2,000-YEAR HISTORY OF THE SHROUD: HOW EDESSA CLOTH BECAME SHROUD OF TURIN

 THE SHROUD JOURNEY THAT STARTED FROM JERUSALEM TO EDESSA TO CONSTANTINOPLE TO FRANCE AND FINALLY TURIN:

I. FROM JERUSALEM TO EDESSA: WHERE THE  JOURNEY BEGAN

A) ABGAR’S LETTER TO JESUS:

– In AD 27-36 the year Jesus was crucified, King of Armenia  Abgar V of City of Edessa ( today is Urfa, Eastern Turkey and 400 miles from Jerusalem ) was suffeing from an incurable disease and heard about the healing miracles Jesus was doing to many people in Israel. Abgar wrote a letter to Jesus talking about the miracles he had heard and asked him to come to Edessa to escape the hostile attack from the Jews. He also gave his courier Ananias, a painter,  an instruction to take accurate account of Jesus appearance, His stature and everything. 

-When Ananias arrived at Jerusalem, it was few days before the crucifixion. Ananias gave the letter to Jesus and while having a problem fixing the image of Jesus in his mind, Jesus asked for a towel to wash himself and then wiped the cloth on his face. With his image imprinted upon the towel, Jesus gave it to Ananias and told him that He will soon be going back to heaven but will send His disciple Thaddeus to guide the king and the city into all truth.

B) APOSTLE  THADDEUS  WENT  TO  EDESSA  BRINGING  THE  LINEN  CLOTH  WITH  HIM :

–  Thaddeus was one of the spostles of Jesus but was originally a native of Edessa. When he went to Jeruasalem to worship, he became a follower of John the Baptist, and then he followed Jesus and became his disciple. After Jesus went to heaven, Apostle Thomas commissioned 76 disciples to spread the Gospel and sent  Thaddeus to Edessa to heal Abgar and to preach the Gospel.  Arriving at Edessa, he stayed at the house of a wealthy Jewish convert named Tobias. Thaddeus also brought with him a linen cloth that has an imprint of a man. ( The Gospel talked about linens left around the empty tomb of Jesus – John 20:6-7; Matt: 27:59; Luke 23:53 )

– Abgar upon learning that Thaddeus is in the city immediately sent for the apostle. Thaddeus using the name of Jesus healed Abgar and also all the sick people in Edessa. As he preached the gospel, the whole town was baptized and converted to Christianity  and the pagan temples were shut down and all the pagan idols were hidden covered by reeds. But Thaddeus did not stay at Edessa very long, he left for Syria and he appointed a silk-headresses manufacturer convert named Aetteus to minister the city.

– Abgar after his coversion wrote letters about Jesus to Roman Emperor Tiberius, Persian King Ardaches  and the young King of Assyria Nerseh. These letters were all stored in the archives of Abgar at Edessa and was first translated by Roman historian Eusebius.

C) ABGAR’S  DEATH  AND  THE REDISCOVERY OF THE EDESSA IMAGE:  

– 50 AD:  Abgar died and his son Ananoun took over but he reverted back to paganism and persecuted the Christians. During this time of persecution, the Bishop of Edessa decided to hide the linen cloth inside the city wall.

– 525 AD: After a flood by Daisan river, the linen cloth was rediscovered inside the wall above one of the gates of Edessa. It was put inside the church of Hagia Sophia which was the biggest cathedral in the world until 1520 and its Byzantine design became the model for future design of Ottoman mosques.

D) THE IMAGE OF EDESSA PROCESSION: A HOLY WEEK TRADITION

-Pilgrims and the Edessan populace would line up outside the cathedral porticoes to look through a grille the casket chest that contains the image. There was also a tradition of procession of the chest on Sunday before the beginning of the Lent. And on the fourth day of the Lent, the Archbishop of Edessa alone will be allowed to enter the image shrine and open up the chest where the Edessa image was laid.

II.  FROM EDESSA TO CONSTANTINOPLE

-Byzantine General John Kourkouas was commanded an army to fight the invading Muslims and tried to attack Edessa since 942 so it could recover the Edessa cloth. In exchange for 200 muslim prisoners, the emir gave John the Edessa cloth and took  it to Constantinople ( Instanbul today )which was the capital of the struggling empire.

-August 15, 944: Mandylion ( Edessa cloth ) arrived at Constantinople staged with triumphant entry and great celebration by Emperor Romanus. It was put inside the chapel of Church of the Virgin of Pharos located inside the Great Palace. There was a tradition that every Friday the Mandylion would be shown to the people, a ceremony of unfurling the linen then raising it like a banner. The Mandylion remained in Constantinople until 1240.

III.  THE 1204 SACK OF CONSTANTINOPLE

– April 12, 1204:  The Fourth Crusaders, led by French army leaders, invaded Constatinople and looted, raped, ransacked and stole religious relics.

– Knight Robert de Clari  who was present during the three-day siege asked who took the linen that wrapped Jesus body.Theodore Angelos, nephew of deposed Byzantine emperors, wrote a letter to Pope Innocent III protesting the attack and the looting of religious relics especially the disappearance of the linen that Jesus was wrapped after his death.

IV.  FROM  CONSTANTINOPLE  TO  FRANCE:  GEOFFREY DE CHARNEY THE FIRST RECORDED OWNER OF THE SHROUD

–  Since the leaders of the Fourth Crusade were French, it was believed that Baldwin II of Constantinpole, the newly appointed emperor after the invasion, sold many of the looted relics to King Louis IX of France. In 1241, the Mandylion ( Edessa cloth) was  housed in Saint Chapelle in Paris. During the French Revolution, the church was greatly damaged and many of its stored religious relics disappeared.

– KNIGHTS TEMPLAR ( 1129-1312 ) was an organization of christian civilian soldiers with the role to protect the Pilgrims. They were also the most skilled fighters during the crusades and also became the “bank” or protector of wealth and properties of pilgrims/crusaders who went to the Holy Land. It was believed they posessed the Shroud after the  Sack of Constantinople.

– In 1314, Pope Clement V and King Philip IV arrested the Templar Knights accusing them of “idol worshiping” a bearded man and among other things. Its two leaders Jacques de Molay and Geoffrey de Charney were burned at stake.  

– One of the recent discovery is from the Vatican archive wherein in 1287 a Templar Knight revealed that part of the Templar Knights ritual was to kiss a cloth that has an image of a man.

–  1349 : Geoffrey de Charney, nobleman and grandson of Templar Knights founder with the same name who was burned at stake in 1314, wrote to Pope Clement VI about his plan to build a church at Lirey, France. He claimed to possess the shroud which he put inside the church he built, the  St. Mary of Lirey.

–   1355 THE  FIRST PUBLIC EXHIBIT : Large crowds of pilgrims visited the first public exhibit and special medallion souveniers were struck  which can still be found at Cluny Museum in Paris. Bishop Henri stopped the exhibit and the shroud was kept hidden in the posession of de Charney.

V.  FROM FRANCE TO ITALY: FROM DE CHARNEY  TO THE HOUSE  OF  SAVOY

– 1453: Margaret de Charney sold the Shroud to Anne of Cyprus, Duchess of Savoy ( Italy) during the time when city of Liney demanded that she give it back to them.

– 1471-1502: The Shroud was moved all over eight cities in Europe for public exhibit.  The cities were Chambery, Vercelli, Turin, Susa, Ivrea, Moncalieri, Pinerolo, Savigliano

– June 11, 1502: The Shroud was bo longer allowed to travel but was kept  inside the Royal Chapel of Chambery Castle.

– April 14, 1503 GOOD FRIDAY : Savoy courtier recorded the authentincity of the Shroud that it had been tried by fire, boiled on water, laundered many times and still the image remains.

– December 4, 1532 : A fire broke out inside the chapel which melted the Shroud casket but did not damage the Shroud except for a certain edge of the linen. The nuns repaired the damage.

– Sunday October 12, 1578: Turin Cathedral became the permanent place for the Shroud of Turin. The even was attended by 40,000 people.

VI . FROM FIRST PHOTOGRAPH TO FIRST TELEVISION EXHIBIT

– MAY 28, 1898 : THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SHROUD TAKEN BY AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER SECONDO PIA.

– NOVEMBER 23, 1973: The first television viewing of the Shroud intrpduced by Pope Paul VI.

– FEBRUARY 19, 1976 : Sandia Laboratories in US discovered that the Shroud of Turin is a 3D image of a 3D man. This discovery led to the formation of STURP ( Shroud of Turin Reseach Project ). That year,  they discovered that the pollen in the Shroud  ca be found only in Jerusalem.

– MARCH 18, 1983 : The death of formal owner King Umberto II of Cascais bequeathed the Shroud to the Pope with the agreement it’s going to stay in Turin.

– MARCH 30, 2013 : On Holy Saturday, a 90-minute broadcast from Turin Cathedral will show the Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud of Turin has 2,000 years of history. To deny its history is to deny the truth and to deny the truth is the lack of courage to believe that Jesus was here 2,000 years ago and the blood stained linen wrapped around his body that He left in his tomb is His way of testing the heart of  mankind to either believe or deny the truth.

 Copyright 2013 K. V. Schauf

  Poster advertising the 1898 exhibition of the ...

Abgar V of Edessa, the first Christian monarch...

Abgar V of Edessa, the first Christian monarch in history, holding the Image of Edessa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The East Gate, Ancient Edessa

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