The Holy Shroud has been a point of controversy for many years.
For believers, it's proof of Jesus' divinity and Resurrection. For skeptics, its simply a scientific puzzle.
Despite different tests- historians, theologians and scientists have not reached a consensus on whether the image imprinted on the linen cloth, is that of Jesus Christ.
Museum of the Holy Shroud
"It reflects the body of a dead man who underwent physical trauma and was then crucified. FLASH 08 20 The linen cloth has blood stains on it that come from clots, and it's not just blood...organic material was also transferred onto it.”
The issue is being raised again because the Shroud will be on public display from April 19th to June 24th in the Cathedral of Turin. In fact, Pope Francis has confirmed that he will pray before the Shroud on June 21st.
The Catholic Church has not officially endorsed or rejected its authenticity, but over the years it has allowed several scientific tests to be carried out. The first one took place back in 1898.
GIAN MARIA ZACCONE
Scientific Director of the Holy Shroud Museum
"The Church doesn't have the authority or means to delve into these scientific tests. That's why it gives everyone the liberty to decide on their own, to choose, study and analyze the Shroud.”
Researchers from the University of Oxford concluded that the Shroud probably dates back to the 1300's. Not everyone agrees. Some scientists contested the way in which the tests were carried out.
Even though different studies have been done, experts still cannot explain how the image of a man was imprinted on the Shroud. It's something that still puzzles, despite the availability of modern scientific tools and research.
FR. ROBERTO GOTTARDO
Diocesan Commission on the Shroud
"That image transmits a message to everyone. It says something to both believers and non-believers.”
The Holy Shroud will be on display to mark 200 years since the birth of St. John Bosco. The last time it was displayed publicly was back in the year 2010.