back to article Vatican researcher claims Templars worshipped Turin Shroud

The Vatican has pulled off its customary Holy Week stunt of outdoing The Da Vinci Code by publishing an article which claims the Knights Templar were the custodians of the Shroud of Turin for 100 years, and were accused of heresy for their pains. L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's inhouse newspaper, published an article by …

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  1. Mike Crawshaw

    Errrr...

    Wasn't the Turin Shroud proven fake some time ago? OK, so the Templars didn't have access to carbon dating, so they wouldn't know any better (or maybe they did, and it was all part of the conspiracy to span centuries before the ultimate goal of inflicting century-spanning conspiracies on the world was realised...) but surely this is about as real a relic* as all those pieces of "the true cross" that seem to have populated pretty much every church throughout the middle ages?

    * as in actually what it purports to be, leaving aside such questions as the facts not necessarily being the truth, and the impact on a believer being the reality of the situation regardless of anything else blah blah....

  2. Master Baker
    Paris Hilton

    Question

    Did Jesus really exist then?

    I thought he was a non-literal character- like Superman or Richard Branson?

  3. Geoff Mackenzie

    Er ...

    The shroud's a fake. The blood is paint, and it's the wrong age.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ Master Baker

    Please stop this slander of Superman.. The nerve to compare him to poorly written fictional characters like Jesus.

  5. Chris Collins

    How much for the rug?

    The turin shroud is mediaeval in origin. There were some shenannigans with the carbon dating (someone stuck their fingers on the sample beforehand) but the weave of the cloth is consistent with 12th-13th C. It's just some dead geezer who oozed onto his shround. Not the Jesus dead geezer, though. I prefer the 'Ark of the covenant being a wooden drum in a Harare museum' wheeze, myself.

    Oh point of interest, Jean Chretain or whatever his name was, the head Templar honcho, was slow roasted, not burnt at the stake. Died of smoke inhalation. And it was all on Friday the 13th.

  6. Christoph Silver badge

    Torture 'evidence'

    The confessions by Templar knights were all extracted under torture (controlled by a king who owed the Templars a lot of money). Those confessions are about as meaningful as ones from Guantanamo bay.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Religious certainty sure cripples the ability to think, don't it?

    >"accused of various heresies and blasphemies, including [ . . . ] worshipping idols, particularly a mysterious bearded figure"

    I know a bloke who does that. He lives in teh Vatican. HALP CALL A POLIS!

    Honestly, that has to be one of the biggest PKBs in history. Well, death to all zealots is all I can say!

    RAmen and Hail Eris! Fnord.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old news.

    Apparently the Vatican staff haven't read 'The Holy Blood and The Holy Bible' which suggested this Shroud worship and offered evidence of it well over a decade ago.

    As for the shroud, whatever it is, it does apparently appear to be about 2K years old and not created in medieval times (at the last investigation into it anyway).

  9. Flugal

    @ Master Baker

    Of course he exists

    Why would people says "Goddamn Jesus Motherfucking Christ on a cunting bike" if he didn't?

    Sure, he was prone to some big fibs and all, but that doesn't mean the bearded twat (twinned with R.Branson after all perhaps) didn't exist.

  10. arran

    I thought the templar

    were evil, greedy, child abusing wankers.... and as such I would of assumed the catholics would of loved them, go figure.

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    And here I was thinking

    that worshipping mysterious bearded figures was what the church was all about!

  12. Graham Marsden
    Coat

    You are accused of heresy on three counts....

    ... Heresy by thought, heresy by word, heresy by deed, and heresy by action...

    ... Four counts!

  13. Eric Olson
    Boffin

    It was, now it's unknown...

    They carbon-dated the shroud in 1988 or so, and the results proved to show that it couldn't be older than 800 years. But about 15 years later, some guy took exception to a paper contesting the carbon-dating results, but then went on to show in his own critique that the paper was right to contest the results. Apparently, the corner of the shroud they tested had cotton and medieval dyes from a repair job, invalidating the results. So now no one knows again. And honestly, even if it was from roughly 33 AD, crucifixion was a common enough practice that any number of people could have been wrapped in a shroud and then later found.

  14. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Happy

    No, not the comfy chair...

    Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope... and nice red uniforms!

    Because let's face it, nobody expects the Spa...oh, bugger!

  15. Sweep

    @ Mike

    As far as I know the Vatican makes no official claims as to the authenticity or not of relics like the Turin Shroud. Presumably this is because if the stated "yes, this is Christ's burial shroud/foreskin/piece of the True Cross, and it was later proved to be a forgery, it would make the Catholic Church look even more ridiculous than it already does.

    The Turin Shroud is interesting enough as a forgery- we still have no idea how it was made. And I've loved Templar stories and conspiracy theories ever since playing Broken Sword on the Amigam, the more ridiculous the better, of course.

  16. Osiris

    DNA

    Any DNA on this blanket? Id like to clone-a-jesus (tm) and put this religion malarky to bed once and for all.

  17. Hugh_Pym
    Joke

    beardy bloke..

    So that is where Alan Sugar's mysterious powers come from.

  18. Luis Ogando
    Coat

    @Flugal

    You total GIT!!

    You owe me a new laptop after I laughed coffee through my nose after reading your comment...!

    Mine's the one with the hanky in the pocket..

  19. Mike Crawshaw
    Go

    @ Sweep

    My mistake, I guess. I remember JP2 bringing it out and setting up some festival about how wonderful it was in the late 90's or so - I kinda figured that they wouldn't have a little disclaimer at the bottom accepting no responsibility for belief or lack thereof that might or might not be a result (direct or indirect) of representations made by, or on behalf of, those blokes in dresses...

  20. Alan

    @ Master Baker

    On a slightly more serious note that Flugal, there are several contemporary reports from the time that strongly suggest that Jesus existed, and was a bit of a thorn in the side of the Romans, but that doesn't mean to say he was the son of God, or had any special powers...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Bad day at the office?

    @Chris Collins: I bet he wishes he hadn't bothered coming to work that day.

    As for the Shroud: It's hard to know what evidence would be definitive enough to change either sides' opinion. The cotton is too new? Medieval repair job. The cotton actually dates to 33AD? The forger used an old cloth. The cloth has medieval human DNA? Somebody handling it in the 13th C left fingerprints. The cloth has seeds only found in the middle east? Somebody took it with them on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

    The only things we can say for sure about the Shroud, pro and con, are:

    Con: It has no provenance, suddenly appearing in the historical record at about the same time that a massive number of known fake religious items were created. If the shroud were any conventional item like a book, map, or painting, that lack of provenance would set off alarm bells in the head of any antiquarian until the Missing Millennium could be accounted for.

    Pro: If it is a fake, it's a damn good one that's withstood a lot of scrutiny. It's a lot better than the typical chips off the old cross and saints' finger bones in jars that were more or less mass produced in the age of cathedral building. Whoever did it went to a lot more trouble than the average scam artist who expected to be long gone before his fake was discovered.

    Unfortunately, real life is more complicated than some silly Sherlock Holmes story, where the villain conveniently has mud on his boots that is found in only one place in the country, or smokes a blend of tobacco only found in a certain corner of Istanbul. If Holmes ever met a villain who cleaned his boots and smoked Benson and Hedges, he'd be stumped.

  22. Anonymous John
    Happy

    @ DNA

    It's a shame the German police didn't do a DNA test. The Catholic Church would have had to explain why Jesus was a female serial killer.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/27/phantom_dna

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail

    Yep. Those guys had a theory a bit like this one when they wrote The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail. That was what 30 years ago?

    I believe that their story was along the lines of the Templars bringing back a relic from the Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople. I believe the artifact in question was the Mandylion (or Image of Edessa).

    That would certainly tie in with the charges against them of worshipping some disembodied head...

    Bearing in mind that the Vatican archives are pretty extensive. They probably already know exactly which of the many (fake) items in their collection used to belong to the Templars!

    Paris 'cos even she isn't daft enough to believe a word of this bull

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any DNA on this blanket?

    there's some crusty looking stains a bit lower down....

  25. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Not a relic

    The Catholic Church has played a very clever game with the Shroud.

    Although it's owned by the Holy See they have never pronounced on its authenticity saying that the Shroud is a matter of personal faith for individual Catholics.

    Though I'm sure they clean up nicely in the Turin Cathedral tea and gift shop with shroud tea towels and T-shirts.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real or fake...

    ...it's still an incredible piece. Everything I've read suggests that it's something science has yet to explain. The original "negative" theory was weird enough, but now computer guys reckon it's a pretty accurate relief map. But then again, apparently they were saying that hundreds of years ago -- they theorised about "vapours" from the early phases of decomposition bleaching the ceremony oils and ointments absorbed by the cloth, and that these vapours were naturally more concentrated where the cloth was in contact with the corpse.

    One way or another I'd love to know how it happened/how it was done, but even if it wasn't a holy relic I can't see how it could be investigated without destroying a unique piece of archaeology.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Almost off the hook

    I can't believe no-one took this bait:

    "During their trial, the Knights were accused of various heresies and blasphemies, including sodomy and arguably inventing international banking."

    The Pope was unmoved by accusations of sodomy, but when the international banking charge was read out, the Papal thumb was swiftly seen to be pointing downwards. It was that which did it for the Templars.

  28. Dave Murray
    Thumb Down

    Sigh

    Almost as badly researched as that Dan Brown crap. How could a shroud disappear during the sacking of Constantinople when it was unknown at the time? When it popped up in the possession of the former Templar family was the first time anyone had ever heard of it.

    Tbh much more likely is the theory that it was actually the shroud placed over Robert De Mornay (sp?) the last Grand Master of the Templars after he was tortured by the church for the heinous crime of having more money than the Pope and King of Spain. The image depicted looks a lot like him and bears wounds similar to those that would be inflicted by the Inquisition's favourite questioning techniques.

  29. Steve
    Heart

    @ real or fake

    "apparently they were saying that hundreds of years ago -- they theorised about "vapours" from the early phases of decomposition bleaching the ceremony oils and ointments absorbed by the cloth"

    Wonderful. Simply, beautifully, wonderful. If it's true, what a testament to human inginuity. And what a challenge to now interrogate that data without causing destruction.

    I laugh at all the athiestic scorn that fills the comments page of every story like this. Where were the nerds and the geeks and the scientists before electricity? In the monastaries!

  30. Arnold Layne
    Flame

    @Steve

    "Where were the nerds and the geeks and the scientists before electricity? In the monastaries"

    Edit for accuracy: Being tortured to death in the monasteries.

  31. Stratman

    Re arran

    "were evil, greedy, child abusing wankers.... and as such I would of assumed the catholics would of loved them, go figure."

    Would HAVE loved them.

    One of the benefits of a Catholic education.

  32. Steve

    @ Arnold Layne

    umm....no. Go back to your strange hobby

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