Friday, September 13, 2013

Visit to the Shroud of Turin

After the conference ended, I had one afternoon free before our plane back to Greece. Two kind women from Turin were at the monastery for the conclusion of the conference, and offered to drive me there, so I took them up on the offer. I walked around the city, and had a coffee at the square of the Royal Palace.

Another view of the Royal Palace.

Another another section of the Royal Palace. Toward the center, you can see the bell tower of the Turin Cathedral, where the Shroud of Turin is housed.

Above, the Turin Cathedral. There was a wedding going on when I arrived, but I quietly went over to the northeast corner of the church where the Shroud is housed in a chapel.

I was surprised that visitors aren't actually allowed to see any part of the Shroud. The chapel is closed off by glass, which I suppose is understandable, and then the Shroud is housed in a long bench-like special container, with temperature control, which I suppose is also understandable. What was less understandable to me was why they also had to drape a large cloth over it to prevent the visitor from even catching a glimpse of it. Apparently, one is supposed to simply contemplate its presence. I tried to communicate with the two church wardens, but they spoke only Italian, as was the case--I found--with many Italians. Through hand gestures, I pointed to a photo of the pope praying before an uncovered Shroud. I was then given to understand that this was only for the pope, and no one else.

Anyway, it was an interesting experience. From what I can gather, the 2008 BBC documentary on the Shroud is the best objective documentary, so I plan to watch that when I get a chance.

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