Naturalist and Geologist - Collegamento pro Sindone
© 1988 All rights reserved
Collegamento pro Sindone - November/December 1988 Issue

Choosing the angle for cutting the samples
Choosing the angle for cutting the samples to be dated by
radiocarbon. From left to right in foreground Cardinal
A. Ballestrero, Prof. F. Testore, Prof. G. Riggi.
(Fototeca 3M)

"Venerable icon of Christ, that remains object of the believers veneration...." Yes, read over and over again, Cardinal A. Ballestrero statement says really this. And then there is something strange. To tell the truth in this 14C matter the strange things are quite a lot, but for the moment let's dwell upon this: "icon of Christ". Was the Shroud painted? No. And then what kind of icon is it? It's easy to answer: "icon in the sense of image". But whose image? And how was it realized? The mystery becomes a detective story.

A thing is certain: with the Shroud was wrapped a dead body, which let impressed upon it in a still inesplicable way, his detailed image, dotted of blood stains. If this burial happened in the Middle Ages, the dead body, according to the rules of logic, could not be that one of Christ; otherwise we should think, like somebody jokingly told, that Jesus returned on the earth in the Middle Ages for a second mission, finished like the first one but without leaving historical traces! Or we should admit a clamorous miracle: a cloth upon which appears an image of Christ studded with blood stains, always, however, without leaving the slightest sign in the history in spite of the exceptionality of the miracle.

Being expected that Cardinal Ballestrero is very abreast, we can be sure he doesn't consider the Shroud a painting or however a fake, hypoteses by now definitely excluded by tens of scientific tests. And then, what kind of icon could it be? A bloody icon, the funeral shroud of a poor man killed sadisticly imitating the Passion of Christ, moreover guessing some details absolutely unknown and unthinkable in the Middle Ages. How could be venerated an object that would result grisly and repugnant? Anything else than an icon like an image of the invisible God, a link between the earth and the sky! Or the Shroud is the authentic relic of the Passion of Christ, and then it is a precious witness of the immense sacrifice for the redemption of humanity; or it is medieval, and then it is the gruesome fruit of an horrendous crime.

The medieval date and the veneration are in evident contrast, as well as it is in contrast the medieval date with the whole volume of the other scientific data. Science could not contradict itself! Countless logical considerations and tens of scientific tests are in favour of the authenticity of this unique Linen. How could be attributed to it a medieval date, it is a mystery not inferior to the other ones! Waiting for other tests on this unique cloth that challenges science, I prefer continuing to call icon a piece of wood on which somebody, with sacrifice and prayers, paints for centuries a face of Christ that so much look like that one on the Shroud.