It’s the single most studied artifact in human history. And, yet, the 14-foot-long piece of linen remains a significant mystery.
Was it really the cloth that wrapped the crucified body of Jesus of Nazareth? Or is it a medieval fake — an elaborate hoax?
What clues the Shroud of Turin may provide for believers and non-believers alike will be presented CSI-investigation style at two churches next Sunday.
A museum-quality, life-size replica of the Shroud will also be on display.
“I’m not sure if people realize how unique and significant this is that we have this opportunity right here in our community,” said the Rev. “Father Brandon” Moravitz, pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, where “The Should of Turin (The Burial Cloth of Jesus)” will be held at 11:30 a.m., beginning with a sit-down brunch catered by Kunnari’s Kitchen Coffee House at 10 a.m. in the Virginia church’s social hall. Tickets are $10.
The dramatic big-screen experience featuring more than 200 images of all aspects of the Shroud will be presented by international expert Russ Breault, who has been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for more than 30 years, appearing on such nationally televised documentaries as “Mysteries of the Ancient World” on CBS, and “Uncovering the Face of Jesus” on The History Channel. He has also been interviewed on “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight” and was a consultant for CNN’s “Finding Jesus.”
The crime scene investigation approach will take audiences on a fast-paced and in-depth exploration into the mysteries of the Shroud of Turin, starting with early church history and ancient art and delving into modern science and medical forensics.
The same presentation will also be held at 6:30 p.m. at Resurrection Catholic Church in Eveleth. Appetizers and refreshments will be served in the parish hall at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.
“Whether one is a believer or not, the science itself is intriguing. This is no ordinary artifact. It has some elements to it that make you scratch your head and wonder,” Moravitz said.
“This has the potential to attract both skeptics and believers of Christ,” he said. “This is a presentation for people of all faiths. It also is this beautiful cross-section of science, history, mystery, theology and so much more.”
While the churches are intentionally hosting the “Shroud Encounter” during the Christian season of Lent, “a fitting time for us to gain further insight into the death and burial of Jesus Christ … we warmly welcome everyone — believers, non-believers, the curious and seekers of every kind,” said the Rev. Michael Garry of Resurrection parish.
“We would especially like to welcome our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters to join us,” he said.
The Shroud of Turin, which has been housed in Turin, Italy, for more than 400 years, bears the faint front and back image of a 5-foot-10-inch bearded, crucified man with apparent wounds and bloodstains that match the Crucifixion account of Christ as recorded in the Bible.
Millions of people through the centuries have believed it is the actual burial shroud of Jesus.
According to researchers, no visible trace of paint, pigment, dye or other artistic substances have been found on the cloth, which does contain human blood with human DNA.
There has been controversy over carbon dating of fragments of the Shroud, which has undergone thousands of hours of analysis. But even more is known about the mysterious cloth today.
“When I had the privilege of spending some time in the Holy Land, I was blessed to spend a day learning about the Shroud of Turin,” Moravitz said. “It blew my mind — all the incredible details and connections.”
Breault will walk the audience through the most current data as well as historical research, revealing clue after clue, as each piece of a big puzzle is explored.
“The Shroud of Turin is one of the most famous and well-researched miracles in the world,” Garry said. “It continues to astonish, confound and inspire both believers and non-believers.”
“We are so darned blessed” to host the event, Moravitz said. “It is the study of an historical artifact that surrounds an event that changed history. … It ends up being a beautiful reflection of Good Friday, the day in which Jesus was crucified.”
The research is “fascinating,” and “will leave you looking at the replica in awe of both faith and reason,” he said.
“I really hope we can fill our social hall. If anything, people will get an incredible sit-down brunch.”
The brunch at Holy Spirit will be served immediately after the 10 a.m. Mass, and will include waffles with homemade syrup, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, Danish pastries, cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, fruit, coffee and juice.
Space is limited; tables of eight to 12 can be reserved. Tickets are available at the Holy Spirit parish office or by calling 218-741-6344.
Leah Ryan contributed to this report.