A Guest Post by O.K.

imageIt is well known that after the transfer to Constantinople in 944, all Byzantine descriptions of Mandylion and the Shroud (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Gregory Referendarius, Nicholas Mesarites) are deliberately vague. The true nature of the Mandylion/Shroud had to remain secret, for the reasons I will discuss next time. We can only guess properties of the Mandylion/Shroud from several allusions. Several of those allusions (pointing to the identity between Shroud and Mandylion and great confusion of the academic community) were discussed in my old posting on Dan’s blog. Today I want to present another allusion, which (what is very strange to me) was ommited by all historians’ elaborations regarding the Mandylion known to me.

In Mark Guscin’s english translation of the 944 sermon of Gregory Referendarius, in chapter 13 we can find a very interesting remark, no historian, as far as I know, paid a proper attention to:

Who is like you, God, doing everything in wisdom from times of old? […] You wiped clean the sweat of the nature you had taken on and what was wiped clean was transformed into an image of your unchanging form, just like Adam’s form was drawn out of the ground, like the eyes of nature in the folds of the kneaded earth. (my emphasis).

Here we have a comparison between creation of Adam, the First Man (and naked, just like the Man of the Shroud -cf. Genesis, chapter 2) and creation of the form of Jesus on the Mandylion. What is the significance of that? I think it is great.

The main "argument" (or should I say pseudo-argument because it has been undermined long ago) is the conviction that the Mandylion contained nothing else, but only image of the face of Jesus. There are of course documents telling otherwise (like Codex Vossianus Latinus Q69), ignored usually by narrow-minded majority of academic scholars, but with regards to the Adam reference in Gregory Referendarius other question arises:

If Mandylion contained only the face, do those wise guys think that Adam’s form drawn out of the ground consisted only of the face?

IMHO, this is ridiculous. The reference to Adam makes sense only if it is an allusion to the fact, that the Mandylion contained the image of the whole body.

Just like the (again deliberately ambiguous!) reference to the side wound (chapter 22 of the Gregory Referendarius’ sermon).

So, based on the contemporary accounts (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Symeon Magister, Gregory Referendarius, see Daniel Scavone’s paper Acheiropoietos: Jesus Images in Constantinople: the Documentary Evidence ) we can make a list of several allusions (except for #2 not clearly stated facts, which, I should stress once again, is deliberate) to the properties of the Mandylion:

1. It contained bloodstains

2. The image on the Mandylion was very faint, "sweat-like".

3. The reference to the Adam makes sense only if it was an allusion to the fact that the Mandylion contained the whole body (which was mentioned in later, Latin versions of the Abgar story, like Codex Vossianus Latinus Q69)

4. The allusion to the side wound -suggest presence of the whole body image and the side wound.

There is only one known object in the world that fits those "allusions" -the Shroud of Turin.

A Guest Posting by O.K.

The star with a strange light curve, the aliens, the Shroud
of Turin and Resurrection theories about it’s image



Some reflections about natural and extraordinary (miraculous) explanations about
the Shroud’s image formation, with comparison to extraordinary claims regarding other sciences (here: astronomy).

For some time there is a great hype in the media (see for example Ian O’Neill: Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure? on or Sarah Kaplan: The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure, Washington Post, October 15) about the star designated as KIC 8462852. The star has been observed by Kepler space telescope, designed to detect extrasolar planets via transit method. Data gathered suggest that this star has a very atypical light curve, which characterize by irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20% level. This is a quote from the paper (submitted, but not yet accepted, to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, one of the most respected peer-reviewed astronomical journals in the world -the preprint is available in arXiv repository) Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 – Where’s the Flux? by T. S. Boyajian et al. which describes the strange behavior of that star. The authors in section 4 give a list of several possible explanations for that phenomena:

     • Instrumental effects or data reduction artifacts?

     • Intrinsic variability?

     • Occultation by circumstellar dust clumps

     • Aftermath of catastrophic collisions in asteroid belt

     • Aftermath of giant impact in planetary system

     • Dust-enshrouded planetesimals

     • A comet family? (this is considered the most likely scenario)

So why the media hype? Because, according to some speculations, the observed light curve is also consistent wit a sci-fi kind scenario, namely the alien-built megastructure Dyson swarm orbiting around the swarm. This is also a kind of “explanation”, which can be tested, but -not surprisingly -the term “aliens” does not even appear in Boyajian et al. paper. Natural hypotheses are preferred first, which is -quite natural, actually. Scientists are rather expected to examine ordinary explanations (instrumental or natural phenomena) for unexpected observations, before going to extraordinary (extraterrestail life and advanced intelligent civilizations) – because as catch phrase says “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Or should we go straightforward to the aliens, and claim that we “discovered” 1 them, citing as proof the atypical light curve of some star, which can be fitted to alien megastructure scenario (and disregard other explanations)?

What all of this has with regards to the Shroud? Simply in sindonology there is a notable camp that claims the image on the Shroud can only be explained via some effect directly associated with Resurrection (John Jackson’s “Fall-Through” hypothesis, Mark Antonacci “Historically Consistent Method”, various other scenarios involving radiation, neutron burst and so on). These claims have been raised again recently -just see entries from the few last days: Proof of the Resurrection?, October 31, Bob Rucker: A Burst of Radiation Did Three Things, October 30. Plus recent editions of Colorado’s Center Critical Summary 3.0, and Mark Antonacci’s new book.

And I just ask: should we go straightforward to the aliens?

Don’t understand me wrong, I do not deny that those scenarios may be correct. I don’t deny that there indeed may be Dyson swarm around the star KIC 8462852 either. Simply: should we go first to extraordinary “Resurrection effect” explanations, or carefully examine all naturalistic theories first? Primacy of naturalistic explanations does not exclude the Resurrection event. Paul Vignon, for example, was a devout Catholic, but tried to explain the origin of the Shroud image in purely natural terms. He did not succeed, indeed, but this not lead him to accept so easily supernatural explanation, ignoring all more or less plausible natural scenarios. Had astronomers abandoned their attempts to explain atypical light curve of KIC 8462852 via purely natural means, instead jumped right to the aliens theory, everyone would consider them crazy eggheads. But in sindonology, going right on to the supernatural, without carefully considering everything else first, seems quite common, to my dismay.

But of course, the analogy is not fully corresponding. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, yes. But the Shroud is extraordinary on its own. It isn’t just some star, even with the most peculiar light curve. It isn’t just some cloth. It’s a cloth with a image of Man corresponding to what was described in the Gospels -which proclaimed Jesus (suffering the same way as the Man of the Shroud) the Savior and God Incarnate.

So maybe in case of the Shroud a different approach is justified?

Banding Proves Cloth Was Not Repaired?

A Guest Posting by Richard Savage

imageI’m debating the Shroud with the skeptics at International Skeptics Forum (Thread 299015).   If you haven’t noticed me on Dan’s blog before, I’ve been doing this for a long time (over 3 years).  We’re now on our 4th sub-thread, and ‘going strong’ (17,000 replies, and 788,000 visits altogether) – though, getting nowhere…

No one I’ve told about my hobby can understand my persistence — and really, neither can I — but, for some reason, I’m enjoying myself, and still have hopes.  Maybe it has something to do with trying to love my enemies…  I don’t know.

But then, my memory is easing down that slippery slope, and I could use a lot of help…

I’m trying to address one sub-sub-etc-issue at a time (there must be thousands of them) with the skeptics, and feel like I’m finally getting somewhere — very slowly.  I’ve done a lot of reading and studying about the shroud over the past 35 years, but my memory for specifics has never been that good (I can’t tell a joke), and as my memory of generalities gets worse, so does my memory for specifics, only worse.

But mostly, I haven’t done a good job of keeping track of citations.  There’s more to this story, but I’ll spare you the details and just say that I’m looking for some needles in a lot of haystacks — and need some help from people who have kept better track of the same, and more, needles.  This blog seems full of such people, and if I can just interest you guys in my plight, I’m sure that I can get a lot of help — and gain some real speed and substance when answering the skeptics.

Without further ado, here’s my first question.  My opponents claim that the banding proves that there has been no repair (or, something similar).  What’s our best argument(s) otherwise?

Guest Posting by Yannick Clément

Yannick Clément, independent Shroud researcher from Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Guest post concerning the supposed uniqueness
of the Shroud of Turin’s body image


Here’s a message I would like to address to all the people who, over the years, have written on this blog and elsewhere that the Shroud image is certainly not of natural origin since it is a unique case in history, while thousands of people were certainly buried inside this kind of burial cloth.

To me, this is a wrong argument.

First, we must understand that we don’t have a lot of intact ancient burial cloth from Antiquity. In that context, claiming that there hadn’t been any other body images of dead people formed on their burial cloth is unscientific.  These potential other images could simply have been lost due to the decaying of the bodies, which would have destroyed them.

Secondly, even if this would be proven that the Shroud image is the only one that has ever been formed on an ancient burial cloth, this would never been a rational argument to discard the hypothesis of a naturally formed image.  Effectively, this could simply mean that, in order to get this kind of body image on a burial linen cloth, one or, more probably, some very particular conditions (but natural nonetheless) must have been reunited TOGETHER.

These words “very particular conditions” and “together” are maybe what was at the heart of the image formation that happened on the Shroud of Turin and, among these very particular conditions, I think people (starting with Shroud researchers) should consider with great care the FACT (the blood evidence proves this) that we are dealing here with the burial cloth of a man who died from a series of HIGHLY TRAUMATIC TORTURES. This is already one very particular condition that we are aware of and we know that this had nothing to do with the Resurrection of Christ (but maybe with his death, as reported by the Gospels).

Considering this possibility (which is often ignored or not considered seriously in the context of the image formation), I ask these 2 questions:

  1. Who knows if this highly traumatic state of the Shroud man’s body (and not is supposed glorious body transformation) is not the primary cause of the image formation that happened on the cloth? 

  2. Who knows if this highly traumatic state of the Shroud man’s body (and not is supposed glorious body transformation) has not contributed heavily to make the Shroud of Turin, the only known burial cloth in history who got a complete body image on it?

Before ending this guest post, I have to add one more thing (which is important when we think the Shroud can be the real burial cloth of Christ):  Even if I am right here, it’s still possible to consider seriously the possibility that the disappearance of Jesus’ body from inside the cloth after less than 72 hours (i.e. the maximum range before the stage of decay stage starts) as another important conditions that might have played a huge role in the ending result (i.e. the formation of a faint but complete body image of the Shroud man on the cloth’s surface). Effectively, in the context of a naturally formed image, it’s truly possible that such a short period of contact between the body and the cloth was primordial to yield the kind of complete and distinct image that is on the Shroud, because it’s truly possible that if this period of contact would have keep on for some more hours (or even a day or two), the ending result would have been a big and undistinct yellow stain that would have covered all the cloth or, at least, a good portion of it. And if the period of contact would have keep on for many more days, the decaying of the body would have surely caused the destruction of the image or, at least, a good portion of it. 

Important note: If this short period of contact really played an important role in the natural formation of the body image, it is not, in itself, a proof that something supernatural that would be related to the Resurrection of Christ really happened.  Effectively, the door would still be left open for the idea of a manual extraction of the body out of the Shroud by some people before the start of active decay. On the other hand, the door would also be left open for the idea of a sudden, quiet and complete vanishing of the body out of this space-time universe. And if this ever happened, the Resurrection of Christ would have contributed only to stop the natural image formation that was going on (probably for hours at that time) before it was too late instead of having been the main supernatural cause of the image formation, as some people believe.

Note that this is what I personally believe, which proves that you can be someone who believes in the Resurrection of Jesus-Christ, while considering the image on the Shroud as having been formed by a totally (while still undetermined) natural mechanism that was most probably related to the Passion and death of Jesus, much more than his Resurrection…

I get to that point after a long reflection based on my own personal experience of God, the testimony of Jesus’ disciples (as it is reported in the Gospels) concerning his Resurrection and all the pertinent data coming from the Shroud. And if I’m correct, then yes we can say that the Resurrection had something to do with the image formation that happened on the Shroud, but not in the supernatural way it is often described these days (i.e. a supernatural burst of energy coming from the whole body at the time of the Resurrection that would have left the image we know on the cloth). The reader should note that I’m not the only one in that somewhat “unusual” category of people of believes in Christ’s Resurrection, while thinking the image has been formed naturally and was much more related to the Passion and death of Jesus than on his Resurrection. Effectively, we can find in that same category noted Shroud researchers like Pierre Barbet, Yves Delage, Paul Vignon, Antoine Legrand, Father Peter Rinaldi along with probably guys like John DeSalvo, Ray Rogers, Frederick Zugibe and Bruno Barberis (to name a few).

That’s what I wanted to say.  In sum, my feeling is that these two very unusual conditions (i.e. the highly traumatic state of the body and the very short stage of the body inside the cloth) were the ones that contributed the most heavily to the formation of the body image we still see on the Shroud of Turin today, along with possibly another important condition that would be the presence of a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s surface, which would not be as unusual for a burial cloth manufactured during Antiquity as the two other conditions I just described…  In the end, all these conditions could well be totally natural and have nothing to do with the Resurrection of Christ, while having been unusual enough has a whole to have been the only case in history where a dead man has left a complete and distinct image of his whole body on his burial cloth. And if the Resurrection ever had something to do with the image formation, this could have simply been to stop the natural image formation process at the “right time”, which, in itself, can be seen as the accomplishment of God’s Will.

In the end, I simply hope that nobody who will read this will ever be tempted to use the wrong argument of the uniqueness of the Shroud image to back-up a belief they can have that this image can be of supernatural origin. I hope this reflection will be enough for them to understand that such an argument can fit as well with the idea of a body image of totally natural origin! Last note (and this is important): the argument of the uniqueness of this image would never be used by those who proposed the scenario involving a false relic produced by a genius forger with some unknown artistic technique, simply because they know that this kind of uniqueness fits very badly with their idea!  Effectively, if this is how the image was produced on the cloth, the logical question would be: why there is not any other image of this kind in all the Christian art (or in any other art form)?  In all logic, we should have found other example of the use of this awesome technique in other artworks or Christian relics…

P.S. : I think I prefer to consider myself as a Shroud philosopher (someone who reflect a lot on the subject) more than anything else.

Yannick Clément on Colin Berry’s Latest Hypothesis

imageHe writes in an email:

If we take the question of the image formation without also taking into account the rest of the important data coming from the Shroud, I would say that even if Colin Berry could really produced an image on linen that would show ALL the chemical and physical properties of the Shroud image (I’m 99% certain that he can’t because, among other thing, there is absolutely no color penetration anywhere on the Shroud, which is something no medieval forger using the kind of chemical process he proposed could have rationally achieve), his result would never prove that this is how the Shroud image was formed.  This would only show that the kind of "artificial" process he proposed can produce an image on linen like the Shroud, which is very different than claiming this MUST be the way it was done.

And more importantly, the evidence coming from the bloodstains (which I have summarized in this paper:ément-The-evidence-of-the-bloodstains.pdf) would still be there to contradict the idea of a false relic that could have been "artificially" created by a forger.  As I showed in my paper, the blood evidence coming from the Shroud is enough to prove that this cloth is a real burial cloth that has enveloped only for a short period of time a real scourged and crucified man that has been executed with the known historical method that was used by the Roman Empire before the reign of the Emperor Constantine.  In such a context, the ONLY rational hypothesis that could involve a forgery is the one I summarized in the point #1 you can find in page 6, which goes like this: "It is a real burial shroud of someone other than Jesus of Nazareth who suffered the same tortures as he with a forged image done by someone without using any art technique. In this case, a forger “naturally” produced the image while using a real human corpse. Because of the great resemblance between what happen to Jesus in the Gospels, we must assume that this forger did it in order to produce a false relic of the Passion of the Christ. Also, because of the presence of many differences between any known artistic depictions of the Passion of the Christ prior to the first known public exhibition of the Shroud in the 14th century and the bloodstains and the body image that are on the Shroud (for example, the nailing in the wrist instead of in the palms, the wearing of a cap of thorns instead of a crown and the very distinct dumbbell shaped marks of scourging coming from a Roman flagrum), we must assume that if he tortured and crucified himself (with the help of some collaborators), this forger was well aware of the Roman procedures concerning scourging and crucifixion. In fact, it is even more rational to think that this forger used the body of a real crucified victim who was put to death by the Romans, before the crucifixion was banished by the emperor Constantine, in the last years of his reign that ended in 337. We also have to assume that this forger took the dead body out of the shroud before it started to corrupt in such a way that this extraction did not disturb the bloodstains, never broke the linen fibrils under them and did not disturb the body image. In sum, this scenario can be described like a “natural” forgery using a real tortured and crucified body. And whether or not the forger knew that he would obtain a body image on the cloth, along with the bloodstains, is not completely clear. In fact, the formation of an image like that could have well been just an accident."

If Berry (or anyone else) still wants to defend the idea of a forgery while remaining rational, I urge him to think seriously of what I just said and to try to find a way to produce a Shroud-like image with the use of biological products that could have been released inside the Shroud shortly after death by a highly-traumatized human corpse that had been scourged and crucified. In my mind, that would certainly be much more interesting than seeing him constantly trying to produce at all cost a Shroud-like image with the use of a man-made technique, while completely leaving aside (or at the very least, not considering seriously) the crucial evidence coming from the bloodstains…

Rebuttal of a long-standing sindonological myth

A Guest Posting by O.K. (Read Full PDF)

Why Jesus carried the whole cross and not only the patibulum.
Rebuttal of a long-standing sindonological myth.

The long standing myth of sindonology is that Jesus carried only the horizontal arm of the cross –the patibulum. This view (which is illustrated on the picture below) is based on several premises; namely the permanent presence of vertical beam, the stipes in Roman places of public executions, and the conviction that the whole cross would have been “too heavy” to carry by the single person. Neither of those premises are correct, in fact –and if we confront them with empirical evidence from relics (the Shroud of Turin, the Tunic of Argenteuil, the Good Thief patibulum) and archeological evidence, it is clear to us that Jesus most likely carried the whole cross.

Read on



Why the images and bloodstains were not painted on

The important work of Donald Lynn and Jean Lorre revisited

imageIn a series of 39 charts, Fourier properties of the Shroud compared to drawings and paintings, O.K. explains why the shroud images are not painted and why bloodstains were not painted on either.

Think of the charts as a guest posting in PDF format. I couldn’t fit it into a simple blog posting and do justice to it, so click on the above link.

O.K. begins with this introduction:

One of the very important, yet rarely mentioned characteristics of the Shroud image is its lack of directionality, that is (to avoid confusion with light directionality, which is also absent) an isotropic FFT spectrum. In layman terms this mean that under high scope, there are no preferred directions in which image intensity modulates. For example , when painter paints a painting he moves his brush in regular way in some (consciously or subconsciously) preferred directions, thus modulating the intensity of the painted area. It can be detected via Fourier transform, or similar (for example wavelet) analysis. It is frequently used in painting analysis –for detection of forgeries for example (each painter has his or her characteristic frequency „signature”, just like handwriting style). Or in other words, according to Wikipedia:

The non -paint origin has been further examined by Fourier transform of the image: common paintings show a directionality that is absent from the Turin Shroud (citing J. J. Lorre – D. J. Lynn, "Digital enhancement of images of the Shroud of Turin", in: Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of research on the Shroud of Turin, Albuquerque 1977, Holy Shroud Guild, New York 1977)

Then he shows us!

Then he concludes:

I could write in conclusion the very same what I have written in introduction: as both blood and body images on the Shroud show isotropic FFT spectrum, it practically excludes that they were painted. We can say that the Shroud is indeed in literal sense acheiropoietos –not made (directly) by human hands (Marion and Courage agree with me). It is practically impossible for humans to make images without some preferred directions –they are always established, no matter what human would do, simply our trained behaviour is much more regular, than random –we are unable to make fully random moves, that would erase Fourier traces of our hands moving. And of course such demand was far beyond thinking horizon of medieval forger.

This of course eliminates the so-often-raised-by-the-sceptics scenario that blood (or pseudo-blood) was later manually added by some clever forgers –or any potential touch ups. All McCrones or Freemans who think the body image, or bloodstains were manually applied to the surface of the cloth would have very easy task –just show us Fourier „signature” of the forger. So why haven’t they done this so far, if they are so convinced that their case is right?

Hello Mr. Zias

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément
An Exchange of Emails with Joe Zias (Wikipedia Entry)

Hello everyone!

imageHere, I would simply like to share some precious and very pertinent informations I got from a real expert in ancient Jewish burial rituals who’s name is Joe Zias. Mr. Zias [Pictured]  is a well-known and well-respected Jewish archaeologist who also was the former curator of Archaeology and Anthropology for the prestigious Israel Antiquities Authority. I reached him recently via email to discuss with him about some topics related to the Shroud of Turin.

The first subject I wanted to talk with him concerns two hypotheses that have been proposed over the years concerning the possible use of flowers and/or plants during the burial of the Shroud man. These hypotheses propose that these botanical species would have been laid on the Shroud man’s body before the end of the burial procedure.

The first hypothesis is well known in the Shroud world and propose that some images of flowers are visible on the Shroud and that these flowers would have been present inside the cloth at the moment of the body image formation and, for an unknown reason (most probably related to the image formation process itself), would have been also reprinted on the cloth’s surface along with the body of the Shroud man.

The second hypothesis is less known, but have been proposed recently by the archaeologist Paul Maloney in a paper that was published on this blog. It is related to various microscopic debris of plants and flowers that he found in good quantity in some of Max Frei’s pollen samples. Mr. Maloney proposes the idea that these debris would have been left on the Shroud after the deposit of these botanical species on the body of the Shroud man before he was completely enveloped in the Shroud.

I always been very suspicious about the first hypothesis concerning the images of flowers on the Shroud (for the main reason that I don’t see how a natural image formation process could, at the same time, produce a body image AND some images of flowers on a linen cloth) and, after some reflection, I felt the same concerning Mr. Maloney’s own hypothesis.

But in order to better judge the potential validity of these two hypotheses, I decided to contact Mr. Zias (with who I have exchange some emails in the past) and ask him a pertinent question on the subject.

Here’s the email I sent him: “Hello Mr. Zias!

Recently, I read a hypothesis about the Shroud of Turin that I consider truly irrational and I just want you to confirm to me that my reasonning about that is correct.
Mr. Paul Maloney, a Professional archaeologist who study the Shroud since the 1980s and who is in possession of the Max Frei’ collection of sticky tape samples he collected from the Shroud in 1978, propose the idea that the fact that there are a high concentration of microscopic debris of plants and flowers in some samples, this means that they must have come from some deposits of plants and flowers directly on the Shroud at some time during its history.  So far, I have no reason to doubt such a reflection.  But the thing is that Mr. Maloney propose that such a direct deposit of plants and flowers on the Shroud could have happened during the burial ritual of the Shroud man…

That’s where I disagree, because I really think that the deposit of plants and/or flowers WAS NOT part of the common ancient Jewish burial ritual of the Second temple period.
Question for you:  Am I right about that fact?  I’m sure you know the answer!  Thanks in advance for taking 2 minutes to confirm me that I’m right about the fact that there was no deposit of plants and/or flowers on the corpse and/or Inside the burial shroud during the common Jewish burial ritual that was perform in Antiquity.  I know that this is still the case in modern orthodox Jewish burials, but I want to be certain that this was already the case in Antiquity…”

And here’s his short reply: “Shalom, you are absolutely correct on that point. Joe Zias”

Interesting don’t you think? As I said at the beginning of my post, the only goal I seek here is to share these precious information with all of you, because I know that they are very pertinent and come from someone who have no bias on the subject. After reading the confirmation of Mr. Zias that plants and/or flowers were not part of ancient Jewish burials, it’s now up to you to make up your mind about the 2 hypotheses related to the presence of plants and/or flowers inside the Shroud with the body. Personally, I’m now more convinced than ever that there was absolutely no botanical species present inside the Shroud and that all that was there was the bloody and unwashed corpse of the Shroud man and nothing else… If I’m right, this would be in total sync with a real partial burial done in haste, which would correspond exactly with the Gospel accounts! In sum, I can say that what seems to be flower images to some people is most probably a good example of the pareidolia phenomenon that has been described by Barrie Schwortz and Paolo Di Lazzaro in this paper.

And when it comes to Mr. Maloney’s hypothesis, I think the alternative hypothesis he mentioned in his paper, which have been proposed by a palinologist named A. Orville Dahl, is much more rational and viable! This scientist proposed the idea that these debris of flowers and plants came from an event that has not been documented and that could be related to a liturgical ceremony in which the Shroud could have been used as the Sacred cloth on the altar of a church. It is during that kind of ceremony that flowers and plants would have been laid on it and would have left some microscopic debris. Personally, I think it’s truly possible that such a religious event could have happened while the cloth was kept in Constantinople and it is even possible to assume that this could have been the inspiration for the “epitaphios” cloths used during Easter time by the Orthodox Church, which started to appear in the Byzantine capital around 1200 A.D. I also think that it’s also possible to link such a liturgical event with the L-shaped burn holes on the cloth, which could well have been produced during that kind of liturgical ceremony in which the Shroud could have been used as an altar cloth folded in 4 equal pieces. Effectively, the nature and the appearance of the burn holes makes it possible that they were produced by some small drops of a corrosive liquid (note: Al Alder thought this was the most probable scenario to explain these burn holes), maybe coming from the use of incense, or produced by some small drops of very hot wax coming from a candle.

Here, I must say to those who would still be tempted to believe in the presence of images of flowers on the Shroud or to believe in Mr. Maloney’s hypothesis that, if these proposal would be true, then we would have a good reason to seriously doubt the authenticity of the Shroud as the real burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, because we know FOR A FACT that, historically, flowers and/or plants were NOT part of a common Jewish burial during the First century A.D.! And think about it : If the use of flowers and/or plants was not part of the normal Jewish burial ritual during the time of Christ, how in the world this would have been the case for his own burial, which was obviously done very partially and in haste?

Personally, I even doubts that some burial substances like aloes and myrrh (which traces has never been found by Adler or Rogers’ chemical investigations) could have been present inside the Shroud with the body, except maybe in solid form (maybe in powder). If that’s the case, it’s possible that this powder would have been placed inside some cloths (used as « bags ») and then disposed all around the Shroud man’s corpse inside the Shroud, which is an interesting hypothesis that was first proposed by doctor Pierre Barbet in his book about the Shroud and which, according to Barbet, would have been done basically for two reasons: 1- To retard a bit the decomposition process of the corpse. And 2- To remove bad smelling inside the tomb. And of course, this would have been done because those who did the incomplete burial of the Shroud man (this is a FACT) would have been well aware that they had to come back to the tomb later on to finish the job properly with a real anointment of the body. That was most certainly the main reason why the women needed to open Jesus tomb on Easter morning and the reason why they get there in a hurry very early was obviously to avoid facing a decomposed body and the very bad smelling that goes with it. But beside this possible presence of aloes and myrrh in powder inside the Shroud at the time of the image formation (which is a hypothesis that will probably never proven), I seriously doubt that there was any other thing, except for the dead and unwashed body of the Shroud man, still covered with blood and serum stains…

Now, after having exchanged some emails with Mr. Zias concerning the idea of flowers and/or plants that could have been used during the burial of the Shroud man, I decided to go further by asking him some questions in link with another well-known hypothesis concerning the possible presence of coins (often mentioned as being authentic « Pilatus coins » from Jesus era) over the eyes of the Shroud man.

Again, here’s parts of our exchange:

First, I send him this email: “Hello Mr. Zias!

Again, I need your knowledge on ancient Jewish burial practice! Along with the so-called images of flowers that some pro-Shroud guys said having seen on the cloth, they also claim that there would be images of coins over both eyes of the Shroud man and many of them goes further by pretending that these coins are Roman coins!

The only thing I would like to know is this : Does it was a common Jewish practice to put coins over the eyes of their deads during the burial ritual?“

And here’s the message he sent me: “It was never a Jewish custom and those coins that were found in the skull in Jericho were probably placed within the mouth, non Jewish Roman practice but in order to cover all bets we find it on rare occasion. Secondly, coins of Pontious Pilatis, sound like Monty Python. Joe Zias.”

Then, I send him the email: “In the case of the few coins that were found in ancient Jewish tombs, don’t you think, like me, that this is probably a pagan ritual done by some Hellenized Jews of that time?”
And here’s what he said to me: “Def. a roman pagan practice in which on occasion, Jews, in order to cover ‘all their bets’ placed coins in the mouth of the deceased.”

Then, I sent him this message: “Since we know that some Jews (many being from the upper class) were hellenized at the time of Christ, it’s not very surprising that archaeologists could find coins in Jewish tombs from time to time but, as you said well, this was surely not a common practice among Jews of that time…  I think it’s fair to say that, when it comes to ancient Jewish burial ritual, the use of coins is the exception that confirms the rule, right?”

And here is reply: “Absolutely correct, in most cases when coins were found colleagues believed they simply fell out of the pockets of those visiting or preparing the tomb. only exceptions were Jericho and the Caiaphas tomb where they were found in situ, the latter is a clear case of hypocracy as this was the tomb of the family of the high priest.”

Then, I asked him one more question: “1- Beside coins, was it a common Jewish burial practice in the time of Christ to cover the eyes of their dead with other things like buttons, pieces of ceramic, pieces of potery, etc. ?”

And here’s his answer: “During the period in question, Jews never used anything to cover the eyes of the deceased as the head was wrapped in a shroud.”

Again, as I said at the beginning of my post, the only goal I seek here is to share these precious information with all of you. And after reading what Mr. Zias had to say about that, it’s now up to you to make up your mind about the idea of a possible presence of coins or some other thing over the eyes of the Shroud man. Personally, I’m now more convinced than ever that there was absolutely nothing present over his eyes at the end of the partial burial procedure… And if the eyes seems to pop-up on the 3D photos, this could simply be due to one of these two natural reasons : 1- For some unknown reason, there would have been a release of a greater quantity of « energy » (which could well be post-mortem gases) in the region of the eyes versus the surrounding area, which would have caused a very high concentration of yellowed fibers there. Or 2- The eyes of the Shroud man were simply very swollen, maybe due to the intense beating he received (which is an hypothesis that have been retained by Mel Gibson when he shoot his movie The Passion of the Christ). This pathological state would have caused a direct contact between the eyes and the cloth, thus causing a very high concentration of yellowed fibers there.

In conclusion, to illustrate better my thoughts on these controversial subjects, I propose you a fictive interview I would make with a reporter:

First question : Do you think there are images of flowers on the Shroud?

My answer : Since the data coming from the Shroud convinces me of the authenticity of the cloth, I’m also convinced that there is no such thing on the cloth, because we know for a fact that, historically, flowers or plants were not part of the common Jewish burial ritual in the days of Christ. And since the burial of the Shroud man was done very partially and in haste, I don’t see why the people who did it would have lose time picking flowers outside the tomb! In sum, I would say that it’s not because some people are seeing some images of flowers that these things are really there on the cloth…

Second question : Do you think there are images of coins on the Shroud over the eyes of the Shroud man?

My answer : Same thing! Since the data coming from the Shroud convinces me of the authenticity of the cloth, I’m also convinced that there is no such thing on the cloth, because we know for a fact that, historically, the use of coins in ancient Jewish burial was truly exceptional and happened only in the case of Jews that were very hellenized, which was obviously not the case for Christ and his followers who were all pious Jews. So much in fact that, even after the Resurrection, they were still going in the Temple of Jerusalem and in synagogues to preach! We also know that, in pagan burial rituals, only one coin was normally used and placed inside the mouth of the dead person and not over his eyes. And we also know that because the dead Jews were all placed inside burial shrouds, there was no need for the use of some other material (like a piece of ceramic or something like this) to cover the eyes of the dead in the case they would open after death. In sum, since the burial cloth was already covering the entire body of the person, there was no need to put something else over the eyes to cover them! Again, it’s not because some people are seeing some images of coins on the Shroud that this is really what’s there…

I hope this post of mine will help some people to make up their minds better regarding these topics! That’s all for the moment… Stay tuned for more! J

imageYannick Clément, independent Shroud researcher, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

P.S.: I really think that those who have proposed these obviously wrong hypotheses should have done the same kind of “homework” I did before proposing them publicly! By getting in touch with a real expert in ancient Jewish burials, they would probably have come, just like me, to the evident conclusion that if the Shroud is authentic, there was most certainly no plants, no flowers, no coins and no other things like that present over the body or the eyes of the Shroud man when he was enveloped in that cloth… Interesting note on this subject: This is exactly what Ray Rogers did when he analyzed the nature of the image chromophore, which proves once again his high level of professionalism! Effectively, during his research on the subject, Rogers got in touch with Anna Maria Donadoni, who was a Conservator at the Turin’s Museum of Egyptology, in order to learn about the most common ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths and if such a technique could really produced a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s surface, which would include traces of starch like the one detected by McCrone and by himself later on. It’s only AFTER having made this important check-up that he was confident enough to publicly propose an important change in STURP conclusion about the image chromophore, which is, as he said, probably not located inside the structure of the fiber itself but only in this kind of carbohydrate coating which is probably resting over a good portion of the topmost fibers on the cloth’s surface. That’s how good science is done! Obviously, in the cases of the 3 hypotheses I discussed in this post, we cannot talk about “good” science, but much more about “good” imagination!

A Defense of Ray Rogers on the Image at the Thread and Fiber Level

“ . . . Direct comparison between image and non-image parts of the Shroud
show exactly the same amounts and types of radiation damage in the two
types of areas. This suggests that the image was not produced by any
mechanism that involved heat, light, or ionizing radiation.”  — Raymond Rogers

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément*

imageHello everybody!

I read the recent quote from Maria da Glóra Moreira on this blog, who said this concerning the Bari conference : “In our humble opinion there were actually few advances in Shroud investigation and one thing is for sure- EVEN IN LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS NAMELY WITH LASER TECHNOLOGY, CORONA DISCHARGE ETC. THE IMAGES OBTAINED ARE FAR FROM THE ORIGINAL.”

Comment: How can someone honest who have read carefully the conclusions of a chemist expert like Ray Rogers about the Shroud image can expect something else than this from these hypotheses that rely on a burst of intense energy, especially when it comes to compare their coloration results microscopically at fiber level?

In his writings about the Shroud, Rogers made it clear that all these processes will ALWAYS produce evident damages on the fibers’ surface, which are not looking at all like the surface of image fibers he analyzed (note: such a difference could probably be hard to detect for the eyes of someone who is not an expert in analytic chemistry like Rogers was). In sum, Rogers was clear about the fact that the image fibers from the Shroud do not presents the oxidative kind of damages these energetic processes ALWAYS caused. No matter if it’s located only in the primary cell wall of the fiber or not, these processes will ALWAYS cause damages that got a “signature look” that doesn’t look at all like the appearance of the colored fibers Rogers saw on the Shroud (and especially their surfaces), which got a signature look that strongly points in direction of a mild dehydration process happening at low temperature.

Here’s an important quote from Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review” about that: “At high optical magnifications, up to 1000X, no coatings could be resolved on the surfaces of the image fibers; however, the surfaces appeared to be “corroded.” That observation suggests that a very thin coating of carbohydrate had been significantly dehydrated on the outer surfaces of the fibers.”

Here, it’s important to understand why Rogers put the word “corroded” between quotation marks… It’s because this term was used by Adler in a paper he wrote about the body image, which was not the best term that could have been used (remember that Adler, unlike Rogers, was not an expert in these types of surface damages). If we believe Rogers, the right term should have been “surface cracking”. Here’s another quote from Rogers’ book in which he explain this: “Surface cracking (“corrosion” as Adler called it) of the color can be seen, and flakes can be seen in the “ghosts” on the sampling tapes.” And here’s another quote taken from Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review”, which explain why this kind of surface cracking point in direction of a dehydration process involving only a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities instead of an oxidation process of the fibers’ surfaces: “Dehydration causes shrinkage; therefore, any coating of carbohydrate impurities would “craze” during dehydration.”

And here’s another important quote coming from the 2010 paper “The Shroud of Turin from the viewpoint of the physical science” that was written by Emmanuel Carreira and which describe the kind of “damages” Rogers saw on the surface of the image fibers: “…the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was no more defective than non-image fibers.” And here’s a complementary comment by Rogers that come from another paper he wrote that is entitled “The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging and Image Formation”: “All parts of the Shroud are the same age, and all parts have been stored in the same location through the centuries. Therefore, all parts should have been exposed to the same kinds and amounts of (natural) radiation. Any additional radiation effects found in image areas would indicate excess radiation in that location. Direct comparison between image and non-image parts of the Shroud show exactly the same amounts and types of radiation damage in the two types of areas. This suggests that the image was not produced by any mechanism that involved heat, light, or ionizing radiation.”

So, what people needs to understand (and it’s very important when it comes to analyze any image formation hypothesis that is proposed to explain the Shroud image) is that, from the perspective of a real chemist expert like Rogers, the kind of damages all these high energy processes will ALWAYS causes on a fiber’ surface will NEVER look like the kind of surface cracking he saw on the image fibers he lifted himself from the Shroud’s surface in 1978. IN ROGERS’ MIND, THAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT AGAINST ALL THE IMAGE FORMATION HYPOTHESES INVOLVING A HIGH AMOUNT OF ENERGY AND/OR HEAT, LIKE CORONA DISCHARGE, BURST OF UV LIGHT, BURST OF PROTONS OR NEUTRONS AND EVEN A SCORCH. As he clearly said, the only radiation damages he could notice on image fibers was damages that were easily noticeable and which had been caused with time by natural radiations. And as he pointed out, these particular damages are exactly the same as what he saw on the surfaces of non-image fibers, which is a very important observation that many people tend to deny or forget in the pro-Shroud world, especially those in favor of an image formation process in direct link with the Resurrection of Christ…

In sum, for Rogers, all these energetic mechanisms should be discarded because the kind of damages they ALWAYS produced on the surface of a fiber is not the same as what he observed on image fibers taken from the Shroud, BUT ALSO because all these mechanisms are not able to produced a yellowing that would be restricted only to a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities, while leaving the underlying fiber completely free of any coloration and damages, as he was convinced in the case of the image fibers of the Shroud.

So, when we take into account ALL the pertinent data coming from the Shroud (including the very important fact that, as Rogers said, the crystal structure of the flax image fibers is no more defective than non-image fibers, the fact that the diimide reduction of color and the ghosts are leaving a colorless, clean and undamaged fiber behind, the banding effect that show a close correlation between darker threads and an image a bit darker and lighter threads and an image a bit lighter, the fact that starch and pectin deposits have been found on Shroud samples by Rogers and Adler, along with the fact that almost all the image color resides on the topmost fibers at the highest part of the weave, which correspond exactly to the results obtained by Rogers during his evaporation-concentration tests), I really think we should consider the scenario of a still undetermined low-temperature dehydration event that would have caused the yellowing of only a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on a portion of the topmost fibers of the cloth (and which was most probably related to the biological state of the Shroud man’s corpse during the short time he stayed inside the cloth) as the most probable scenario to explain the Shroud image.

To conclude about Maria’s comment, I would say that unless someone can do coloration tests with linen samples made with the ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths (i.e. causing a concentration of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s top-surface) that would be submitted to various kinds of biological substances (i.e. various post-mortem gases, lactic acid , urea, etc.) maybe in association with heat and/or water vapor (which could have been released by the fresh corpse of the Shroud man) and also, why not, to various kinds of ancient known burial products (again, maybe in association with and/or water vapor), I’m afraid there will never be any coloration result that will ever come close to what we see on the Shroud, chemically and even physically speaking. And seriously, I think this has already been done concerning a possible release of post-mortem gases by the Shroud man’s corpse (at least in a preliminary way)!

Effectively, in his book about the Shroud, Rogers reports a coloration experiment he made with a linen sample made the old fashion way that he submitted to ammonia vapors for 10 minutes at room temperature and which he baked afterward to simulate ageing. Here’s what he wrote about the results he obtained: "Experimental manipulations of concentrations and one-dimensional migration of solutions, as in a large cloth, could produce the same front-to-back color separation and color density as observed on the Shroud. The fibers on the top-most surface are the most colored when observed under a microscope, and the color is a golden yellow similar to that on the Shroud (figure XI-5). The coating of Maillard products is too thin to be resolved with a light microscope, and it is all on the outside of the fibers. There is no coloration in the medullas: The color formed without scorching the cellulose (note from Yannick : when Rogers use the word "cellulose" in his writings, we must understand « the whole linen fiber » and in this particular case, Rogers is meaning that the color he obtained did not affected the structure of the fiber in any noticeable way). There is very little color on fibers from the middle of the back surface (figure XI-6). The color-producing saccharides had concentrated on the evaporating surface. Water-stained image areas on the Shroud showed that image color does not dissolve or migrate in water. Maillard products are not water soluble, and they do not move when wetted. As a peripheral, non-scientific comment, several Shroud researchers have wondered why there is no mention of an image on the "cloths" reportedly found in Jesus’ tomb. Assuming historical validity in the accounts, such a situation could be explained by the delay in the development of the Maillard reactions’ colors at moderate temperatures. No miracle would be required."

Personally, I believe this is the closest coloration result on linen that any researcher ever was able to produce at thread and fiber level. Of course, we’re not talking here of any kind of close reproduction of a body image on linen like the one on the Shroud (in fact, that was not at all Rogers’ goal when he made this experiment), but “only” of a close reproduction of the main characteristics of the image color at thread and fiber level, particularly when it comes to the extreme superficiality of the color and it’s concentration on the topmost fibers of the cloth at the highest part of the weave (which was pretty much what Rogers expected to obtain from his theoretical reasoning concerning what could happen when post-mortem gases come in contact with carbohydrate impurities). But in the end, what’s very telling is how quiet the reactions have been in the pro-Shroud world concerning this particular coloration result obtained by Rogers! And when I see all the publicity that was made around Di Lazzaro’s results with UV lasers (which were definitely DIFFERENT than what Rogers saw on his Shroud samples, no doubt about that) in comparison to this very interesting result obtained by Rogers (which is quite similar to what he observed on his Shroud samples and which would deserve to be done again by another researcher in order to confirm Rogers’ observations), that makes me wonder what’s going on in this pro-Shroud world…

Yannick Clément, independent Shroud researcher, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Continue reading “A Defense of Ray Rogers on the Image at the Thread and Fiber Level”

An Experiment with Overlay

O.K. is going to discuss the following images through comments. Join him. I’ll be interested to see where this goes. (Click on any picture to see it in larger form. 



Fresco + Vignon Marks

Fresco Vignon Marks

Fresco Marked Up




Durante Marked Up


Durante Overlay with Fresco


Manoppello, Shroud and Durer: A Short Presentation by O.K.

imageO.K. begins:

Background: Roberto Falcinelli’s in the paper The Veil of Manoppello: Work of Art or Authentic Relic?(from the 3rd International Dallas Conference on the Shroud of Turin in 2005) claims (by citing some ambiguous references about Dürer’s biography from the book of Giorgio Vasari, 16th century painter and architect ) that Manoppello Image may be Dürer’s self-portrait (or portrait of Raphael), instead of image of Christ.

In the thread Matching Faces. Is it possible? on Shroudstory, David Goulet commented:

OK, it would be a interesting experiment to use Dave Hines imaging overlay with the Manoppello image and the Albrecht Durer painting.

So let’s do it.

Now we must go to a PDF file. It is the best way to see it. CLICK HERE or on the picture shown here from the PDF file.

Discussion about the Pray Codex and its relation to the Shroud is over?

A Guest Posting by O.K.

Pray Codex –a probabilistic approach.

Click on image to enlarge to 895×1297 and see legend for features listed below

PrayCodexElementsThe discussion about the Pray Codex and it’s relation to the Shroud seems to be over.

The question of whether or not the Pray Codex had been inspired by the Shroud of Turin has been hotly debated.

Here I would like to present a probabilistic approach to that matter. I would like to estimate probability of several key elements linking the Codex with the Shroud, to occur ALL AT ONCE by pure chance, instead of being copied from the Shroud.

I take into account only a few INDEPENDENT, NON-TRIVIAL and UNDISPUTED details sharing some alleged similarity with the Shroud.

It should be noted that on the key page of the Codex, there are in fact TWO illustrations not just one. Further we will be calling upper illustration as Illustration I, an bottom illustration as Illustration II. This complicates the matter a little bit, but can be overcome.

There are several key details on both illustrations. Let’s estimate the probability of their occurrence on Entombment/Three Marys scene by random

Illustration I:

· A –the Jesus is naked, with His hands crossed above pelvis (similar on the Shroud) –let’s assume that such portrayal occurs in 1/100 instances.

· B –He has just 4 fingers on each hand, no thumbs visible (the same as Shroud) -1/100 instances

· C –He has His legs cropped by the end of page, without any obvious reason (the same as frontal image on the Shroud) -1/100 instances.

Illustration II:

· D –there is a pyramidal/zigzag pattern on alleged shroud/tomb lid –possible reference to the Shroud and it’s herringbone weave, or merely decorative pattern? Anyway, let’s suppose that we can find such pattern in 1/100 instances.

· E –two red smudges on the surface of shroud/tomb lid (just below angel’s feet). Unless this is reference to the blood belt on the Shroud, there is no obvious reason for them. Anyway, let’s suppose that we can find such pattern in 1/100 instances.

· F –the four L shaped ‘poker holes’, similar to those that can be found on the Shroud –reference to it, or just another (very strange) decorative pattern (or to the holes in the Holy Sepulcher, or anything)? No matter. Let’s estimate chance for their random occurrence as 1/100, but, as someone on the forum once pointedthat the chance for four dots to have proper L shape (instead of single line, 2×2 box, ‘T’, or 2×2 with one row translated by 1 element –recall yourself Tetris) in any orientation are 1/5, so 1/500.

So, the probability for elements A-B-C, to occur on any single illustration can be estimated as 1/(100*100*100), that is 1/1000 000=10^-6

Fine. Let’s estimate the expected number of all Entombment illustrations that could have all the elements A-B-C just by chance. Let’s assume that there were 10 millions of Entombment illustrations in the medieval. Thus expected value, is:

10 000 000/1000 000 =10.

Fine, so far, basing on our assumptions, we can expect an upper limit of 10 Entombment portrayals having elements A-B-C.

Suppose we have one such manuscript, with A-B-C elements occurring just by random (Illustration I). Now let’s estimate the probability that in the Three Mary’s Scene, right below the Entombment Scene (this is is the case of Codex Pray, Illustration II), by pure chance (we assume that both illustrations are in fact, independent on each other, and not related directly to the Shroud), there will be elements D-E-F:

The chance is:

1(100*100*500)=1/5000 000 =0.2*10^-7

Similar reasoning could be performed in the other direction (Three Mary’s Scene -> Entombment). The conclusion would be the same:

The chances that all those features A-F are randomly, and simultaneously portrayed in the Pray Codex, without direct reference to the Shroud, are negligible.

So far I can remember, no sceptic has been able to give example of illustration having two out of six key elements A-F.

The discussion about the Pray Codex and it’s relation to the Shroud seems to be over.


ImageJ Used to Compare the Shroud of Turin and the Manoppello Image

imageAs a guest posting, O.K. has put together an intriguing image-ladened paper, Shroud of Turin & Manoppello Image Comparison & 3D analysis: Or the magic of ImageJ.  

Jumping to near the end:

Suppose for a moment that both the Shroud and the Manoppello are authentic relics of Jesus. Being so different, they provide complementary information.  The monochromatic Shroud with it’s 3D properties provides a model Jesus outlook. It is essentially like an old sculpture. It provides information about shape of the object, but no other information like skin, eyes, hair colour.

But what [that] model needs is texture. And Manoppello, if genuine may provide it!

It is wonderfully fun to see how powerful ImageJ can be.


Wilson & Shroudies vs Academia: Another Guest Posting by O.K.

Shroud/Mandylion in 958 letter of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus
Wilson & ‘Shroudies’ vs ‘Academia’ scholars.

PDF Version

imageThe identification of the Mandylion, brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944, with the Shroud of Turin, is matter of a heated debate. While widely accepted among the Shroud historians, beginning with 1978 book of Ian Wilson at least, nevertheless it is usually ignored or often contested (if not rejected outright) by many Byzantinists and art/Church historians, on various basis (usually on a statement that it has been not accepted by “serious” authorities in that branch of science–Wilson is not considered one of them).

One of the arguments against, is the widely held view that Mandylion is distinct object from all the relics of the Christ’s Passion, stored in the famous Pharos Chapel in Boukoleon Palace in Constantinople. This was raised by Yannick Clément on the recent discussion about Mandylion and Wilson’s ideas on this blog.1 Here I want to show on example of Emperor Constantine VII letter, that the matter is not so simple, as most members of the infamous narrow-minded ‘Academia’ think.

What is this letter? I think the best way is to quote here a fragment of Daniel Scavone’s paper on sources about presence of the Mandylion/Shroud in Constantinople:2


A letter of the same Constantine VII to encourage his troops campaigning around Tarsus in 958 is the first explicit introduction of the burial shroud icon of Jesus in this context. The letter announced that the Emperor was sending a supply of holy water consecrated by contact with the relics of Christ’s Passion which were then in the capital. No mention is made of the recently acquired Mandylion: as a relic of Jesus’ ministry it would have been out of place among the relics of the Passion. Reference is made, however, to the precious wood [of the cross], the unstained lance, the precious inscription [probably the titulus attached to the cross], the reed which caused miracles, the life‑giving blood from his side, the venerable

tunic, the sacred linens (σπάργαvα), the sindon which God wore, and other symbols of the immaculate Passion. 20

The term used here for “sacred linens,” spargana, usually means infant’s “swaddling cloths,” but here must mean burial linens, as it does in several other texts. The precise identity of this sindon has been enigmatic, since no mention exists of the arrival in the capital of Jesus’ burial sheet, but it acquires some clarity with Zaninotto’s recovery of Doc. III. Just as in the Gregory Sermon, the words of this text may suggest that the Byzantines could see “blood” from the side of the figure depicted on a cloth.

Document III is strong evidence that the Edessa icon was indeed a larger object, harmonious with the words sindon and tetradiplon of the Acts of Thaddeus, and was seen to be stained red in the correct places. It must thus have been unfolded in Constantinople sometime after its arrival in 944. A possible unfolding is evidenced by the imperial letter of 958 (Doc. IV), where suddenly, without fanfare, Jesus’ sindon is first announced. At the time of its arrival in 944, the status of the Edessa icon must, it seems, be understood as follows: Still enframed or encased as described earlier and as seen by artists, and still generally considered to be the towel of the Abgar narratives, and in the treasury of the Byzantine emperors it was inaccessible to the public (as it had been in Edessa). Its size (larger and folded in eight layers) and nature were not fully known and not often pondered. Certainly its possible identity as Jesus’ bloody burial wrapping was not immediately recognized or, if it was, then by only a few intimates and not generally broadcast. The Byzantines were too much under the spell of the Abgar cycle to have considered the implications of the side-wound. The evidence for this last point is the absence of any hint of a shroud in Gregory’s sermon (Doc. III), though his words hint strongly that he was looking at the entire body on the Edessan cloth. With the Mandylion folded in eight so as to expose only a facial panel, the chest‑with‑side wound section might have been available to the view of Gregory, upside-down on the opposite side, without requiring a complete unfolding with consequent recognition. 21 Footnotes:

20 See A. M. Dubarle, Histoire Ancienne du linceul de Turin jusqu’ au XIII siècle (Paris: O.E.I.L. 1985) 55f. See too Carlo Maria Mazzucchi "La testimonianza piú antica dell’ esistenza di una Sindone a Costantinopoli," Aevum, 57 (1983) 227‑231, which provides the original Greek of the salient portions of the letter of 958. Though the burial cloths emerge quietly and without fanfare or ceremony in the capital from 958 with no mention of an image, the large or main shroud is described with image in the texts of Mesarites and Clari (Documents XI and XII). 21 See above, n. 10. The manner of displaying the Edessa cloth, in a frame wider than it is tall may have been the result of folding the actual burial wrapping in half three times and sealing it in a frame to remove from view the blood and nakedness of the body. In this form it came to Constantinople where only gradually did the Byzantines become aware that a far greater relic was present, one which derived from the actual (Biblical) burial of Jesus, and not from the Abgar story, a mere apochryphal and anachronistic aetiological legend. Indeed, the fact that the arrival in the capital of the burial wrappings, so prominant in the relic collection, was not heralded by the usual great processions and viewings, seems to support a rather unorthodox discovery.

In opinion of Scavone, the cloth mentioned in the document τής θεοφόρου σινδόνος (t s theofórou sindónos) is nothing else than the burial shroud, moreover it is the Shroud of Turin, in contrast to the other burial cloths, (σπαργάνων, sparganon) stored in Constantinople. Scavone claims that No mention is made of the recently acquired Mandylion: as a relic of

Jesus’ ministry it would have been out of place among the relics of the Passion, and further discusses Wilson’s ideas how Mandylion after the transfer to Constantinople in 944 became the Shroud. We wiil not be discussing this, instead mentioning only that Scavone didn’t say us the most interesting thing, we will go to the opinion of another scholar.

Her name is Marta Tycner-Wolicka. In 2009, while she was making her Ph.D. in the Institute of History at University of Warsaw, she wrote a book titled ‘Opowieść o wizerunku z Edessy’:


It is a literary exegesis of The Narratio De Imagine Edessena, written by (or on behalf) of the Emperor Constantine VII, after arrival of the Mandylion in Constantinople in 944 (it was included as Appendix C in Wilson’s 1978 The Shroud of Turin). While Tycner-Wolicka’s academic dissertation is not actually about the Shroud, it is indirectly related to that issue, and in fact useful in many ways. While Tycner-Wolicka may be called part of the ‘Academia’, she obviously has to express negative views towards Wilson in her book, even though she does not dismiss them outright, and claims that she is not interested what the Image of Edessa actually was. Nevertheless, let’s quote her views about Wilson (she mentions him, his title, or the Shroud maybe 3 times through the whole book):

On pg. 15, about the translations of the Narratio:

„Jako pierwsze powstało tłumaczenie na język angielski, załączone jako aneks do, niezwykle skądinąd bałamutnej, książki Iana Wilsona o całunie turyńskim, której autor najwyraźniej nie wiedział o istnieniu lepszego wydania.” (w przypisie: „Książka, do której załączony został przekład zawiera wiele do tego stopnia kontrowersyjnych tez, że większość badaczy odmawia jej statusu pozycji naukowej. Tłumaczenie jest jednak osobną całością i jest całkowicie wiarygodne”)

Translation: „The first translation was the English one, included as an Appendix in, otherwise extremely confused/misleading/delusory, Ian Wilson’s book about the shroud of turin, the author of which seemingly was unaware about existence of better edition” (and in footnote: “The book to which that translation is included, contains many theses controversial to such a degree, that most scholars deny it a status of scientific book. The [polish] translation however is a separate whole, and is completely reliable”) On pg. 47-48 in footnote:

“Teza Wilsona zdobyła licznych zwolenników wśród osób zajmujących się „tajemnicą całunu” (por. zwłaszcza artykuły D. Scavone na łamach internetowego czasopisma Collegamento pro Sindone) i nielicznych zwolenników wśród naukowców:”

"Wilson’s thesis has gained many supporters among people dealing with "mystery of the shroud "(cf. especially D. Scavone’s articles published in the pages of online magazine Collegamento pro Sindone) and few supporters among scientists:” and next she mentions three of those supporters (A-M. Dubarle, D. Freedberg, J. M. Fiey), and interestingly, no opponents. At least we know she is familiar with Scavone’s ideas (and that ‘ scientists’ and ‘the people dealing with "mystery of the shroud "’ are two different groups). And why Wilson is bad? Because he is bad, obviously, and no explanation needed!

Those are the last words Tycner-Wolicka has to say about the Shroud in her book. Or… maybe not. While making her exegesis, she mentions 958 letter of Constantine VII, and the list of relics included in it. She analyzes the meaning of terms σπαργάνων/sparganon, and τής θεοφόρου σινδόνος/t s theofórou sindónos. While she concludes that the first term refers to the burial cloths (just as Scavone does), the identification of the second item may surprise, after all what was told about her supposed attitude towards Wilson’s ideas. The first thing is the meaning of the words t s theofórou sindónos. While Scavone translates them as the sindon which God wore, Tycner-Wolicka translates it in a much more inspiring way: bogonośna chusta – God-carrying cloth. And she writes further on pg. 172:

Skoro zatem pierwsze z badanych określeń to chusty grobowe, to czym jest owa „bogonośna chusta”? Nie ma chyba większych wątpliwości, że musi chodzić o nasz mandylion. Trudno zresztą wyobrazić sobie, żeby podobny zestaw relikwii, sporządzony w imieniu Konstantyna Porfirogenety (czy też przez niego) pomijał tak ważny dlań przedmiot. […] Ciekawy jest i sam zestaw relikwii, świadczący o tym które z nich uznawane były za pomocne w walce: są to relikwie męki pańskiej. […] I tu zaskoczenie –mandylion został potraktowany jako relikwia, w dodatku relikwia pasji. Jest to zestawienie bardzo ciekawe, które pozwala inaczej spojrzeć na fragment Opowieści mówiący o powstaniu wizerunku w Ogrójcu. [przypis: interpretacja, ze jest to jeszcze jedna z chust grobowych, np. ta która okrywał twarz Chrystusa (przedmiot ten bywa, choć rzadko, wspominany jako osobna relikwia) nie wydaje się być uzasadniony.

Nie wiadomo bowiem wówczas, co mialby znaczyć przymiotnik „bogonośny”.]

So if the first from analyzed terms refer to the burial cloths, then what is that “God-carrying cloth”. There are no greater doubts that it must be our mandylion. It is hard to imagine that similar set of relics, written on behalf of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (or by himself) omitted an item so important for him. […] The set itself is an interesting one, testifying which were considered as helpful in combat: the relics of the Lord’s Passion.[…] And here, surprise –the mandylion has been treated as a relic, in addition a relic of the Passion. This is a very interesting statement that allows for a different look at a fragment of Narratio talking about the creation of the image in the Garden of Gethsemane. [footnote: interpretation that it is another burial cloth, for example the one covering Christ’s face (this item is, although rarely, sometimes mentioned as a separate relic) seems not to be justified. It is unknown what the term “God-carrying” might have referred to then.]

Reading those words written by a scholar who is sceptical to the Wilson’s ideas –

PRICELESS. Because she was one step from the same conclusion as Wilson –and had she only been able to recognize what the term “God-carrying” might have referred to… It is obvious for any ‘Shroudie’ on this planet –the image on the Shroud of Turin. A relic of the Passion. The burial Shroud of Christ. And the Mandylion itself!

At the end of this article it is worthy to mention some other text. In Narratio we have following fragment:

When Christ was about to go voluntarily to death . . . sweat dripped from him like drops of blood. Then they say he took this piece of cloth which we see now from one of the disciples and wiped off the drops of sweat on it

This fairy-tale about creation of the Mandylion in the Gethsemane is a proof that there was a blood on the Mandylion, which everyone could see. We should notice, however that the presence of the blood itself is not directly mentioned –and this is deliberate, as the Narratio gives two accounts of the story creation of Mandylion, traditional one (before the Passion events), and a new one, connected with blood-sweating in Gethsemanne, without actually giving a preference to any of them (thus there couldn’t be a direct mention of the presence of blood, because it would give a clear answer to a reader which version is the correct one).

In another text the sermon of Gregory Referendarius delivered on the day of the arrival of Mandylion in Constantinople (16 August 944), we read:3

This reflection, however–let everyone be inspired with the explanation–has been imprinted only by the sweat from the face of the originator of life, falling like drops of blood, and by the finger of God. For these are the beauties that have made up the true imprint of Christ, since after the drops fell, it was embellished by drops from his own side.

The above is the original Guscin’s translation, following Dubarle, however he later revised his opinion, writing: The thrust of the text is that the sweat of agony (like drops of blood) adorned the Image, just like blood from its side adorned the body from which the sweat had dripped, i.e. two different events at two different times.4

Anyway, although the text is confusing (again, deliberately!), it gives an allusion of the presence of the side wound on the Mandylion (perhaps suggesting to the audience, that the blood from the side wound had been later, perhaps in miraculous way, transferred on that cloth). Just like the story in Narratio, and the description in the Constantine’s letter, this is definitely not accidental! The Emperor and the top hierarchs of the Byzantine Church (theological disputes and conspiracies for power were daily bread for Byzantines) knew perfectly the meaning of the words, and how to choose them. Thus those allusions say for themselves. It is clear what the Mandylion was. There is virtually no room for any conclusion other than that the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944 are one and the same object.

There is no other viable explanation of those coincidences. For the ‘Academia’ pseudoscholars – blinded, prejudiced, immersed in their dogmas, lacking any imagination – no chance, I think. But as always, I can be mistaken, and someone may come with some brilliant and unexpected solution…


1 See thread: Yannick Clément on the Letters Between Jesus and King Abgar the comments below.

2 Daniel C. Scavone, Acheiropoietos: Jesus Images in Constantinople: the Documentary Evidence



Guest Posting by O.K. – A very short proof that Manoppello Cloth =Veil of Veronica.

The identification of Manoppello Cloth with the Veil of Veronica, allegedly stolen from St. Peters Basilica in 16th-17th century, is a very controversial matter, and there are both proponents1 and opponents2 of this idea. Here I want to show an evidence, that should settle the debate once and for all. If this is not proof, than what is it? 

One of the most characteristic features of the Manoppello cloth is its transparency. See the following pictures. On the left the Manoppello cloth3, on the right the Portrait of St. Veronica, attributed to Robert Campin (1375-1444)4




1 For example: Paul Badde, Boskie Oblicze, Całun z Manoppello (the polish edition of The
Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus), Polwen, Radom 2006, Saverio Gaeta, Drugi Całun: Prawdziwa historia Oblicza Jezusa, Polwen, Radom 2007, Andreas Resch Oblicze Chrystusa: od Całunu Turyńskiego do Chusty z Manoppello, Polwen, Radom 2006 

2 Ian Wilson, Święte Oblicza (the polish edition of Holy Faces, Secret Places), Wydawnictwo da Capo 1994, Michael Hesemann, Milczący Świadkowie Golgoty (the polish edition of Die stummen zeugen von Golgatha), Wydawnictwo Salwator, Kraków 2006, 

3 Taken from  

4 Taken from

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément: Solid as a Brick Wall

STURP Integrity


Over the years up until today, we have seen many skeptics about the authenticity of the Shroud (most of them are fans of the man made forgery scenario) accusing the STURP team of being religious fanatics (or religious biased).

So, here’s an argument that I think is as solid as a brick wall to show once and for all that this team effort to analyze the Shroud in 1978 and the years following was performed with great honesty and professionalism: The main conclusion of the team concerning the nature of the image formation on the cloth was “we don’t know yet” and not “it comes from a process that is scientifically unexplainable (in the sense that it is most probably related to some supernatural process)”.

In sum, if the STURP team would have been religiously biased, their conclusion would never have been the kind of “admission of failure” that it was concerning the image formation! NEVER! The team would have done all it can to strongly suggest a supernatural or miraculous process instead, which is not at all what have come out of their great work, proving it was a real honest and professionally performed scientific effort.

Because of their “we don’t know how it got formed” statement in their final conclusion versus the body image, I think anyone can forget the idea that this scientific team was biased in any way. Unfortunately, over the years, and principally since the publishing of the C14 dating results, many supernatural and/or religious fanatics out there have taken the “we don’t know” statement of STURP and turned it into a “we can’t fully explain it, so it most be related to the Resurrection of Christ”, which is a very bad extrapolation that is not worthy of any serious scientific thinking and which is absolutely not what STURP’s conclusion meant. 

Maybe STURP should have emphasize a bit the more their conclusion by underlining the fact that the image formation process was unexplainable IN THE PRESENT STATE OF OUR SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE SHROUD and, of course, this could change in the future if a new series of direct researches on the relic can be allowed by the Vatican…

I hope this short reflection of mine will be good to make people from the 2 principal fringe of Shroud science (i.e. the hardcore skeptics and the supernatural-religious fanatics) reflect and maybe realize how some of their thinking and statements about the Shroud image is far from what STURP really was and from what really was their primary scientific conclusion about the Shroud image.  

A Guest Posting by O.K. : Blood on the face of TSM?

imageThe question of the blood-covered face of the TSM is, in my opinion, a matter of great interest and importance. In the recent comment1, Hugh Farey raised a very important matter of the possible existence (or non-existence) of image under bloodstains. Based on Adler’s observation of cleansed blood fibers, it is generally assumed that there is no image under blood stains.2 But Hugh argues that:

All the Mark Evans photos showing bloodstains clearly show that most of the red particles have been rubbed off the upper surfaces of the threads, and are mostly confined to the cracks and crevices where one thread crosses another. The surfaces from which the blood has been rubbed off are as yellow as the rest of the image fibres, and do not carry the distinctive silky white appearance of the non-image threads.

So, in Hugh’s opinion, there is apparent conflict between Adler’s conclusions (it is however necessary to note that Pierluigi Baima-Bollone, who performed independent analysis of blood-covered threads agrees that there is no image under bloodstains3, earlier in 1973 other bloodied threads were analyzed by G. Frache and G. Filogamo) and Mark Evans photos. But another option comes to my mind, is it possible that some of the so called body image was actually created by blood?

What prompted me to this solution, is an analyzis of the various photographs of the Shroud, as well as Tamburelli & Ballosino’s eidomatic 3D reconstructions of the TSM face. Processing Enrie’s photos (STURP did not give them their images), they cleared the face from apparent blood flows and obtained these results:4


Another image shows eliminated blood traces:


That’s what interests us. Are those traces a real blood?

Evidences For Testing Hypotheses About The Body Image Formation Of The Turin Shroud by Fanti et al have following remark:

A44) The luminance level of the head image in the positive photograph of Durante (2000) is 10% and more lower (darker) than that of the whole body image (Moran 2002).

This was used by one sceptic to “prove” that the image of the face and rest of the body are separate images created by the forger. I refuted this statement by saying that this actually makes no sense, without clarification, what do we mean by luminance level (average, maximum) and what photography do we use. Because their sensitivity in different wavelengths can be different. That’s crucial here. Let’s analyze two photographs, one by Enrie, and one by Schwortz:


The differences are obvious. On the Schwortz photo, the blood marks are much more intense in comparison with the body image, than on Enrie one. It is due to the fact that Enrie’s plates were much more sensitive in the yellow part of the visual spectrum, while Schwortz’ were more sensitive in red. The most important observation is, however, that the face on the Schwortz’ is much more intense than on Enrie, almost as intense as the blood marks –thus suggesting that it is actually created by the blood marks! The most intense are beard, mustache, hair and eyebrows (which easily absorb blood) as well as nostrils, from which the blood spilled.

What’s connection of this to Hugh’s reservations? Hugh claims that the surfaces from which the blood has been rubbed off are as yellow as the rest of the image fibres, and do not carry the distinctive silky white appearance of the non-image threads. I want to ask, whether those darker fibers from the regions were blood has been rubbed off by erosion are actually not the image fibers (which would suggest that there is an image below blood stains, contrary to Adler and others) but blood residuals creating image. Thus there would be no conflict between Adler’s and Hugh’s observation. The slight differences in color, are, in my opinion, not enough to distinguish whether dark layer on the fiber is actually the image, or blood residuals.

Just my suggestion for further considerations. I would like to add also that one must remember that we don’t know precisely where blood flecks originally ended –the image areas on even individual fibers can be right next to the blood areas. Thus only direct examination of fibers can give us answer whether there is, or isn’t the image below blood.

1 See

2 See for example Evidences for testing hypotheses about the body image formation of the Turin Shroud , The Third Dallas International Conference On the Shroud of Turin: Dallas, Texas, September 8-11, 2005, Raymond N. Rogers, Frequently Asked Questions

3 Pierluigi Baima Bollone, Całun Turyński 101 pytań i odpowiedzi, Wydawnictwo Wam, Kraków 2002, pg. 143)

4 The images are taken from

A Guest Posting by O.K. on the Allegedly Too-Long Fingers

To examine a sizeable PDF version of this posting CLICK HERE





An Intriguing 9th Century Image Suggestive of the Shroud – A Guest Posting by Max Patrick Hamon

( A PDF Version of the following guest posting )

By Max Patrick HAMON


The flogging of Christ, Carolingian iconography, early 9th c. CE, Stuttgart Psalter, fol. 43v, Wurttenmbergische Landesbibliothek, Germany Click Here

A Shroud-like dorsal image of Christ?

In 1998-2000, Pr. Heinrich Pfeiffer was the first to draw attention to the ca 800-814 CE
Stuggart Psalter miniature-Turin Shroud dorsal image connection. In a passing comment he
just wrote: “Le numerose piccole piaghe che furono causate dalla flagellazione si trovano già
[…] su una raffigurazione della flagellazione di Gesù nel salterio di Stoccarda che data agli
inizi del secolo IX.. Questa […] miniatura mostra chiaramente tutta l’immagine dorsale della
Sindone. ” (The numerous small wounds resulting from the flogging are already to be found
[…] in a representation of the flogging of Jesus in the Stuggart Psalter of the early 9th century.
The […] miniature clearly shows the whole dorsal image of the Shroud.). See Il Gran Libro
della Sindone, p. 193, ed. Paolo, 2000 (Translation mine).

Could the ca. 800-814 CE Stuggart Psalter stark naked flogged Christ back view really predate the carbon 14 dating result of 1325 ± 65 calendar years by no less than 510-515 years; more than half a millennium?

Reminder: The fact is, for both the Emperor of the East (Byzantium) and the Emperor of the
West (The Holy Germanic Empire), the Sindon Munda and/or Sudarium Domini in connection with Yeshua’s Resurrection were the attributes par excellence of the Vicar of Christ. How could Charlemagne have ignored their very existence and not tried to learn as much as possible about them? How could he not have tried to get them or their brandea (substitute relics) at least? Actually, as early as 797 CE, Charlemagne/Charles the Great caused relics of Christ’s Passion and Saints to be searched for at Jerusalem, Rome, Constantinople and Baghdad. Why not as far as Edessa then regarded as the Medieval Rome of the East?

Re the Stuggart Psalter miniature of the Flogging of Christ-Turin Shroud (TS hereafter) man’s
dorsal image connection, to the astute observer:

●Both men are stark naked with long flow of hair in the back. Part of the hair tied up like a
pigtail at the back of the head can be made out.
●Both have arm(s) bound/crossed in front. Had both no scourge marks on the inner side
arms? This cannot be checked today any longer.
●Both have bloodied furrows/scourged marks in conjunction with two whips with lashes each
fitted with doubled (metal) pellets implying two executioners.
●Both have almost feminine curved left hip & thigh (to be called later “the Byzantine curve”).
●Both are/were tied at tibiofibural level with left leg in front of right leg (TS man accurate
Forensic description: left leg in front of right leg with rope-mark in the tibiofibular fleshes).
●Both show a most unnatural/awkward feet position.
●And last but not least, by means of a very curious tailed-Epsilon hand sign each time, the
executioner on the left seem to point with his left hand index finger to his own head while the executioner on the right does point to Christ’s head with his left hand index finger too. Both left hand signs cryptically echoe the tailed-Epsilon-shaped like small blood rivulet we can observe on TS man’s forehead, just above his left eyebrow.


All these pieces of evidence piled up into a crucial evidence: the bloodied body burial cloth now kept in Turin was already in existence early in the 9th CE. The Stuggart Psalter miniature Shroudlike Christ does predate the radiocarbon date by no less than half-a-millennium.

What really may be not that obvious to the layman’s eyes can just stare in the face of an old (yet not so old) Archaeological Image Cryptanalyst…

End notes:

  • Absent the Baptism of Christ iconography, the depiction of a stark naked Christ is very rare as far as Christological iconography is concerned prior to the 12th c. CE. From 1200 to 1350 CE, it is still rather uncommon.
  • Iconographically speaking, most likely the early 9th c. CE Carolingian miniaturist-monk
    (from the Saint-Germain-des Prés or Reims monastery that was under the Benedictine rule
    then), did not copy the Shroud dorsal image directly in situ but visually stored it and painted it back onto the painting surface at the risk of interpreting it. Less likely he copied it from nother MS miniature.