Six churches in Ontario will be venues for the general showing of the “Holy Shroud of Turin” exhibition this summer. This non-denominational presentation has been touring the world for several years. The exhibit features a full sized replica of the Holy Shroud, many photographs, historical and archeological findings as well as results from forensic and scientific research. A crucifix with the markings found on the Holy Shroud is also on display. Admission is free.

Tradition holds that the shroud is the burial sheet in which Jesus was wrapped after his descent from the cross. This corresponds to the Gospels’ account, according to which Joseph of Arimathea laid Christ’s body in the sepulcher after wrapping it in a “Sodara” (shroud).

Having survived the passage of time, this precious linen has aroused great interest. Various scientists have been conducting meticulous research on the Shroud of Turin for over a century. As a result, this priceless and most famous Christian relic continues to astound the world by its ‘real life’ portrayal of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.

Italy’s Turin Cathedral is the home of the 14 feet x 3 feet burial cloth. It has survived 2000 years and contains compelling evidence that it had at one time been in Jerusalem, Odessa, Constantinople and Lirey, France. Its geographical path through history has been traced by identification of at least 6 pieces of pollen (embedded in the linen) only found in Jerusalem at the time of Christ.

The Shroud also shows clear evidence of more than 160 wounds from a severe scourging with a weighted whip, a large wound in the side of the chest as from the thrust of a spear and streams of blood in the hair and on the brow from a crown of thorns which was a unique torture invented to mock Christ. Studying the blood on the Shroud through the microscope, it has been seen that mercury flashings are found around the red blood cells, as one would expect, proving that the blood areas are not pigments.

Three-dimensional editing of the image has helped the scientists to identify two small coins, which had been placed over the eyes of the Man of the Shroud. Covering the right eye was the “lepton lituus”, a coin minted between 29 and 33 A.D. in the time of Pontius Pilate. Over the left eye was one minted in 29 A.D. Coins placed over a dead person’s eyes reflect an old Jewish burial custom.

“All will see your salvation” was the motto offered during the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Shroud at Turin in May 1998. In a homily given during the exposition, Pope John Paul II said “This precious linen can help us better understand the mystery of the Son’s love for us. Standing before this eloquent and shocking image of indescribable suffering, I wish to thank God for His special gift, a gift that no Christian eager to follow Christ should overlook. The Shroud enables us to discover the mystery of suffering sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a suffering that has become the source of salvation of all mankind.”

The exhibit venues in Ontario are as follows: June 26 to July 8, Holy Eucharist Church (Toronto); July 17-27, Our Lady of the Airways Parish (Mississauga), July 31 to August 10, Precious Blood Parish (Scarborough); August 14-24, Saint Mary of the People (Oshawa); August 28 to September 7, Saints Cyril and Methodius (St. Catharines); Sept-ember 11-21, St. Gabriel (Burlington).