More than 1 million people are expected to head for Turin in the coming weeks for their chance to catch a glimpse of one of Christianity’s most controversial relics, which went on display on Sunday for the first time in five years.
The Shroud of Turin, believed by many Christians to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion, returned to display this week in the city of Turin, Italy.
The 14-foot-long cloth will be displayed until June 24 at the cathedral of St. Johnthe Baptist. One million people have signed up to view the free display. Pope Francis will visit the shroud during a two-day visit to Turin starting June 21.
The shroud was allegedly discovered in Turkey during one of the Crusades and eventually ended up in Turin by the late 16th century. The Catholic Church has not officially claimed the shroud housed the body of Christ, but instead focuses on its significance to people.
“What counts the most is that this shroud… reflects in a clear and precise manner how the gospels describe the passion and death of Jesus,” Archbishop of Turin Cesare Nosiglia said. “It is not a profession of faith because it is not an object of faith, nor of devotion, but it can help faith.”
About 2.5 million people saw the Shroud of Turin when it was last displayed in 2010. The shroud is held within a climate-controlled case.
The origin of the cloth has been disputed. The first scientific analysis done in the 1970s determined that the image believed to be of Jesus Christ’s likeness cast by blood on the cloth was not made with artificial pigments.
Radiocarbon dating of a piece of the shroud in 1988 concluded it was made more than 1,000 years after Jesus is believed to have been crucified, however the sample actually tested was from a section repaired by nuns after a fire in the 1300s.
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