August 16 church calendar and how I learned about the Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is revered as the burial garment of Jesus Christ by many Christians today and has been in the past throughout the ages. However, I had never heard much about it until about 6 years ago.
The Eastern Orthodox church has a church calendar which notes and commemorates many events found in the Bible and in church history. It includes events such as the killing of some of the martyrs and the early councils of the church. This calendar has developed since the early centuries of the church and the events on this calendar are noted each year. On August 16 the church calendar reads “Translation of the image of Christ.” On this date in the year 944, this image was brought from the area of Edessa to Constantinople, the Byzantine capital for safekeeping, since Edessa was controlled by Islam. On August of 2015 I heard a speaker talk about this event, this commemoration of the image of Christ called an “Image made without hands.” The speaker mentioned that many historians now feel that this image of Edessa is the same as the Shroud of Turin.
May interest was piqued and I bought a lot of books on the Shroud of Turin and studied them thoroughly. That a church calendar to this day commemorates an event which happened in the year 944 regarding the “Image not made with Hands” of Jesus Christ is astounding to me.
The Shroud is 14 feet long and 3.5 feet wide and has been kept in Turin, Italy since 1578. It is made out of flax using manufacturing techniques available in the first century. It bears the faint front and back images of a 5′ 10″ man who appears to have died from crucifixion.
A team of 24 highly qualified scientists from the US had direct access to the cloth for five days in 1978. They performed dozens of tests, took hundreds of particle samples and took thousands of photographs. The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) announced their findings in 1981. The following is an excerpt:
“There are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately…We can conclude for now that the Shroud Image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin.”
We find that the internet seems to have plenty of anti-Christian sentiment. Thus it it no surprise that some information on the internet regarding the Shroud of Turin can be very skeptical. But for anyone willing to give it some study and thought, I believe they will find the Shroud to be absolutely authentic and to be a real blessing to them, especially as they contemplate eternal life.
I have a chapter on the Shroud in my book. You can purchase a copy of the book, Sacred Strands, the Story of a Redeemer Woven Through History, on my website, here.