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The Holy Shroud of Christ

(A scientific investigation)

We will find the way to pass from spiritual death to eternal life only when we become able to appreciate in full measure the pre-resurrection suffering of the Son of God, our Saviour, Who has been rejected by our contemporary neo-pagan world.

The Lord foresees everything. He knows our current anguish, and now He gives us the possibility to recognize and deeply feel the measure of the suffering of His Son, Who had been sent to us for our salvation. Thus, even a little while ago, many of us had not even heard that for one thousand nine hundred seventy-four years there has existed on earth a highly sacred object, which the holy Evangelists mention in speaking of the taking down of Christ’s Body from the Cross and of its placement in the sepulcher, – a burial shroud that covered the Body from the moment of its placement and until the time of the Resurrection.

The burial of Christ
The burial of Christ

The Evangelists John and Luke tell us of the winding sheets seen by the Apostles Peter and John, lying in Christ’s empty sepulcher on the third day after His burial. From this point begins the history of the Holy Shroud. On these winding sheets, seeped in aromatic oils as was customary, up to this day remain the bloody traces of all Christ’s wounds, beatings, and crucifixion. The Shroud of Christ is not only one of the greatest sacred objects of the entire enlightened Christian world, but it is also an extremely powerful and significant document. Now it lies before us, in order that we truly feel the full measure of the suffering undergone for our sake by the Son of God Himself, and that we understand the entire horror of our fall and reach out for spiritual regeneration.

It is impossible in a brief article to report on all that is already known of the Holy Shroud. We must content ourselves with only the most necessary information, which we attempt to do below.

The appearance of the Holy Shroud in Europe

During the so-called Crusades in the 12th-13th centuries, when the Crusaders departed from Europe to win back the Holy Land from the Moslems, the Holy Shroud appeared in France, in the city of Besancon, brought back from the Holy Land by the Crusaders. At that time the Shroud was privately owned. Attempts to acquire earlier data on the Shroud led French and Italian scientists and clergymen back to Constantinople, to the 11th century, because the pilgrims who traveled in the course of many centuries to venerate the holy sites begin from the 11th century to mention the Holy Shroud in their written testimonials. According to the pilgrims, the Shroud was brought out every week for veneration by the faithful in Constantinople, in a special chapel, because at that time the Shroud belonged to the Greek Orthodox Emperor, i.e. was in the bosom of the Orthodox Church.

In 1205 the Catholic Crusaders unexpectedly attacked Constantinople, took the city and ravaged it. At that time the Shroud was still in Constantinople, but after the siege it vanished without a trace, and nothing is known about it for the next 150 years.

Research on the Shroud and its history thus far does not go back beyond the above-mentioned dates. However, it should be remembered that neither the East, nor the Holy Land have been fully studied yet. Perhaps future research in the East will fill in the picture. For example, a certain researcher in the Palestine, having on hand some ancient reference notes found by him in the margins of an old Bible manuscript, after three years of devoted work discovered parts of the first recorded Gospels of Christ’s contemporaries. The discovered writings, found by the researcher in one of the most ancient Christian monasteries, were handwritten by the Holy Apostles in the first century A.D.

As far as our current research is concerned, the Holy Shroud was discovered only in the mid-14th century in France. In 1349 the Shroud was to be found in the cathedral of Besancon; the cathedral was destroyed by fire, but the Shroud escaped destruction. This event was documented. Afterwards the Holy Shroud was kept as private property in the city of Liri until 1389. In 1502 in turned up in Chambery, where in 1532 in was again in a fire, and finally, in 1578, the Holy Shroud became the property of the Dukes of Savoy and was transferred to Turin (Italy), where it remains up to the present, in a glass casket in a chapel.

The Holy Shroud of Christ drew attention of the faithful from ancient times. Its veneration raised a desire in people to have a copy of it in their possession. For this reason, at various times throughout the Middle Ages and later, artists of different nationalities and talents attempted to sketch on canvas the outline of Christ’s Body, using the traces of blood on the Shroud as a design. This kind of work was done by many famous European painters, such as Rafael, Leonardo da Vinci, Velasquez, Michelangelo, Titian, and numerous second-rate masters. This means that there was a time when for several centuries the Holy Shroud was a well-known relic and was accessible for veneration and viewing in European countries.

A certain French natural scientist took photographs of some of the artistic depictions of the Shroud. In comparison to the image of the Saviour which we now see on photographs of the Shroud itself, the depictions have little in common with the original. And that is understandable, since the painters were able to use only the barely traceable stains on the sheet of the Shroud. However, this served as an excuse for opponents of the Holy Shroud to assert that the Shroud did not exist at all. And it was only photography which caused a radical change in the issue of the Shroud’s authenticity. This occurred only at the end of the 19th century.

The Holy Shroud on film

In the 18th century, when photography was still unknown, the historians Bolet and Fleury began doubting the authenticity of the Shroud. On the basis of their evidence the Pope decided to declare the Shroud to be a reproduction of the original. This was the last result of research done in a primitive manner.

In 1898, with the approval of the Italian King Humberto, the Shroud was photographed for the first time. The picture was taken by the specialist M. Pia. He took several pictures, and what appeared on the film amazed the entire world. This was the first step towards a scientific investigation of the Shroud, which by now has been completed, and its positive results are well-known; however, various opponents of acknowledging this greatest Christian relic have still not been able to calm down.

The Shroud represents a linen sheet, so fine that it can be compared to our modern cambric. This circumstance proved to be of great significance, since the sheet adhered easily and closely to the still humid Body of Christ, after it was taken down from the cross and placed in the sepulcher.

The sheet of the Shroud, as was established by the scientific researcher of Egyptian tombs Gaye and the director of the museum of materials Terme, by its thinness and manufacture belongs to the age of Jesus Christ and is among the kind of materials used by Jews in those times to bury their dead. The Shroud is 4 meters 36 cm long and 1 meter 10 cm wide. On its surface, which has yellowed with age and under the influence of high temperatures, there are brownish and reddish stains that follow the form of a human body but do not firmly delineate its contours, for nothing else shows itself to the naked eye except these stains. The traces of a wounded human body are repeated on the sheet twice – front and back, which presented the following picture when the Shroud was photographed: one half of the sheet had been spread over the tomb, upon which a body had been placed on its back and then covered over with the second half of the sheet, with the material being folded over at the head.

The Holy Shroud
The Holy Shroud

When the Shroud was photographed, the most amazing thing was the fact that the dark stains on the sheet came out light on the film, i.e. contrary to the usual situation of the film being a negative, it turned out to be a positive image, while it was the sheet itself that was a negative! We are including a sample photographic image of that part of the Shroud which covered the front of the Saviour’s body.

After the Shroud was photographed, it generated interest among the scientific community; subsequently it became an object of meticulous study by the French Sorbonne and the top specialists it invited to participate in the project.

With the European skepticism towards “unreal” objects that was so characteristic of the 19th century, the Shroud was analyzed by prominent physicists, chemists, archaeologists, anatomists, sculptors, artists, historians, photographers, painters, and lawyers. After intense research over the course of several years, in 1901 the president of the French Academy of Sciences acknowledged the Shroud as an original, i.e. as the genuine cloth that had covered the Holy Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Holy Shroud was photographed for the last time in 1931. Afterwards this photo-graph was greatly magnified and analyzed. The purpose of the analysis was to establish in final form whether there were any traces of paints or other artificial coloring substances, which could confirm the artificiality of the Shroud’s negativity, for this issue continued to be raised over and over again by opponents of acknowledging the “Turin cloth.”

In confirmation of previous analyses, this one also established the complete absence of any paints on the cloth and in its material. The fixed technique of photography once again played a decisive role.

In several places of the Shroud (along the creases of the cloth), the photograph shows triangles that differ in color from the material of the Shroud, as though they were placed on top of the cloth. These were, in fact, pieces of a different type of material, placed in the form of patches on the spots where the cloth of the Shroud was twice subjected to burning, being in a fire.

The first time this happened in the city of Bezancon (France) in 1349, when the Holy Shroud was kept in the local cathedral. After the fire in the cathedral, the cloth was found unharmed but wet from the water used to extinguish the fire. In order to be assured that this cloth was truly the same Shroud that had lain in the burned down cathedral, the Shroud was placed over a dead man. The dead man arose. This event was confirmed not only by the contemporary chronicles of the Bezancon cathedral, but also in the writings of witnesses of this miracle. The Shroud was genuinely damaged during the second fire, which took place in the castle of Chambery, where the Shroud had been kept since 1502 as private property. Flames enveloped the iron box in which the Shroud was kept, and the box heated up extremely. At high temperatures the creases of the material also heated up and especially the corners of the Shroud, which was folded up in the box as sheets or tablecloths are folded. The overheated material in those spots crumbled. In 1534 the Shroud was taken to the monastery at St. Clair, where the nuns tried to repair the cloth. Traces of these repairs are now seen on the photograph, while the white transverse lines that are seen on the cloth are traces of creases from the cloth lying folded up for such a long time. These creases also prove the negativity of the cloth, since all creases on a positive image are usually darker and not brighter than their background.

How the cloth produced a negative photo image of Christ

Scientists set themselves the task of clarifying the issue of whether the “Turin cloth” is the genuine holy Shroud of Christ, or is the work of a counterfeiter who was obviously a genius.

The starting point consisted of two possibilities: either the counterfeiter drew the body, or he printed it from a model or drawing. Drawing was excluded, because firstly, all the proportions on the photographic image of the body were contrary to the rules of medieval art, for it does not know such perfection of form. This was determined by painting experts. Secondly, the image of the body on the photograph is so lifelike that it is a one-of-a-kind imprint. Thirdly, the imprint on the cloth is undoubtedly a negative, since the light and shadow on it are in reverse to the light and shadow on objects as the eye sees them. Moreover, it was established that the Shroud itself is an ideal negative both in terms of tints and distance of proportions, which was confirmed by numerous experiments. The “Turin cloth” has been known since the 14th century. Prior to the 19th century no one had any idea of photography, not to mention negatives and their characteristics. Who precisely could have drawn a negative on the cloth of the Shroud? No one, not even the greatest genius.

Then a certain scientist by the name of Chopin hypothesized that the image was drawn as a positive, i.e. done as a drawing, but over the course of time and under the influence of chemical transformations of material, the drawing turned into a negative. In connection with this theory an experiment was conducted in photographing frescoes in the cathedral of Assisi, which were drawn with colors that darkened with time. The experiment produced negative results. Other complex experiments were conducted, which established that it was physically impossible to draw in color an image of the human body or anything else for that matter on such a thin material as constituted the Shroud. Moreover, later, when analyzing greatly enlarged photographs of the Shroud in 1931, it was determined that even if such a drawing had been produced, in the fires of 1349 and 1532 the colors would have completely disappeared under the influence of high temperatures and the effect of water. Fourthly, the Shroud could not have been drawn also because both the front and the back of the photograph are so symmetrical and correspond so correctly and accurately when folded up, that no doubt is left that the image preserved by the photograph in two forms is the imprint of one and the same object obtained simultaneously.

Then the supposition arose that the counterfeiting genius simply imprinted the Shroud. The imprint could have been made either from a drawing or an object. In this case it was to be assumed that there was either a model or a body of a person. In order to clarify this issue, a series of experiments was conducted by the sculptor Dr. Risher, who was known for his work in artistic anatomy. Dr. Risher experimented many times with both models and bodies, and after tireless efforts he succeeded in obtaining an imprint of the human body. However, this imprint turned out to be far inferior to the one on the Shroud. At this point scientists came to the conclusion that no ancient or medieval counterfeiter could have made a better imprint that the Sorbonne of the 20th century, with all its equipment and scientific capabilities.

How the cloth produced a negative photo image of Christ

After conducting concrete experiments which confirmed the impossibility of some unknown falsifier having drawn or impressed the Shroud, scientists turned their attention to the chemical origin of the Shroud’s negative condition. Here science was able to provide even more irrefutable conclusions.

The famous physicist Colson ran a series of experiments that provided the following picture: there is absolutely no doubt that the image discovered on the Shroud through photography is the result of chemical reactions from the intermingling of the exudation from the body of a dead person and the fragrant substances with which Jews customarily saturated their burial shrouds.

These fragrant substance are well-known even now – aloes and myrrh. In Christ’s times these substances were used to saturate the burial shroud, as well as anoint the body of the deceased. Prior to that, according to the law, the body had to be washed. During the washing of the body, the exudation that naturally covered the body of the deceased was washed off. The chemical composition of the exudation from a deceased person is always the same; however, the body of a person who died as a result of lengthy physical suffering exudes several substances in increased amounts.

Judging from the thick and abundant blood stains on the material of the Shroud, and also from the chemical reactions that occurred under the Shroud above and below the body, scientists came to the conclusion that the body lying under the Turin Shroud was not washed in accordance with Jewish custom.

How could that happen?

If Christ’s body had been washed, this would have become known from the Gospel. However, not one of the four Evangelists mentions anything about washing the body as it was taken down from the cross and laid in the sepulcher, or about anointing it with fragrant substances. The absence of the one and the other ritual is explained by the fact that the noble Joseph, who took Christ’s body down from the cross, did not have enough time. Christ died three hours after His crucifixion; by the time the news reached Arimathea where Joseph was living, by the time he came to Golgotha, as well as Nicodemus, who “brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight” (John 19:39), by the time they freed the body from the nails and took it down, it was already Friday evening, the eve of Sabbath (Sabbath began after 6:00 in the evening), when all movement became unlawful, and for this reason it was necessary to hurry, because there was barely time to lay the body in the sepulcher, and there was no question of being able to wash it.

The Entombment of Christ
The Entombment of Christ

Consequently, the unwashed body could not be buried either, but laid temporarily (the expression used by all the Evangelists) in the sepulcher; this means that neither was the body tightly wound up in the burial shroud, as required by Jewish law, even though it was covered with Nicodemus’ fragrances. This gives rise to a simple probability: in expectation of burial, the body was placed in the sepulcher on one half of a winding sheet, while the other half was used to cover Him, after which they closed off the entrance with a stone and went away, intending to finish the burial after the holiday. The shroud turned out to be saturated with aloes and myrrh.

In view of the existing circumstances, the chemical composition of the body’s exudation acted unimpeded upon the chemical composition of the aloes and oxidized the shroud in the same manner as does a chemical negative. If the body had been washed, then the negative image would hardly have appeared on the shroud at all; at any rate, the ideal regularity and accuracy of the image that was revealed by photography would have been absent.

Colson determined the kind of exudation that could have decomposed the aloes and produced a negative image on the shroud. Aloes contains aloin, which in combination with water becomes yellow and in combination with alkaline becomes orange; aloes also contains aloetin, which is easily oxidized and creates a brownish substance, especially in combination with alkaline. The question then arose as to whether a body can exude alkaline, which, in combination with aloetin, would remotely produce a negative image, and under what conditions.

Colson noted that in the places where the Shroud contains brownish spots, the aloes is firmly attached to the sheet, as though encrusted within the threads; in places where there has been no chemical reaction and there are no spots, the powder of aloes can simply be brushed off. In places that have been oxidized more strongly, the spots are dark brown in color.

Human sweat normally contains urea, chlorine, sodium, various alkaline salts, and other mineral salts. But in the sweat of a dying person the urea increases tremendously. In the presence of a great number of illnesses and high fever, human sweat has a normal amount of ammonium carbonate, while if the human body is in agony – its sweat contains a great deal of urea. The body of a person dying of physical suffering is usually covered with intense perspiration, which gradually evaporates. If these vapors, naturally full of the chemical substances mentioned above, meet up with the unguent of aloes (for example, covering the shroud), then the fermenting urea exudes ammonium carbonate, whose vapors oxidize the aloetin and leaves trace similar to a chemical negative. Such a chemical process occurred on the Shroud covering the body that was exuding mortal perspiration.

The Holy Shroud of Christ
The Holy Shroud of Christ

Bloody traces of wounds became imprinted of their own accord from the spine, legs, and the entire front part of the body, because the wounds were still oozing blood, having been disturbed when the body was taken off the nails. Since there were many wounds on the head (especially the back of it) from the crown of thorns (which, according to the distribution of the wounds, had the form of a hat and not a narrow crown), the outline of the head and of the body as a whole was exactly and clearly confirmed point by point on the negative, which provided an exact delineation of the body in all its details. Christ’s head and face were impressed more clearly than other parts of the body, mainly because the face was lying higher that its other points, and for this reason the material stuck to it more closely and firmly.

Thus there is nothing extraordinary in the above-mentioned description of the negative image of Christ the Saviour’s body from a medical point of view. The value of the scientists’ evidence lies in the fact that assertions of a possible falsification of the Shroud in ancient or medieval times by primitive means and primitive techniques now appear to be invalid. One of the scientists, Dr. Hynek (Prague) indicates that the methods of chemical analysis described above are currently used in forensic medicine.

Thus all the facts of human knowledge mentioned above, which are usually full of scientific skepticism and materialism, have come to the aid of that against which they have often served by their very nature.

The imprint on the Shroud of Turin is of the Body of Christ

After establishing the authenticity of the Shroud, i.e. after rejecting the theory of the Shroud of Turin being counterfeit, the world of science was next faced with the task of deciding to whom this Shroud belonged.

For a long time, from the very first appearances of the Shroud, this question of huge universal importance greatly worried those for whom Christ was and is a hindrance of the greatest magnitude. For this reason all the research and printed oeuvres that were in favor of the Shroud were at great length and systematically subjected to attacks, criticism, and even mockery. Such an attitude on the part of a well-known group of people sharpened the attention of the scientific world to an even greater degree. Its task became worthy of special attention. A number of scientists undertook to resolve it by means of an unbiased method known to science, on the basis of which historic personalities are established (identification).

First of all they studied the type of body that was imprinted upon the Turin Shroud. The result was as follows: the body belonged to an ideally classical and exceptionally symmetrical build. The body was analyzed according to the anthropological method by the specialists L. Gelda, a doctor from the University of Rome, and G. Judica-Cordiglia, a doctor of forensic medicine from Milan. Both professors came to the conclusion that the body being analyzed possessed not only exceptional symmetry, but the nobility of beauty. The overall length of the body was 181 centimeters. In accordance with classical proportion, the head constitutes one-eighth of the entire length of the body, i.e. 22? centimeters. In the opinion of the above-mentioned scientists, the pure classicism of such a body was unknown to the artists of the Middle Ages, which again excludes the possibility of the Turin Shroud having been falsified artistically. At a 1931 congress in Turin this truth was proclaimed by foremost specialists in the history of art and by directors of the Turin museums.

In order to identify the historical personality that had made an imprint on the Shroud of Turin, scientists analyzed the entire imprinted body – both front and back. Here is the official protocol of this analysis:

“A small beard and moustache. The right eye is closed, the left is slightly open. There is a drop of blood over the left eyebrow. The nose is Semitic. The eyes are placed close to the bridge of the nose. The nose is broken by a blow from the left side, apparently made with a stick; the left cheek is heavily swollen. The skin is broken on the left side, above the cheekbone, and this side of the face is not swollen. The lower lip has been imprinted clearly. The mouth is wonderfully expressive and imparts an expression of deep sorrow to the entire face, but sorrow without anger. The chin is vividly delineated, especially on the left side. On the right side there is a bloodstain or a deep wound. In view of the fact that this person had suffered greatly, the contraction of the tissues after death took place unequally, and the face is thus asymmetrical. Aside from the above-mentioned injuries and wounds, there are many other traces of blows and maiming on the head and face.

There are brown stains on the temples and forehead – clots of coagulated drops of blood. They are formed in the shape of a crown. The stream of blood over the left eyebrow is somewhat elongated: it ran from a wound and then coagulated on the skin. Such a stream always takes the form of an indentation, because coagulating drops of red blood join together on the outside, while inside the drops there remains the serum. The serum evaporates more quickly and, as it evaporates, the surface of the drops bends inward in the middle. It is precisely such drops that have been imprinted with ideal accuracy on the Shroud, being darkly colored along the edges and lighter in the middle. This is significant, because not a single artist has ever depicted this natural construction of a drop of coagulated blood so truthfully. This stream of blood had dried long before death, at least 12 hours prior to it, judging by the form and coloring of its imprint (Christ’s flagellation took place about 24 hours before His death).

On the chest (on the left side of the Shroud, consequently on the right side of the body) there is a bloodstain from a wound between the ribs; another elongated stain, having the appearance of a stream of blood, joins the stain from the wound. The direction of the stream in regard to the entire body is from top to bottom along the body when it was in a standing position. The coagulated stream of blood is naturally bent outward and is similar to a spear wound. If an artist were to depict such a wound using blood, even then it would not have left such correct traces on the cloth as there are on the Shroud, and here is why: fresh blood saturates the material, leaving a serrated edge along the boundaries of its spreading, while on the Shroud the edges are absolutely even, since the blood in the wound and at the side had coagulated long before the cloth touched it.

On the left hand there is a wound and a large blood clot in the area of the wrist. Of the right hand only the fingertips are seen. Both wrists are dark, as they had been abundantly washed with blood from piercing wounds. Streams of blood run from the wrists down to the elbows. The nails had been driven in not in the middle of the palms, but higher up, between the bones of the wrists.

The wounds on the feet are similar. Their delineation is very clear, for the blood had had time to coagulate. In one place the edges of the bloody imprint are serrated, but the bloodstain in this place is lighter. Apparently the wound had been disturbed later on, and the threads of the cloth had become saturated.

There are special wounds along the entire spine and lower back. These wounds are located near one another. Each such wound is of the same size and appearance, 3 centimeters long. These wounds are black in the center, but brown at the edges. There was copious bleeding from these wounds, of which there were 18, covering the spine and the lower back, since these wounds were irritated for a long time by friction from clothing. These wounds were made by a Roman whip called the “flagrum”; such whips were discovered at the ruins of Herculaneum. The “flagrum” was made up of several thongs with metallic tips. The size of the tips corresponded to the size of the wounds. These tips cut deeply into the body, producing elongated wounds. The flogging was done from the right side upwards and from the right side downwards, with the hand of the flogger making a circle around his immobile shoulder.

A wide band is seen on the right shoulder, like an abrasion from carrying something very heavy with sharp edges.”

Turning to the testimony of the wounds and contusions being analyzed on the Shroud of Turin, scientists compared them with the wounds and injuries documented in the Gospel, as well as with all the circumstances surrounding Jesus Christ’s trial by Sanhedrin and Pilate, and found a full and detailed similarity and coincidence with all that was discovered on the Shroud.

“The wounds all over the body were from flogging. The flogging was done by Roman soldiers at the insistence of the crowd and left its traces on the Shroud. The crown of thorns also left an imprint. The face maimed by blows was the work of the servants of the Judean high priest Caiaphas. The wide bruise on the shoulder was Christ’s path to Golgotha with His Cross. The wounds on the hands and feet were His crucifixion. The deep spear wound between His ribs was from the soldier who wished to confirm whether the executed Christ was alive or dead. The uninjured kneecaps – so unusual in such a form of execution. And at the same time such majestic clarity and tranquility in the face – a face unique in the world in its anthropological characteristics. Furthermore – the epoch, established by a series of material documents; events that took place among the Jewish people, also confirmed by documents; death on the cross; the circumstances of entombment under a burial shroud for not more than two-three days, – all of this, carefully analyzed and investigated, provides a strong foundation for asserting that the shroud belonged to only one historical personality – Jesus Christ.

The expression on Christ’s wonderfully symmetrical face remains majestically calm and indescribably beautiful even in death, despite all the injuries and maiming. The wrists of the hand were placed together one over the other in the middle of the body, with only four fingers of the right hand and only the fingertips of the left hand being seen. The thumb is not seen because, according to specialists, the wounding of the wrist with a nail resulted in damage to the nerve, due to which the motor musculature of this finger was paralyzed, and it curled up under the palm of the hand.”

Everything described herein primarily represents scientific materials that often have nothing in common with the Christian Church, but unwillingly lead an unbiased person to acknowledge the shroud of Turin as the Holy Shroud of Christ that has miraculously survived up to our time. The world, hostile to Christianity, is free not only to not accept the obvious proofs of scientists and historians, as well as the Evangelists, but also to continue its opposition in the form of new questions and formal arguments. However, this cannot change our attitude, since during the past 50 years we have been able to become convinced that all the endless arguments against the authenticity of the Holy Shroud are not so much aimed at the physical Shroud itself, as at setting people against the Christian Church and its sacred objects in general.

Thus we are contemporaries of a fresh discovery by Orthodox people of the Christians’ greatest sacred object.

The sufferings of Christ the Saviour as a Man on earth were the highest point of His divine teaching. The sufferings were not only physical, but even more so mental. We usually have a very sketchy understanding of the Saviour’s physical suffering, and we have become used to the image of the crucified Christ, having lost the aspiration to transport ourselves in thought and feeling to the genuine tragedy on the Golgotha.

The earthly visage of Christ, reconstructed from the Shroud of Turin
The earthly visage of Christ, reconstructed from the Shroud of Turin

The force of Christ’s redemption of men is equal to the force of His suffering at their hands. Only the divine meekness of the Son of God could vanquish all the horror of the human soul’s fall in the presence of those inhuman torments which the Saviour voluntarily took upon Himself. And if we will not comprehend the strength of His suffering, if we will not feel at least a hundredth part of their reality, then we will never be together with Christ despite all our other manifestations of faith.

The lacerated Body of Christ lies before us, and with every drop of its holy Blood it says to us, who are wallowing in sin, with meek reproof: “For what did I suffer?”

This reproof comes to us from the Holy Shroud, which has miraculously survived up to our sorrowful days in witness of Christ’s suffering and glorious Resurrection.

May our souls also be resurrected, and may they turn to the Lord God in time to avoid perdition.

Vladimir Grinenko

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