A new exhibition on the Shroud of Turin, a relic that has fascinated theologians and academics for centuries, is to open in Knock Museum on April 1.
The exhibition will include a lifesize, 15-feet photograph of the famous shroud, which was taken by the official photographer at the Shroud of Turin Research Project in 1978.
The Shroud of Turin, housed in the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, has been described as one of the most interesting and controversial objects in human history.
It is a linen sheet bearing a mysterious image of a naked man with injuries consistent with crucifixion, including head wounds, a pierced arm and pierced feet.
Many Christians believe the Shroud is the cloth in which Jesus of Nazareth was wrapped and buried following his death.
However, many others believe the Shroud to be a medieval hoax created by a clever artist in the Middle Ages.
The exhibition, opening in the museum at Knock Shrine on April 1, will include information about the art, history, and latest research on the Shroud.
Very little is known about the shroud’s actual origin or its history before the 1300s.
While laboratories in the US, England, and Switzerland carried out carbon dating tests on the shroud in 1988, and dated it to sometime between 1260 and 1390, the tests did not halt the debate about the authenticity of the object.
Many scientists and shroud proponents have since put forward theories questioning the accuracy of the carbon dating tests and offered other evidence that the shroud does indeed date back to the time of Jesus.
The Catholic Church has never issued its definitive position on the status of the shroud.
Pope John Paul II arranged a public viewing of it in 1998 and, in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI described it as a ‘sacred cloth’.
Grace Mulqueen, curator of Knock Museum, said the exhibition aims to use the replica of the shroud as a visual aid to tell the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and to examine the mystery of the cloth.
“The exhibition has travelled widely and has been on display at Westminster Cathedral, the Pro Cathedral in Dublin, and the North Cathedral Cork,” she said.
“We are delighted to host this unique exhibition, which, very fittingly, opens at the museum during Holy Week.”
The exhibition will run daily from 10am to 6pm from April 1 to 26.