The Turin Shroud
Father Thévenon learnt very early about the mystery of the Turin Shroud. He has worked with the group ‘Soleil Levant' on this question since the seventies. The basis of the study was the work of Doctor Pierre BARBET "La Passion de N.S. Jésus Christ selon le chirurgien" (1).It followed the work of the Centre International de Sindonologie created in 1959 and of the STURP (2) (Shroud of Turin Research Project) an American institute created in 1976. Following the carbon 14 dating of samples of the shroud taken in 1988, it was very interested in the work of the CIELT (3) (Centre International d'Études sur le Linceul de Turin).
The Shroud of Turin
In a few words, the Shroud of Turin, is a roll of material 4.3m by 1.1m, preserved in the chapel of Guarini in Turin, where it has been venerated since the 17th century as being the authentic shroud in which the body of Christ was wrapped after his death, according to the descriptions of the evangelists. One can follow scientifically the progress of this relic since the 14th century, from the village of Lirey in Champagne, to Turin. But it is spoken of throughout the Middle Ages. Saint Cyrille of Jerusalem already evokes it in 340. Is this the same object? Isn't that of Lirey a forgery?
A mass of information
Father Thévenon was struck by the mass of scientific information gathered on this shroud since the taking of its first photograph in 1878 (4), throughout the 20th century in fact. Never has a historical object been studied this much. Following the carbon 14 dating in 1988, the question quickly arose of knowing who was the forger of the Shroud, if the Shroud were a forgery as the results of the dating suggest.
The Forger of Lirey
By admitting à priori the principle of the forgery suggested by the carbon 14 dating, it is necessary to resolve the problem of the forger and the extraordinary technical means available to him. We will thus call him the ‘Forger of Lirey'.
Who was he to have wanted and to then have known how to, create the false shroud which one can trace from Lirey in Champagne to Turin in Piémont from the 14th century to our days ?
The theory of the forgery built on the results of the carbon 14 dating tests, suppose for sure :
a. That the test was performed in compliance with the usual elementary scientific rules.
b. That this type of test is sufficiently reliable that it can be determining.
c. That it should not be in contradiction to the majority of the scientific observations carried out to date.
Proceeding from there, one can build a type of ‘specification' of the forger, allowing his intellectual profile and character to be outlined. The forger had certainly :
a. to discover the method of weaving practiced in Palestine at the time of Christ.
b. to recreate the type of craft used and to relearn the technique used to produce a roll of material of high quality
c. To weave this fabric in Palestine in order that it contains dust specific to that country (pollen in particular)
d. To transport the fabric by the route traditionally used to supplement the dust particles, with others specific to the various areas crossed.
e. To rediscover the original technique of crucifixion, to obtain all the secrets of it.
f. To crucify a man to have all the clinical traces of this torment in order to copy a part of it and to ‘transfer' the other part (traces of blood and various secretions).
g. To imagine a technique of reproduction of the image of the body of the torture victim by thermal radiation (reddening of the fabric).
h. To create a technology allowing the implementation of this technique.
i. To implement it in such a way that it is a photographic negative.
j. In a way such that it is still coded for a three-dimensional reading of the image.
k. And all this in preparation for an expert's investigation which would be carried out many years in the future in a remote time, where the technical means would exist to detect and appreciate these issues.
l. Such a work, realized at a time when the forger would be very distant from the pictorial cannons, so indecipherable, which would provoke the perplexity of all those that would not have good reasons to believe in a traditional history for the object.
m. To create a traditional history for the object and to spread it with enough psychology that it is accepted by a sufficiently large number of people who can thus protect it through the centuries.
The Master of Lirey
Therefore the Forger of Lirey was the most amazing genius in the history of humanity. One should not call him ‘Forger' but ‘Master'. After having defined the forger's astonishing capacities and his knowledge leaving far behind him all the ‘initiations' of history, to specify his personality without forgetting that no trace of him was left in the 14th century – another enigma !
Scientific coherence requires not only the proof of the historical existence of this Master, but also the reproduction of the forgery by using the techniques of the forger himself.
One must acknowledge that the ‘Master of Lirey'whose partisans of the forgery are unable to prove existed, never existed and that the Turin Shroud is very probably the authentic shroud of Christ.
The paradox of Turin
The detractors of the authenticity of the Shroud, who underline the tenuity of the former historical evidence from the 14th century, are not troubled by the total absence of the evidence of the existence of the Master of Lirey, or of the techniques, technologies and knowledge required by him or of their sources. It is certain that they have not even thought about it, driven more by an intention to deny than one to prove.
The paradox is that these partisans, often atheistic, act from a conviction based not on a scientific approach which they claim to have, but more on an act of faith : ‘The Shroud of Turin is a forgery because our conviction is that it cannot be true' ! This banal attitude on the part of the average reader or television viewer, constitutes by the partisan scientific community of the forgery what we call ‘The paradox of Turin'.
Moreover, the dating in 1988, was a long way from proceeding according to the most elementary of rules applied by scientists (reports, supervisors, traceability etc …). The carbon 14 dating offers no guarantees of reliability given to it by the media, the evidence against it abound.
A message for our time
We conclude that the Shroud of Turin originated in an ancient time, probably the 1st century of our era, where what we call ‘technology' was not yet born. It was right from the very start intended for our time when this technology to analyze it would exist. It is also probable that the Shroud has not yet transmitted all of its messages.
It is at the same time both the icon and the relic ‘par excellence' born in an ancient time for modern times.
Also the correct question posed by Father Thévenon is : ‘Why ?'
The correct image of the Sacred Heart
He formulated the first part of the reply thus :
‘It will be necessary for us to reconsider the Holy Shroud, its study and its diffusion. It is the universal icon for our 20th century and the powerful antidote against the heresy which currently develops in the Church ‘ (1985).
‘The Holy Shroud of Turin interests me more and more. This roll of material seems to me as being truly the land of the resurrection of Christ. It is very awkward for the current antechristic which currently develops in the Church ‘ (1998)
‘The true representation of the Sacred Heart, the simplest and most striking of images, is that of the Holy Shroud ‘.(1998)
The Holy Shroud is a relic of which every photograph is the "Acheiropoietos" icon (not made by the hand of man) of the Passion of Christ offered to each believer in modern times.
NAHUM (5) 1999
"A doctor at Calvary"
Dr Pierre BARBET
Published by Roman Catholic Books
"Relic, Icon or Hoax ? Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud"
Harry E Cole
Published by Doroty Crispino
Visit the sites :
http://www.factsplusfacts.com/ - many photographs
(1) "La passion selon le chirurgien" of Dr Pierre BARBET, is published in English under the title: "A doctor at Calvary" Dr Pierre BARBET Published by Roman Catholic Books
(4) Realized by the Italian lawyer Secondo PIA, the inverse revealed for the first time, the impression of the face of the crucified person.
(5) NAHUM is the name chosen by Father Thévenon as a signature for certain collective work realized under his direction. As a joke he also spoke of his ‘university'.