Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shroud of Turin

Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus. By others it is believed to be a painting. In 1988, a Carbon 14 test dated the shroud to the 14th century (1300's). This seemed to confirm the long-held view of skeptics, and for some the issue of the Shroud's authenticity ceased to be relevant. Somewhat humorously, one rumor that caught on and is widely held is that Leonardo de Vinci forged the Shroud using photographic techniques available to him. This idea makes no sense since Leonardo wasn't born until a century after the Carbon 14 says the shroud was made. Leonardo was born in the middle of the 15th century.

Veronica's handkerchief
Another famous Christian relic, one of legend, is called Veronica's handkerchief, also known as the sudarium. This is a cloth that was believed was used to wipe Jesus' face during the walk to Golgatha. This event is actually the sixth Station of the Cross in Catholicism. It is also depicted in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of Christ. Veronica's handkerchief is indelibly linked to the Shroud of Turin because some have contended that purported eyewitness accounts of the sudarium were actually misidentifications of the Shroud itself, wrapped up to hide that it was a burial cloth, an unclean object in ancient Judaism.

In 1933 the Shroud of Turin was shown in Italy during one of its several exhibitions throughout its history. Of course there was a lot of press concerning this exhibit. Luckily Elizabeth Patterson, a devotee of Meher Baba, had the presence of mind to ask Meher Baba if the Shroud of Turin was truly the burial cloth of Jesus. Baba answered that it was, but that Veronica's handkerchief was a myth.

For those that are skeptical that this is possible, check this out.

Update 9-18-14:

I spoke to Tom Riley today on the Meher Center and asked him to confirm my account. He did not attribute it to Elizabeth Patterson but said it is in print that Baba said this. My father may have heard this also from Elizabeth Patterson which accounts for my memory putting the two accounts together. So it is very possible it was Elizabeth who said this to my father, about her asking Baba about the shroud during the highly publicized 1933 exhibit of the shroud in Turin, and that Baba telling her pointedly it was the authentic shroud. Tom also confirmed my father's account that Baba said definitely that Veronica's handkerchief was a myth.

The 1933 exhibit my father referred to in conveying to me what he heard Elizabeth say was easy to document. The exhibit occurred between Sept. 24 and Oct. 15. It was not exhibited again until 1978, when the famous tests were done.


  1. There is some evidence that the portion of the shroud that they tested was a later repair and that the patter of the rest of the shroud is consistent with the weaving pattern and constitution of those fabrics woven at the time of Jesus Christ. Also, apparently Baba told Elizabeth Patterson, or someone of her time, that it was indeed the Shroud surrounding Jesus Christ.

    1. as you said, I meant, with regard to Eliz Patterson. I wonder if there is a place where that was documented at the time.

    2. The person who one should talk to is Tom Riley. I have year after year forgotten to ask him when I see him and he is getting old. For my father said that it was he who Elizabeth confided this in. I think he lives in Asheville, NC.

    3. Update: I spoke to Tom Riley today about this and he said that it is documented in writing but he does not remember where.