How the image came to be on the shroud.

In the following posting, I borrow some wording from my own The Resurrection is Just Too Mysterious to Be Described. I apologize for that but it was the best way, So, please bear with me as I bare my thoughts.

image.pngMany of us who believe in the Resurrection believe it was physical.  Many others do not. A fairly recent survey reported that only 68% of American Catholics strongly agreed with the statement, “Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead.” The percentage of Mainline Protestants was statistically the same at 67%. Evangelical Christians scored higher in this regard at 84%. The survey, Portraits of American Life Study (PALS) was conducted in 2006 by Michael O. Emerson of Rice University and David H. Sikkink of the University of Notre Dame with funding from their respective schools and the Lilly Endowment Fund.

Count me among those who strongly agree with the statement. For many Christians, a spiritual resurrection that is not physical or bodily makes more sense, a belief which to me, is perfectly acceptable. (See The Resurrection is Just Too Mysterious to Be Described). I might change my mind, as I have before. But for now and the foreseeable future, I’m a physical resurrection fan and believer.

But how so? Do I mean that what “happened” behind closed doors was physical?  Do I mean the empty tomb was a physical reality?  Do I mean that the post-resurrection appearances were physical?   Was Jesus somehow transformed physically so that he could pass through locked doors and still be able to eat fish?

What if the Resurrection was simply an instantaneous change of state not just to the body but to the surroundings, as well. Air would NOT rush in to fill the space left by the disappeared body. It would just suddenly be there. Burial cloths would NOT fall to the surface on which the body lay. They would in that instant just be there. Think of something “occurring” in zero time.

We are all familiar, at least in principle, with the way a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. That is a process. We can make a time-lapsed movie of it and see each and every step. Some will say they see a miracle unfolding. Others will say it is nothing of the kind; it is a perfectly explainable biological process.

If you were to take the first frame and the last frame from the movie of the process, splice them together and pretend that nothing happened in between then you could demonstrate with a very short, two-frame movie a miraculous transformation without a process.

The Resurrection, if we are to believe it was in some way physical, was, by definition, a miracle. If we are to take our knowledge from scripture alone, there was a before and an after, a first frame, so to speak, and a last frame. There was nothing in between that we know about. So, why do we think there was a process? Why do we think, for instance, the body became mechanically transparent or dematerialized such that a cloth might fall through it or that that the body might release some form of energetic byproduct during the Resurrection? Why do we think, as Mark Antonacci, a well-known Shroud researcher, suggests that Jesus might have passed through a traversable Lorentzian wormhole in space-time or as Tulane professor Frank Tipler suggests that the process of resurrection might have been a form of electroweak quantum tunneling?

I’m left to wonder. Is it because of too much imagination or not enough?

image.pngThomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica tried to explain that angels in going from one place to another did not pass through the place in between. Nor did they consume time doing so.

By this sort of local movement an angel may, at will, be present successively in several places and thus may be said to pass through the space between the first and the last place of the series. Or an angel may cease to apply its powers in the first place and begin to apply them in the last, not passing through the space between.

Since there is succession, that is, before-and-after, in the application of an angel’s powers, now here and now there, it must be said that an angel’s local movement occurs in time, and is not instantaneous. This time, however, is not measurable in our minutes or seconds; these units of time are applicable only to bodily movement.

Humor me. I’m just trying to make a point. For angels, at least for Thomas Aquinas’ angels, in how they traveled, there is only a first frame and a last frame, so to speak.  Thomas Aquinas was much into angels and was brilliant at logical speculation. This notion of his provides a useful metaphor for pondering any and all supernatural “action.” There is in his imaginings a change of state and no measure of time. There is nothing like that in classical physics and perhaps nothing like that in quantum mechanics, as well.

And to be clear, we are talking about miracles in a classic sense of the word.  We are not talking about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. We are talking, here, about:

  • “The highest degree in miracles comprises those works wherein something is done by God, that nature can never do.” — The Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas
  • “A miracle is a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent.” —  “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding” by David Hume

Might miracles be like Thomas Aquinas’ angels, who avoid the in-between and use no time?” Not concerning ourselves, here, with questions about Biblical literalism, when Jesus healed the blind man was there a moment in time when the man’s eyesight was partially restored? When Jesus turned water into wine was there a moment in time, no matter how brief, when the wine was still mostly water and when, perhaps picoseconds later, the water was mostly wine? Or was it that the man’s eyesight was suddenly restored? Was it that the water was suddenly wine?

There was, when I was growing up, a book that could be found gathering dust here and there about our house. It was sometimes in its place on the bookshelf but more often it was on the corner of a desk, a coffee table in the living room or on top of the television set where it was used to prop up the rabbit ears antenna at just the right angle for getting the best television reception from a broadcasting tower five miles away. The theory was that my grandmother, on purpose, would leave the book around the house in hopes that someone would read it. The book was Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison (real name Albert Henry Ross; Faber and Faber, 1930). Promoted by such luminaries as T. S. Elliot and  G. K. Chesterton, the book was a big success when it was first published in 1930. It is now a classic.

Now, in “thumbing” through the Kindle version I came across this thought:

In each case the women arrive to find the stone already rolled away, yet with no hint from the writers as to how this came about. It is only when we turn to St. Matthew’s Gospel that we read of a great angel descending and removing the stone.

Now the peculiar and significant thing is this. We can search the apocryphal writings through and through, and we shall nowhere find even the remotest suggestion that the Lord Himself broke the barriers of His own prison. We are told that the stone ‘rolled away of itself’, or that supernatural beings descended and moved it. But nowhere is the obvious miracle recorded that Jesus Himself threw down the physical defences of the grave.

I wondered, could it be that the angel (or a metaphorical angel), removed the stone as Thomas Aquinas might have imagined his angels doing?  Could it be that in an imperceptible, immeasurable instant, absent any sound or disturbance of any kind, the stone was found to be in a new position? It didn’t roll. It didn’t slide. The stone was moved but never was there any motion.

Might the Resurrection “moment” in the tomb have been that way: a miracle with a before and after and no in-between process? In other words, might the Resurrection have been a miracle in which Jesus neither removed his shroud nor passed through it, yet, nonetheless, it had been shed — a miracle in which he went from point A to point B without passing through the in-between — a miracle in which the stone was not rolled away but found to be in a new place  — a miracle in which an image did appear on the cloth? 

And in that sense, did Jesus suddenly appear by the Magdalen’s side? And did He just appear to the disciples on the road to Emmaus? Had they looked back down the road before the encounter, would they have seen him approaching from afar or not?  Had Jesus just suddenly appeared in the Cenacle, not passing through doors or walls at all?  Did Jesus travel to a place on the Road to Damascus for his encounter with Saul of Tarsus? Or was the Christ just there?

And was the image just there at the instant of the Resurrection?

John Jackson et al. wants us to play the game of best fit as we consider his Resurrection of the Falling Cloth scenario. It’s a best fit for many image characteristics we are told.  And by his selection, characterization and measurement criteria he is right. Fair enough. But, arguably — and by making some allowance for many years of folding, spindling, and well-intentioned mutilation — the image created as part-and-parcel of a body transformation, stone relocation, and image formation miracle is, by definition, a perfect fit.

There is still the question of why.  Why is there an image at all?  And for what constituency was that image placed on the shroud?

Dare we wonder about carbon 14 ratios? Could we even imagine altering the C14  content as part-and-parcel of the miracle?  That’s a “why” too strange, to even contemplate.

So I’m reluctant to embrace my own imagination except that compared to EVERY OTHER image forming proposal from radiation to corona discharge to  Maillard reaction to photosensitive contact printing to dust painting to rubbing and even acid etching, I prefer a two-frame, now-you-don’t-see -it-now-you-do, part and parcel with the Resurrection model. And the Resurrection is not the cause of the image.

13 thoughts on “How the image came to be on the shroud.”

  1. Hello Dan, I think the article I published in 2017 in an academic journal, New Blackfriars, should be of interest to you: “Turin Shroud, Resurrection and Science: One View of the Cathedral”. As you can guess, I engage with some of your points.

    Cf. also the discussion I had with Nature columnist Philip Ball on the same topic:

  2. Apologies for playing games with your graphic, Dan, but may I briefly say this?

    If it’s magic wands you’re looking for (not just scriptural but Harry Potter’s less well-known ones included) then here’s a tip.

    Never underestimate the power of those Maillard browning products (and I don’t just mean French baguettes deployed as magic wands).

    Think roasted flour imprints as well (medieval era!!!!).

  3. The first question we have to adress is if the Shroud wrapped a human male crucified body and the answer is straight forward YES.
    The second question and most important is whose Body did it wrap?
    Despite all contoversy its reasonable to conclude based on tradition, historic doccuments, peculiarity of the image and forensic data that it was Jesus Christ’s body.

    Scientists have tried to understand how the image formed on the fabric but till now the fact is NO EXPLANATION EXISTS-THAT’S THE REAL THING.
    II’m deeply convinced that we’ll never know for sure what happened in the event of the Resurrection, nevertheless something physical happened, that acted at low temperature and promoted dehydration and oxidation of a thin superficial polysaccharide layer around superficial thread linen fibers discoloring some and apparently having no effect on others
    This is indeed an aspect that puzzles my mind and makes me wonder why do fiber bundles have a discolored (or colored??) fiber beside a non discolored fiber.

    Whatever acted on the fabric did it in a kind of selective way? or did it act in a diffuse way but some fibers reacted and others did not react?
    Perhaps this is a silly thought but I’m not ashamed to share it.

    This is a FACT confirmed by science and is what the image is made of.
    WHY? the short answer is we don’t know
    For those who like me believe that Christ’s Resurrection was a Physical Event it doesn’t matter.

    The Shroud is a Sign that GOD granted to humankind.
    The late pope John Paul II said that the Image on the Shroud was a challenge to our intelligence, and the several scientific hypotheses on image formation prove he was right.

    Antero de Frias Moreira
    (Centro Português de Sindonologia)

  4. Hi Dan,
    Gus Accetta here.
    Very interesting blog.
    In fact, I actually agree completely.
    The subject is so profound that I hesitate to discuss to a general audience due to the near certainty of being completely misunderstood.
    Now that you have done the hard work of detailing your thoughts, I can add mine within your context.
    If one’s premise is that the resurrection actually took place, then what do we know must have occurred?
    For starters, we know that the human nature of Christ which entered into our time/space continuum at the moment of His conception, was instantaneously changed at the moment of the resurrection into what Paul calls the pnumaticon soma or spiritual body in First Corinthians.
    As some have misunderstood in the past, this is not at all a denial of physicality of the resurrected Christ, but metaphysical change to a transphysical “spiritual body” which can exist in time and space BUT NOT CONFINED TO IT.
    I’ve been lecturing for years now what you have stated. The pnumaticon soma from that moment of resurrection is in some way always present. Christianity believes this, that Christ is always present.
    Thus, Christ doesn’t walk through doors (bible doesn’t say he did, just says he appeared to them in a locked room). Christ comes in and out. Emmaus IN breaking of the bread OUT.
    Christ transcends time and space. He must, or eternity makes no sense.
    In this sense, the sacraments make perfect sense, in particular the Eucharist.
    As far as the image on the Shroud is concerned, I agree that as you say, “the first frame and the last frame” is a great way to look at the the resurrection.
    The “first frame” however is a completely human nature, the second frame is a completely divine transphysical nature. I can’t escape that the “matter” of the human nature being transformed into the transphysical nature had to have a delta E. The matter of the human nature which was truly there was there no more and that requires physics, metaphysics yes but physics. This delta E I believe accounts for the image.
    The physicist on our board (debated Stephen Hawking on more than one occasion), feels strongly that this is a “collapsing of time” (as physicists like to call it) event.
    Your thoughts

  5. That was beautifully written and very enjoyable, not to mention mind bending.
    My observation of His teeth and metacarpals seem to indicate a process unless He just wanted to mess with us and it is as you said.

    1. One presumes that’s a reference to clinician Gus MD (now a somewhat controversial California-based cosmetic surgeon – see Yelp) having once dosed himself with a short-lived radiation-emitting technetium isotope and obtaining images of his teeth, skeleton etc on sensitive film.

      Heroic, self-endangering experimentation indeed

      It’s always gratifying to see new and daring experimentation, in this instance totally out-of-the-box.


      Ah yes, that R word…

      I personally prefer experimentation to be main highway in the first instance, exploring of
      mystique-engendering byways to be sidelined till later…

  6. Hi, Dan
    Always a pleasure to see you stir the Shroud waters from time to time. It produces the usual nitpicking criticisms from Colin Berry with his various scientific and logical criticisms of any comments about the Shroud that suggest non-miraculous means of image formulation. My own recent exchange of views with Colin left me feeling that he is probably a decent guy–even someone to have a pint with at the local pub. But Colin has ruled out the possibility of a miraculous event involving the Shroud. So if that is the actual explanation (as I believe it is), all of his analysis is pointless and ultimately tedious. I offer the same observation about the endless speculation concerning how the image was formed by natural, albeit unique perhaps, methods that conform to New Testament accounts.

    Where I do agree with Colin and other skeptics is that if there can be generated scientific data that proves the image could not have formed at the time of Christ’s resurrection, then the Shroud cannot have been his burial cloth. Carbon-14 dating that conclusively establishes the date of the cloth would provide this proof if it showed that the cloth is not old enough to have held Christ’s body. But, of course, if the cloth passed that test there would still be legions of atheistic scientists that would simply adjust their arguments to include manmade imposition of the image on a suitably old cloth. So ever proving that the image is that of Christ at the time of his resurrection (or 3 “days” earlier?) will be “mission impossible” to convince these people.

    Notions that the image was miraculously formed on a 2,000-year old cloth long afterward as a spiritual gift to mankind from God do not work for me. It doesn’t fit the history that we have and there would seem to be plenty of other ways for God to get our attention without such a confusing and, indeed, somewhat deceptive device.

    If the image was miraculously formed, then we should (and have) study the shroud to see how that image conforms to the science of a cloth that embraced a crucified body, including indications of blood and other bodily fluids, lack of paint strokes or other artistic media, accurate representation of wounds and blood flow, etc. It seems clear to me that this image was left behind to provide us a pictorial representation of the crucifixion as described in the New Testament. Its full impact was not revealed until 1898 on the threshold of scientific discoveries that would further inflate mankind’s hubris and belief that science holds the answer to all of the mysteries in the universe. That hubris has been seriously challenged by quantum physics and the realization that dark energy and dark matter comprise about 95% of the universe we observe. The Shroud remains as a similar challenge.

    I do have one bone to pick with you, Dan. You state this in your blog entry: “For many Christians, a spiritual resurrection that is not physical or bodily makes more sense, a belief which to me, is perfectly acceptable.”

    A spiritual resurrection that is not physical is something other than Christianity. As Paul says in 1Cor15:14: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is void of content and your faith is empty too.” Or, verse 17: “. . . if Christ was not raised, your faith is worthless.” Or, review Luke 24:39-43 where Jesus stresses the fact that he has flesh and bones and invites the apostles to confirm it by touching him. He then asks for food to eat and proceeds to dine on a fish to demonstrate he is physically present with a functioning human body. He hammers on this point and repeats it later when he invites Thomas to put his fingers and hand into Christ’s crucifixion wounds in his physical body. John 20:27.

    So it is not acceptable to claim that there was no physical resurrection of Jesus. This is the nonsense put out by Marcus Borg and other members of the Jesus Seminar. They are not Christians. They are enemies of Christianity with their watered down “kumbaya” version of God that denies the Son of God and the terrible sacrifice required of him to redeem mankind.

    1. Jim, I’m not sure what you mean by a watered down “kumbaya” version of God. Kumbaya is a Gullah word used in Gospel spirituals sung by former slaves on the barrier islands of South Carolina and Georgia. It’s a prayer. It derives from English and means, “Come by here” as in the lyrical refrain, “Someone needs you, Lord. Kumbaya. Sinner needs you, Lord. Kumbaya.”

      We will just have to disagree on the rest. My interpretation of the Pauline verses you mention as well as my less literal understanding of Emmaus encounter is certainly different than yours. I simply don’t easily believe in a loving God who judges, accepts or defines anyone by what they believe or don’t believe; belief being more a consequence of the accidents of birth and life than of purposeful choice. I believe more in a God who doesn’t. Thus for me, believing in a physical resurrection or a spiritual resurrection and even honest disbelief is acceptable. That’s as I see it. I just happen to, now at this time in my life, believe in a physical resurrection. But not one imagined by so many in the world of the shroud.

      As I wrote elsewhere, In a recent survey, about a third of American Catholics made it clear that it was hard for them to believe in a physical resurrection. Asked to respond to the statement, “Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead” only 68% said they strongly agreed. The percentage of Mainline Protestants was statistically the same, 67%. Evangelical Christians scored higher in this regard at 84%. The survey, Portraits of American Life Study (PALS) was conducted in 2006 by Michael O. Emerson of Rice University and David H. Sikkink of the University of Notre Dame with funding from their respective schools and the Lilly Endowment Fund.

      I hardly think that the church (I mean the word in a non-denominational sense) considers these people non-Christians. I certainly don’t.

      I had a lot of respect for Marcus Borg. He was a brilliant biblical scholar and historian. That doesn’t mean that I agreed with him on many things. Just incidentally, his wife was an Episcopal priest. I imagine they thought of each other as Christians. Marcus Borg was not an enemy of Christianity. Quite the opposite. His views were merely different than yours or mine.

      1. Just let me know if you’re in the market, Dan, for a really sceptical ‘take’ on the (somewhat disparate) accounts of events/cited words between Crucifixion and final Ascension.

        And I don’t just mean the curious narratives in the even tighter time scale between Resurrection and Ascension (though the emphasis in Luke of the chiding/admonition of disciples for failing to grasp the significance and import of Old Testament prophecies would take centre stage).

        Suffice it to say the spotlight would be placed on the fleeting but crucial appearance of the mysterious “hands-on” Joseph of Arimathea.

        Part of the wiki entry on that dark horse is definitely worth a read – or in your case I’ve no doubt – a re-read.

        Far be it from me to make the connection between his being “rich” (provider of “fine linen” and his very own oh-so-exclusive and handily-situated rock tomb, taken together with the prophecies in Isaiah etc of the post-mortem intervention of (guess what?) a rich man, allegedly in connection with the predicted arrival and subsequent abuse of a Messiah.

        One could say more, but best maybe I stop there … Except to ask this: real historical linen – or maybe a little bit of inventive Old v New Testament dot-joining license on the part of the 4 Gospel writers?

        Religion the “opium of the masses”?

        Maybe, but certainly a caffeine stimulant for jaded science bods too…

      2. I agree with your opinion of God’s mercy and judgment. And only a fool would think he or she could make the judgment of God about anyone else. There are multiple reasons for this fact besides being one of the most repeated commands throughout the New Testament: “Do not judge others.”

        But Christianity is a defined religion. A Christian is one who subscribes to the tenets of the Nicene Creed. Denying the physical resurrection of Jesus–much less the necessity and fact of his redemptive crucifixion–denies the core element of Christianity. Paul could not have said it more clearly. There are no “alternative facts” in the Christian religion. You can be a very loving person, dear to God, destined for salvation, saintly in demeanor and actions but you are not a Christian if you deny these fundamental beliefs. You are not a follower of Jesus Christ if you deny essential elements of who he is, what his mission on earth was, and what was required to accomplish it. Period. All of these things are denied by the Jesus Seminar and its adherents. This is an evil attack on true Christianity which is in no way altered by the sweetness of its proponents or the character of any of their family members. This is not the same as arguing over particular actions that are generally regarded as sinful, such as abortion, murder and violations of the other Ten Commandments. Intent, capability, motivation, capacity, external circumstances, etc., all come into play in assessing the sinfulness of these actions. That’s one of the reasons we are not allowed to judge the souls of others (though we may condemn and punish the actions as part of our responsibility to achieve justice and security for all people).

        As for what is required to achieve salvation and join the “Kingdom of Heaven,” Christ could not have said it more clearly. We must feed the hungry and thirsty, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit (comfort) people in prison, and welcome the stranger. MT 25:31-46. Everyone reading this passage should note there is no mention of “membership” in any particular religious denomination or faith in there. This tells us everything we need to know about what it takes to be a good person on earth. But it says nothing about what it means to be a Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Mormon. Those religions have dogmas and doctrines that define them. Claiming to be a “Christian” when you don’t subscribe to its core dogmas about Jesus Christ is sophistry of the most egregious kind.

        By the way, anyone who regards himself/herself as a “good Christian” but opposes expanding health care to all persons, or opposes allowing persecuted and desperate immigrants from entering this country, or prefers tax cuts to government programs that aid the poor and disadvantaged should read this biblical passage carefully. Being a “good Christian” is much more than saying “I do” when all the elements of Christianity are recited. It also requires adhering to the teachings of Jesus and getting a “good score” at the Last Judgment.

        My reference to “kumbaya” was not to denigrate the sentiment behind it but to note that it has become a cultural reference to a loving orientation that seems blind to the fact that life has requirements of justice to manage the forces of evil in our midst. But, enough on this. I yield to your view of the term and, certainly, it is a lovely sentiment and desirable state of spirituality.

  7. As I mentioned briefly in an email reply to Dan, just the other day, Jim, there’s an entire dimension that is missing from continuing current debate regarding 1st century authenticity versus medieval fabrication.

    I’ll spare you the finer details, and simply provide a link and brief summary for now:

    It concerns the short-lived Order of the Star (apologies to French visitors for the anglicization), said by the above wiki entry to have been founded in 1351.

    Who was the inspiration for its creation in concert with King Jean II of France? Why, none other than history’s first documented owner of the Turin Linen, namely Geoffroy de Charny.

    Why was the Order short-lived? Because de Charny died at the Battle of Poitiers 5 years later, bearer of the Royal Standard, fighting and defending his KIng, the latter captured and held to ransom. But 1356 was also the approximate time of the first public display of the Linen, maybe by de Charny’s widow, Jeanne de Vergy (both man and wife’s heraldic coats of arms appearing on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge)

    How come so high-profile an owner of the Linen can be so downplayed, eclipsed by all the assumptions of 1st century authenticity, when it’s so easy to conceive of alternative mid- 14th century reasons for its existence (like serving briefly (maybe?) as a ceremonial centrepiece for the newly-formed Order, with echoes of similar religious totems having been used by the earlierTemplar Knights at their secretive gatherings. Income from public displays may also have been part of the thinking (given the Order intended tio provide pensions for its members, to say nothing of meeting some of the costs of regalia, body armour, weaponry etc etc).

    See also the splendid historical work that was done many years ago by the late Dorothy Crispino, relating to the manner in which King Jean !! assisted his close lieutenant/confident de Charny in acquiring the financial wherewithal to found that generously staffed (overstaffed?) private chapel on his Lirey estate, with hints that there may have been changes of use that could be linked to acquisition (or as I prefer to think, fabrication) of the Linen.

    Best I stop here, except to re-iterate that sindonology has barely scratched the surface where the de Charny/King Jean II/Order of the Star connection is concerned.

    One hears of conclusions being arrived at with indecent haste. The haste may not be indecent where sindonology is concerned, but I personally find the fortuitous blind spots to be of truly gobsmacking magnitude.

    1. PS: To those who say that any new and ingenious means of creating the image would not have remained a secret for very long, then I suggest the following. Re-read what I wrote 2 days ago on that powerful consortium of (a) G de Charny, his King and the Lirey chapel. The read the potted history of the Linen supplied on

      Note the way that references continue to be made to the Lirey canons claiming ownership for well over a century after de Charny’s death, specifically 1473 and 1482. Note how their claim must have been at least partially recognized, given the reference to late payments of “rent” to the Savoy custodians. Note too the King also steps in at one point claiming ownership! Yet those same canons acquiesced to early demands from the Pope to remove the Linen from display for some 30 years post de Charny’s death in 1356,

      That history begins with a brief reference to de Charny having reportedly acquired the Linen on his travels in Constantinople. That would hardly explain the Lirey canons’ prolonged claims of ownership or for agreeing to read out denials of authenticity when subsequently re-displayed.

      One need hardly say there is an explanation for all these otherwise puzzling aspects of the Linen’s early recorded history. De Charny did not acquire it in Constantinople. It was fabricated on his Lirey estate, probably by the generously staffed team of clerics in his own Monarch-subsidized private chapel, probably with the original intention of being used as a devotional centrepiece by members of the newly founded Order of the Star.

      All that came to naught with the death of de Charny and the capture and ransom of his King. That left the Lirey canons as legal custodians in all but name, but willing, at least initially, to allow de Charny’s widow to assume nominal ownership. Renewed displays in the late 14th century began to re-generate a stream of income, no doubt supporting both de Charny’s widow (albeit remarried) and the continued existence of the private chapel.

      Given this background, how likely is that the word would leak out as to how precisely the relic, correction, icon was created? It’s just about conceivable that given a Papal ruling against authenticity, there would or could have been a demand for multiple icons, all displaying the same life-size double body image etc etc. But if those same canons were still earning a decent income from continued display of the Mark 1 creation, how willing would they have been to allow competitors to muscle in with multiple look-alike copies? I would estimate the probability at somewhere between 0 and 1%, especially when renewed claims and beliefs in authenticity were increasing steadily, year by year, decade by decade…

      1. Oops. I wrote:

        “Note how their claim must have been at least partially recognized, given the reference to late payments of “rent” to the Savoy custodians.”

        Wrong way round! That should have been ” late payments or rent FROM the Savoy custodians TO the Lirey canons.”

        Incidentally, by way of postscript, there’s an additional sliver of evidence linking the Linen to the both the Lirey canons and the Order of the Star (via G de Charny).

        Take a look at the somewhat puzzling line from the history sequence on (supplied by the celebrated Ian Wilson no less!):

        1349: … Geoffrey de Charny, a French knight, writes to Pope Clement VI reporting his intention to build a church at Lirey, France. It is said he builds St. Mary of Lirey church to honor the Holy Trinity …

        So why call it “St.Mary of Lirey church” if it’s to honour the Holy Trinity? Why not call it “Holy Trinity Church”?

        Now go to the wiki entry on G de Charny’s “Order of the Star” – see above link – (which he co-founded with King Jean II) and one gets a possible, some might say, probable answer: (My bolding)


        In French the order was initially called les Chevaliers de Nostre Dame de la Noble Maison (“the Knights of Our Lady of the Noble House”). In Latin the order was referred to in early documents as consortium seu societatem militem Beate Marie Nobilis Domus apud Sanctum Odoenum prope Sanctum Dyonisium in Francia (“the knightly company or society of the Blessed Mary of the Noble House at Saint-Ouen near Saint-Denis in France”) …

        In other words, G de Charny, Lord of Lirey, did NOT intend to name his private chapel after the Holy Trinity (goodness knows where that idea came from!). He intended it to be named after the Holy Mother AND PROCEEDED TO DO SO!

        Why? Because that was to be the person whose hallowed name was to be central to the planned Order of the Star, singled out in its full title!

        As for the reference to Constantinople, right at the start of Ian Wilson’s “undisputed history”, words fail me!

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