DNA Testing Deepens Shroud of Turin Mystery

October 28, 2015 (Source: http://www.foxnews.com)

Is it a medieval fake or a relic of Jesus Christ? A new analysis of DNA from the Shroud of Turin reveals that people from all over the world have touched the venerated garment.

“Individuals from different ethnic groups and geographical locations came into contact with the Shroud [of Turin] either in Europe (France and Turin) or directly in their own lands of origin (Europe, northeast Africa, Caucasus, Anatolia, Middle East and India),” study lead author Gianni Barcaccia, a geneticist at the University of Padua in Italy and lead author of the new study describing the DNA analysis, said in an email. “We cannot say anything more on its origin.”

The new findings don’t rule out either the notion that the long strip of linen is a medieval forgery or that it’s the true burial shroud of Jesus Christ, the researchers said.

Long-standing debate

On its face, the Shroud of Turin is an unassuming piece of twill cloth that bears traces of blood and a darkened imprint of a man’s body. Though the Catholic Church has never taken an official stance on the object’s authenticity, tens of thousands flock to Turin, Italy, every year to get a glimpse of the object, believing that it wrapped the bruised and bleeding body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]

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3 thoughts on “DNA Testing Deepens Shroud of Turin Mystery

  • October 28, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Hieromonk Enoch,

    What is your view of the Shroud? I find the data to be very convincing as to it’s authenticity, but the Scriptures state that our Lord was wrapped in strips, with a separate set of strips for the head. Unless this fabric was laid atop the wrapped Body?

    Also, what is your opinion on Peter Damian? A new translation of his Book of Gomorrah is now available.

    • October 28, 2015 at 11:22 pm


      I firmly believe it is real. The manner in which the C-14 dating was conducted had major problems, as has been pointed out. As to the issue of ‘linen clothes’ and the ‘shroud’, these are not contradictory. Often people, especially the wealthy (which, in the case of Christ, he was not, but, he was given a rich man’s burial, in accordance with the Prophecy of Isaias in Is. 53), were buried with a face cloth, linen raps, and a large general shroud.

      The below is an interesting article on this:


      Peter Damian was born prior to the Schism, and conducted a good portion of his writings and works prior to the Schism (his “Book of Gomorrah” was written in 1051, as I recall). Of course, he lived after the Schism, and was an active promoter of the “Gregorian” or Hilderbrandian Reforms.

      Damian actively agitated to ‘explain’ the Filioque to the Church in Constantinople, and such, but, of course, his arguments were grave and faulty; this was done after 1054. Thus, while he was ordained a priest and made a monk prior to the Schism (and thus would be, at least, formally in union with the Orthodox Church during that pre-Schismatic period, at least), he went along, as did most, with the Schism, and was eventually consecrated a bishop in the Schismatico-Heretical Old Roman Papal Church. Unlike most, however, who went along in ignorance, Peter Damian was much better informed; in his letter to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, he frankly admits that most Greeks of his time, and even some Latins (!), were against the Filioque, and proceeds to give their reasons, which he then follows up with attempting to demonstrate why they are ‘wrong’. Interestingly, there were apparently a sufficient portion of “Latins” (we are not told who), who, at that time, were noticeable enough to Peter Damian that he had to mention their opposition to the Filioque.

      In other words, my assessment of Peter Damian is, in the final analysis, decidedly negative. If he had lived 100 years earlier, before many of these controversies had reached the fever pitch as to begin the formal separation of the West from Orthodoxy, he might have been a saint (but then again, who knows?); as it was, this was not the case.

      In Christ,

      Fr. Enoch

  • October 29, 2015 at 12:03 am

    It should also be pointed out that, as I recall, the Stavronikita Epitaphios (which is from the 12th century), has several important similarities to the Shroud of Turin; the lash-marks on the SE are very similar, as well as the issue of the weave imitation, body placement. I believe it was made in the East, either in Constantinople and Mt. Athos, and is similar to other productions. As many have pointed out, how would a French forger in the 14th century be so aware of this?

    I suppose one could say he was an expert in anatomy, art, chemistry, and could do things that no one has ever been able to do again (despite very poor attempts). But, this seems that we are stretching things!

    The concept of some sort of Sindon, or Burial Shroud, as important in liturgical rites of the Church is very old. The Epitaphios, as a distinct object used in processions, with the building of the tomb/bier for Christ, etc, I believe originated from Jerusalem, and only gradually spread in certain places in the East (though, I believe it was opposed by some forces), before finally become standard; similarly, the Epitaphios of Our Lady Theotokos has a similar history, being a practice of devotion of the Church of Jerusalem, and spreading to some place; perhaps, if the world continues, Orthodox Christians will all adopt the use of the Theotokian Epitaphios as opposed to its usage as a sort of ‘ad libitum’ rite for certain places in Russia, Greece, etc..

    In the West, we know, by at least the 10th century, as evidenced by the Regularis Concordia of the Synod of Winchester in 972, a Sindon Veil, that was to be made in imitation of the Burial Shroud of Our Lord, was of extreme importance in the Holy Friday services in England, as well as in the services for Pascha (with the Tomb of the entomb image of Christ being removed, and the Shroud being displayed to the people for veneration, before being taken to the Altar, and placed on the Altar for all of Paschaltide, for Liturgy to be celebrated on); as the Regularis Concordia seemed to be imitating many older continental customs, there is no reason to believe this was the invention of Sts. Dunstan, Oswald, or Aethelwold.

    The concept that there was, indeed, the Burial Shroud of Christ, somewhere in existence, and that liturgical ‘imitations’ were made for veneration was widespread in the pre-Schism East and West (though, many of the particulars of how the Shrouds were used in the various ceremonies differed in certain details, the essentials of it being important were acknowledged by places as far apart as the 10th century Anglo-Saxon Church, to practice of the Church of Jerusalem in the same era).

    In Christ,

    Fr. Enoch

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