Pope Francis has made comments on the Shroud of Turin, the much-discussed and analyzed burial cloth that some believe shows the face of Jesus Christ, saying that it “speaks to the heart,” though he stopped short of declaring the piece an official relic.
“This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart,” the Roman Catholic Church leader said in an Italian TV Easter Saturday special.
“This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest … And yet, at the same time, the face in the shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty,” he added.
The shroud made news again last week right before Easter when a research team from Padua University used carbon dating and concluded that the artifact is not a medieval fake, as some had previously suspected, but dates back to somewhere between 280 B.C. and A.D. 220.
Giulio Fanti, an associate professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, conducted the tests, by analyzing fibers from the shroud with infrared lights, which allowed him to measure radiation intensity through wavelengths.
“We carried out three alternative dating tests on the shroud, two chemical and one mechanical, and they all gave the same result and they all traced back to the date of Jesus, with a possible margin of error of 250 years,” Fanti told CNN.