As some readers may be aware, the Shroud of Turin has been an interest of mine for many years. This morning I received a fascinating link from my bishop, Lewis Keizer of the Home Temple regarding new information on the Shroud. Dr. Keizer has been a Shroud scholar for many years and this new information vindicates his previous theories on the Shroud.
There have been several problems facing those who feel that the Shroud is an authentic relic from the time of Jesus. First has been the infamous 1988 radiocarbon dating, which showed an apparent date for the Shroud of between 1260 and 1390 CE, making it a medieval forgery. A number of researchers have cast doubt on the dating procedure. In one of my earlier posts linked below, Raymond Rogers of Los Alamos labs gave convincing evidence that the samples that were submitted to radiocarbon testing were actually part of the medieval patches which were used to repair the cloth after a fire damaged it. Other tests, such as the absence of vanillin in the cloth, show its age to be much greater.
The second problem is a gap in the apparent history of the Shroud between the sack of Constantinople in 1204and the Shroud’s sudden appearance in Turin in the middle of the 14th century. Before the Crusades, there is legendary record of a cloth containing an image of Jesus which was traced to the city of Edessa, where it was brought to King Apgar by a mysterious disciple of Jesus after Jesus’ death. The cloth was eventually brought to Constantinople by the Emperor, but connecting it with the Shroud and its appearance in Europe was conjectural.
But according to the new article linked below, researchers in the Vatican Secret Archives uncovered such a connection in the testimony compiled at the heresy trials of the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar were present at the sack of Constantinople, where the Edessa cloth disappeared. When the Shroud appeared in Turin, it was in connection with the DeCharney family – Geoffrey DeCharney having been the second in command of the Knights Templar. Some historians speculated that the Kights Templar had made off with the Edessa cloth, and that it became a secret relic in their possession, possibly used in their initiations.
The newly released testimony of a young French recruit of the Templars is that he was brought to a secret room during his initiation into the order in 1287, and shown a long linen cloth with the figure of a man impressed on it. He was instructed to venerate this relic. This gives strong support for the Templar connection and strengthens the historical chain of evidence linking the Shroud back to Constantinople, to Edessa, and finally Palestine.
My previous posts on the Shroud
Bishop Keizer’s presentation on the Shroud
Bishop Keizer’s links: