The shroud of turin has always been a supreme ikon

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The Shroud of Turin, also known as the Holy Shroud, is a length of linen cloth bearing the negative image of a man. Most people in the western civilisation know this famous ‘icon’ as do the thousands of Roman Catholic Christians who are believers in its authenticity. Outside of the Christian Church there are many who also believe the image depicts Jesus of Nazareth and the fabric is the burial shroud in which he was wrapped after crucifixion.

The shroud was denounced in 1389 by the local bishop of Troyes as a fake. Currently the Catholic Church neither formally endorses nor rejects the shroud, and in 2013 Pope Francis referred to it as an “icon of a man scourged and crucified”.

The shroud has been kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Turin, in northern Italy, since 1578. In 1988, radiocarbon dating established that the shroud was from the Middle Ages, between the years 1260 and 1390. All hypotheses put forward to challenge the radiocarbon dating have been scientifically refuted, including the medieval repair hypothesis, the bio-contamination hypothesis and the carbon monoxide hypothesis All these external reasons are put forward for the ‘carbon-date’ that was carried out in 1988, which has been questioned and disbelieved as the truth, ever since.

The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative form, which was first published in1898. Up to that date the shroud was published in its natural sepia colour. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial simultaneously. However, none the less this is an Icon of some substantial following and consequently enhances the religious authority of the Christian Church. In many ways this mysterious icon goes beyond the normal icon as it thought to be made not by human hand.

Some critics point out that it may not be a shroud at all, but rather an embedded image from a rectangular tombstone, as seen on other sacred images. A burial cloth, which some historians maintain was the Shroud, was owned by the Byzantine Emperors, but it disappeared during the Sacking of Constantinople in 1204. Although there are numerous reports of the Jesus burial shroud, or an image of his head, of unknown origin, being venerated in various locations before the 14th century, there is no historical evidence to suggest that these refer to the shroud currently at Turin Cathedral.

A fire, possibly caused by arson, threatened the shroud on 11 April 1997. In 2002, the shroud was restored. The cloth backing and thirty patches were removed, making it possible

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