Archive for the ‘History’ Category

SSG Member Wants to Know

December 6, 2015 10 comments

imageA member of the Shroud Science Group (unnamed at this time) asks:

I wish to know if there are reliable sources (especially of historical type) documenting answers to the following questions.

-  Of which material was composed the Chambéry’s reliquary?

-  Which was the composition of the silver alloy that probably composed the reliquary?

-  Did the reliquary contained lead perhaps in the silver alloy?

I think the emphasis is on reliable sources.

Categories: History

A Must Read Regarding the Othon de la Roche Hypothesis

December 1, 2015 44 comments

I call your attention to this careful piece, The Castle of Ray-sur-Saône: Othon de la Roche and the Shroud of Turin by Mario Latendresse

The hypothesis that Othon de la Roche acquired the Shroud of Turin, during the conquest of Constantinople in 1204, has been proposed for many centuries….

But …

In summary, there is no known family tradition supporting the presence of a shroud of Christ at the castle of Ray-sur-Saône, neither in the family archives. There is also no family tradition or document supporting the authenticity of the coffer, still on display at the Castle, which would have been used to transport a shroud of Christ. It is still to be determined who in the Salverte family labeled and placed the small coffer on display.

Categories: History

The Sudarium: A Better Provenance and History?

November 30, 2015 115 comments

imageThe Paranormal Report blog, just yesterday, posted a short report, The Sudarium of Oviedo – Better than the Shroud of Turin?

on the Sudarium of Oviedo:

Lying in the Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain in relative obscurity compared to its more famous cousin, the Sudarium presents a better provenance and history than the Shroud and may be the sole surviving relic of the crucifixion that has made it to modern times. Measuring 34″ by 21″, the Sudarium is a bloodstained cloth purported to have covered the head of Jesus of Nazareth after his burial. The cloth is mentioned to have been in the tomb in John 20:6-7 described as a cloth seperate from the shroud. It isn’t mentioned again until 570 A.D. when it was being kept by monks in a cave near Jerusalem. In 614, just before the Sasanian King of Persia Khusru II conquered Jerusalem, the cloth was taken to Alexandria, and within just a few years made its way to Spain through North Africa. Its been there ever since.

AND: here is a 1997 paper with pictures, The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin by Mark Guscin

Here are some postings on the Sudarium in this blog in just the past year:

Categories: History, Other Blogs

What am I missing?

November 8, 2015 15 comments

clip_image001Maybe it is because I haven’t had coffee yet today. Or maybe I’m just growing old. Stephen Jones wrote this baffling piece during  the past week:

… there is a 13th century wooden chest which according to de la Roche family tradition, was used to transport the Shroud from Athens to France, and indeed a label on it in modern writing states the family tradition that it was used by Otho de Ray to bring the "the Shroud of Christ … from Constantinople [in] 1206":

However, the style of the carving is late 14th century, although the bottom of the chest may be original[53]. The inner dimensions of the chest in centimetres are ~37.5 long x 16.5 wide x 25 deep[54]. This would neatly fit the 437 x 111 cms Shroud[55], if it were folded twelve times long and eight times wide, i.e. 437/12 = 36.4 cms x 111/8 cms = 13.9 cms[56]. This twelve by eight folds is a simple and economical folding arrangement of the Shroud, and since Othon’s family would be unlikely to know the true dimensions of the Shroud if they had never owned it, this ~37.5 cms long x 16.5 cms wide `floor plan’ of the bottom of the Ray-sur-Saône chateau chest, which is claimed to have once held the Shroud, is strong evidence that Othon de la Roche really did bring the Shroud with him from Athens (and before that from Constantinople) to his Ray-sur-Saône chateau in Burgundian, France in 1225!

Family tradition as evidence?

The bottom is maybe original?  What does that mean?  That the bottom is older than the rest of the chest? Did someone build this chest around an older bottom piece of wood?  Why?

Folded twelve times one way and eight times the other way? This is economical?  Can you really do so and have any semblance to the dimensions Stephen suggests? Try it with a bed sheet; just make the first fold widthwise and pretend you made it lengthwise. It will be close enough. Actually, I think Stephen meant fold it into twelfths and then eighths. Still, try it.

Thinking that the Othon de la Roche family would not have known the size of the shroud if they didn’t own it and hence would not perhaps have (or there wouldn’t be) a chest with a bottom that was 37.5 cm by 16.5 cm, which is only approximate to a speculated folding pattern does not seem to me strong evidence that Othon de la Roche really did bring the shroud from Athens.

What am I missing?

Categories: History

The Confusing Holy Tunic of Argenteuil

November 2, 2015 20 comments

“I am speechless. Good grief.”

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

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

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

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

imageSomeone just wrote:

I hope your are the right person to write.

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

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

My response was:

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


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

A reader writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Categories: History

Linen from India?

October 14, 2015 43 comments

imageA reader writes:

Recent revelations in Nature suggesting the cloth now called the Turin Shroud may have originated in India reminds us of the legends about the Apostle Judas Thomas who likely traveled to Muziris on the Malabar Coast in A.D. 52. There he founded several church communities. The story of his sea journey to India reminds us there was active trade with that city and other seaports on the Indian subcontinent. Maybe we should be looking in India for examples of linen cloth similar to the Shroud.

Pictured, the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle in Mylapore, India.

imageI copied the following from Wikipedia.  There is a lot more in Wikipedia that makes for interesting reading. So, yes, indeed, maybe we should be looking harder at India and the entire area of the land and sea routes of the ancient Silk Road:

Muziris was an ancient seaport and urban center in the Malabar Coast (modern day Indian state of Kerala) that dates from at least the 1st century BC, if not before it. Muziris has found mention in the bardic Sangam literature and a number of classical European historical sources.[1][2][3]

The port was a key to the trade between southern India and the Phoenicians, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Roman Empire.[4][5] The important known commodities exported from Muziris were spices (such as black pepper and malabathron), semi-precious stones (such as beryl), pearls, diamonds, sapphires, ivory, Chinese silk, Gangetic spikenard and tortoise shells. The Romans brought money (in gold coins), peridots, thin clothing, figured linens, multicoloured textiles, sulfide of antimony, copper, tin, lead, coral, raw glass, wine, realgar and orpiment.[6][7] The locations of unearthed coin-hoards suggest an inland trade link from Muziris via the Palghat Gap and along the Kaveri Valley to the east coast of India. Though the Roman trade declined from the 5th century AD, the former Muziris attracted the attention of other nationalities, particularly the Persians, the Chinese and the Arabs, presumably until the devastating floods of Periyar in the 14th century.

The exact location of Muziris is still not known to historians and archaeologists. It is generally speculated to be situated around present day Kodungallur, a town situated 18 miles north of Cochin.[8] Kodungallur in central Kerala figures prominently in the ancient history of southern India as a vibrant urban hub of the Chera rulers.[9] A series of excavations were conducted at the village of Pattanam in North Paravur by Kerala Council for Historical Research (an autonomous institution outsourced by Kerala State Department of Archaeology) in 2006-07 and it was announced that the lost port of Muziris was found.[3][10][11] The rapid conclusion invited criticism from historians and archaeologists and started a healthy debate among historians of south India.[12][13][14]


Categories: Archaeology, History

The Shroud of Canterbury

September 28, 2015 47 comments

imageLouis, in a comment, links to Raiders of the Lost Codex: Scholars Piece Together Ancient Bible by Matthias Schulz appearing in Spiegel Online International.

He then writes:

A bit off-track but worth reading.

What happens if the Turin Shroud is dated to the 1st century? Who will be its owner? Pope Francis, the Di Savoia royal family of Italy, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Istanbul (Constantinople), the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Syrian Orthodox, Chaldean, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian patriarchs of Jerusalem…. or the Saint James Vicariate in Jerusalem (Hebrew Speaking Catholics, under the Jewish-born South African Jesuit David Neuhaus) successors of Saint James, first bishop of Jerusalem, and a cousin of Jesus?

The monks at the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai Egypt, are now saying that Constantin von Tischendorf stole the pages from the Codex Sinaiticus, and many of these pages are scattered in different places. HRH Prince Charles is the President of the Saint Catherine’s Foundation.

Tischendorff has been called an “adventurer” and “thief”, he had a doctorate in philosophy and was a very good New Testament scholar.

Actually, based on the The Treaty of Brétigny, signed on 8 May 1360, the Shroud of Turin belongs to Queen Elizabeth II of England.  How do you not see that?

Categories: Article, History
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