The Famous Shroud of Turin Goes on Display in April 2010

Where: Turin, Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

When: April 10th –  May 23rd

The Shroud of Turin (Sacra Sindone), which usually goes on display once every 25 years, is programmed to go on display again in April 2010, just 10 years after its last public viewing. It will be just the 6th time in the past hundred years that the sacred relic will be seen in public.

It’s also the first time the devout, the curious and the incredulous will have the opportunity to see the Shroud since it underwent major restoration in 2002.

The 4.4 × 1.1m rectangular linen cloth is believed by many to be the authentic burial shroud of Jesus Christ, as the cloth displays a faint image of an individual who appears to have endured physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion.

More than one million tickets have already been ordered, say officials at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (Turin Cathedral), where the Shroud will be on display from April 10th through to May 23rd.

One extraordinary visitor scheduled to pay homage to the Shroud will be Pope Benedict XVI who is expected to visit Turin on May 2nd. He’s certainly one who won’t be limited to the standard maximum viewing time like the everyday visitor . Visitors can stay just five minutes before the Turin Shroud, which will be showcased in a bulletproof and climate-controlled case.

But is it “really” the burial shroud of Jesus Christ? The authenticity of the Shroud has been hotly debated for decades. And it continues to stir controversy.

In 1988, the Holy See agreed to allow six centers to carry out independently radiocarbon dating on portions taken from a corner of the shroud. Finally only three research centers were allowed  to perform the analysis. The chosen laboratories at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, produced results indicating that the analyzed portion of the shroud dated from the XIIIth to XIVth Centuries (1260–1390).

In April 2009 it was reported that an original Shroud investigator acknowledged that the radio carbon dating performed in 1988 was faulty. (See article in The Daily Telegraph ).

The sample used for dating may have been taken from a piece damaged by fire and mended in the XVIth  century, which would not supply an estimate for the original material, so the mystery still lingers.

Turin is about 2 hours by train from Milan and from Genoa, a trip that is worth making not only for the shroud but also only to visit this incredible city.

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