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Turin Shroud display set for Norwich Cathedral

TurinShroud400A full-size copy of the world-famous Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, is coming to St John the Baptist Cathedral, Norwich later this month. Keith Morris reports.

The special educational exhibition features life-sized photographic replicas of the Shroud. They make up a visual aid to tell the story of Christ’s crucifixion from his trial on Good Friday to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. 

Cathedral education officer, Jo Anderton, said: “The exhibition should help the visitor understand the nature of the Passion of Christ and the story of Easter. The Shroud of Turin also offers a mystery story that ties together many different disciplines - religion, science, art, archaeology and history and yet even in the 21st century there are no answers to the question ‘How was the image formed?’
“The actual Shroud was on show in 2010 in Turin and is not scheduled to be exhibited again until 2025, therefore this is a remarkable opportunity to see something which still causes worldwide debate, irrespective of faith.”
In December 2011, Italian scientists said that because the image on the Shroud of Turin could not have been made by any technology available in medieval times the Shroud is probably the burial cloth of Jesus. 
The Shroud shows the image of a man who appears to have been crucified and the scientific team attempted to “identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a colour similar to that of the image on the Shroud.” They tried to recreate the shade of colour, which is like a scorched ironing board cover and the depth to which it penetrates the cloth by using short bursts of ultra violet light, using lasers. They managed to re-create a small section of cloth with some of the properties of the Shroud (at least at a microscopic level) by this method. 
They concluded that “some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength)” created the image on the Shroud of Turin.   As ultra violet lasers were not available to medieval forgers it opens the possibility that the Shroud is actually Jesus’ burial cloth, the image being created at the point of resurrection. 
One of the scientists, Dr Paolo Di Lazzaro, the head of the team, said: “When one talks about a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things like miracles and resurrection. But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes. We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate but we will leave the conclusions to the experts, and ultimately to the conscience of individuals.”
The Italian team’s research follows on from the work of other scientists like Dr Ray Rogers who was able to show that the carbon date of the Shroud that suggested it was medieval was contaminated by later additions that had been used to repair the cloth. 
The Shroud of Turin exhibition includes a beautiful 15-foot replica image which is a photograph printed onto cotton by an American photographer, Barrie Schwortz, who was the official photographer at the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) examination of the Shroud in 1978.
The full-length replica is very rare and this is the only one on display in Britain. The genuine Shroud of Turin is preserved with great reverence in the Cathedral of Turin.
Pam Moon, curator of the exhibition, said: “It is possible to get an idea of the Shroud from television pictures, books, magazines and newspapers articles, but seeing it in its entirety is very challenging and moving.” 
One of the purposes of the exhibition is to show how brutal crucifixion really was and to tell the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. The exhibition includes original Roman nails, a replica whip and a spear. And there are information boards about art, history and the latest research on the Shroud.
The exhibition has travelled widely and has been on display at Westminster Cathedral, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Coventry Cathedral. Norwich Catholic Cathedral welcomes visitors to see the exhibition and make up their own minds about the Shroud of Turin.
The exhibition will be open from Tuesday February 28 to Saturday March 3 and again from Monday March 5 to Saturday March 10, outside of St John the Baptist Cathedral service times.
Opening hours will be 11am to 4pm, individual or small groups of visitors welcome.
To book a slot for a larger group to view this free exhibition, or for any information, please contact Jo Anderton, Education Officer, at education@sjbcathedral.org.uk or on 01603 724381.

Picture of the Turin Shroud © Barrie M Schwortz. 1978 All rights reserved


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