Holy Tunic” has announced that the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil – purported to be the seamless garment worn by Christ on Calvary – will be exhibited to the public for a very brief time: from March 25 to April 10, 2016. …
          >…During the French Revolution, the integrity of the Z-twist-patterned woven tunic was lost as the parish priest of Argenteuil — hoping to protect the unique garment from confiscation by the government — cut it into several pieces, burying some, and entrusting other pieces to parishioners. The priest, jailed for two years, attempted to patch the relic back together, but some parts of the tunic were never found. …
          >… …The tunic — having been stolen in 1983, and then recovered — was last given exposition in 1984, drawing at that time approximately 80,000 pilgrims. As the 2016 display will occur during the 150th anniversary of the Basilica of Saint Denis, and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese of Pontoise, … …


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