The Shroud of Turin is one of the most famous and mysterious Christian relics. This piece of linen fabric measures 4.36 meters long by 1.10 meters wide and presents the image of a bearded man, who according to Christian tradition would be Christ, crucified and dead on the cross. This relic has sparked many questions and debates about its authenticity and meaning, making it one of the most studied objects in the world.
The history of the Shroud dates back to medieval times, but its exact provenance is unknown. According to tradition, it would have been in the possession of the Templars, then would have been transferred to Chambéry in France, where it was displayed to the public. In 1578 it was transferred to Turin, where it is currently kept in the royal chapel of the city's cathedral.
The image on the Shroud is that of a naked man, his hands crossed on his pubis and his feet slightly crossed, which bears the marks of a crucifixion. We can distinguish the wounds inflicted by the nails on the hands and feet, as well as the traces of a flogging. Bloodstains are also visible on the relic, notably on the crown of thorns that surrounds the head of the man depicted. The linen also bears burn marks, which would have been caused by the fire which broke out in 1532 in the chapel where it was exhibited in Chambéry.
Since its discovery, the Holy Shroud has been the subject of numerous scientific studies and analyses. The exact origin of the image on the relic is still a mystery today. Several hypotheses have been put forward over time, some attributing the image to a painting, others to a primitive photography process. However, one theory that is still debated today is that the image was formed by an unexplained physical phenomenon, such as the discharge of energy during Jesus' resurrection.
Scientific studies were carried out on the Holy Shroud from the 1970s. In 1988, three independent laboratories carried out carbon 14 tests to determine the age of the fabric. The results concluded that the linen dates from the Middle Ages, i.e. between 1260 and 1390, which called into question its authenticity. However, some scientists have questioned these results, arguing that the carbon-14 dating technique can be error-prone.
Despite the questions surrounding the Shroud, it continues to attract millions of visitors each year to Turin. Believers see it as a symbol of Christ's passion and death, while scientists continue to analyze the relic in hopes of unraveling its mystery.