Although the Holy Shroud of Turin has gained many controversies everywhere, the question remains why this linen cloth has retained its radiance despite of countless journeys, expositions and changes of climate. We can only relegate that when reason ends, faith begins.  To the Catholic Church, the Holy Shroud remains a valuable relic connected to the historical Jesus found in the Scriptures.  

The Church authorities have expressed confidence in the authenticity of the Holy Shroud, and many have recommended the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  Their judgment bears far more weight and commands far higher respect than that of any private scholar for they speak with a unique authority and their pronouncements have a profound influence in the religious life of the faithful. Although they do not intend to impose it as a matter of religious belief, it is safe and reasonable to accept their judgment.

The data below were researched from various sources:

750 -1000

Pope Stephen III

Pope Stephen III

768 – 772: Pope Stephen III mentioned in his homily about the glorious image of our Lord’s whole body and Face so divinely transformed on the cloth  (cf –

1001 – 1250

1149: First Popes to declare the Shroud’s authenticity and who granted special privileges in its honor are: Paul II, Sixtus IV, Leo X and Clement VII (Rome)

Pope Paul II

Pope Paul II

 

Pope Sixtus IV

Pope Sixtus IV

Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X

Pope Clement VII

Pope Clement VII

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Innocent III

Pope Innocent III

1205: A letter from Constantinople to the Pope (Innocent III) after the Fourth Crusade says that the invading Venetians had taken many relics, including “the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before the resurrection.” This is the last surviving mention of the Image of Edessa.

1251-1500

Pope Innocent VI

Pope Innocent VI

June 20, 1353: Pope Innocent VI gave the first approval for the public veneration of the Holy Shroud

1467: Paul II authorized Blessed Amedeo IX (son of Duke Louis I, who received the Shroud in 1453 from Margaret de Charney) and his consort Yolandi of France to erect a church in the confines of the castle “for the reservation of certain most precious relics” which were in their possession, and to found a college of canons and subordinate ministers for the worthy celebration of divine worship.

1472-80: Pope Sixtus IV in four distinct bulls, confirmed the privileges already conferred on the guardians of the Shroud and granted others.  He likewise conferred on the ducal church the title Sainte Chapelle, and placed under the jurisdiction of the Holy See “principally because of the most glorious Shroud in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped when He was laid in the tomb”. (Papal Decree)

1501-1750

April 25, 1506: An Office and Mass “de Sancta Sindone” was formerly approved by Julius II in the Bull “Romanus Pontifex”, in the course of

Pope Julius II

Pope Julius II

which the Pope speaks of “that most famous Shroud (præclarissimasindone) in which our Savior was wrapped when he lay in the tomb and which is now honorably and devoutly preserved in a silver casket.” He instituted the feast of the Holy Shroud with its proper Mass and Office to May 4, the day following the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross. The grant was only for the canons of the Sainte Chapelle at Chambery.

Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X

October 17, 1514: Pope Leo X extended the feast with its proper Mass and Office to the whole of Savoy and it was confirmed by Clement VII, the legitimate pope.

1582: Pope Gregory XIII extended the Feast to the entire realm of the House of Savoy, both to the North and to the South of the Alps and granted a plenary indulgence to those who venerate the Shroud in a solemn exposition because “with it was wrapped the Body of Jesus”.   It was a feast of precept with rank of double of the first class with an octave.

Pope Gregory XIII

Pope Gregory XIII

The feast of the Holy Shroud of the Lord was extended in France and was celebrated every year of June 20 in the whole diocese of Troyes. Later on, it was extended as a “Votive Mass” to the whole world.

Other Popes who took official action in regard to the feast of the Holy Shroud and its liturgy by confirming its institution, by extending it to new territories, by approving the revised text of the Mass and Office, and by granting special indulgences on the occasion of the feast – all in order to foster love of the Divine Redeemer and penance for sin through veneration of the Shroud are: Clement VIII, Paul V, Urban VIII, Innocent X, Alexander VII, Clement IX, Benedict XIII, Clement X, Innocent XI, Alexander VIII, Innocent XII, Clement XI, Innocent XIII, Benedict XIV, Gregory XVI, Pius IX and Pius XI.

Pope Benedict XIV

Pope Benedict XIV

1740-58: Pope Benedict XIV, a jurist and an expert in matters of liturgy and cult, conducted an investigation and wrote a treatise defending the authenticity of the Shroud which he published after his elevation to papacy.  He endorsed and extend the public cult of the Shroud and he himself repeatedly granted generous indulgences for act of veneration towards the Shroud as a relic of Christ

1751-2000

Before 1780: In the Archdiocese of Turin, the Mass and Office was prescribed on ten or twelve days of the year besides the day of the feast.

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII

1898: The first photograph made by Secondo Pia, made its sensational revelation ad Occasioned a controversy that resounded throughout the

Catholic world. When the photograph was shown to Leo XIII, he declared it as an undeniable revelation for the true likeness of Christ, and a providential event and “a means will adapted in our time to stimulate everywhere a revival of the religious spirit”.

1898: Leo XIII granted special indulgences for the exposition of the Shroud to express the consolation he felt over the great number of Catholics who had come from all parts “to venerate the sacred Shroud of Christ”.  See His other pronouncements.

Pope Pius X

Pope Pius X

St. Pius the X – approved the Oeuvre Saint Luc founded by Emmanuel  Faure for the sole purpose of promoting the veneration of the image of Christ  as revealed by the photograph of the Shroud.  He called it, “the true image of the Holy Shroud”, and declared that it can be a very effective aid in meditating on the passion and Death of the Divine Savior.  He expressed the desire that it be diffused everywhere and that it be held in veneration in all Christian families.  Even recommending it to all bishops and priests and gave a special blessing to all who would propagate the image and cult of the Christ of the Shroud.

Pope Benedict XV

Pope Benedict XV

Benedict XV – confirmed all indulgences granted by Pope Pius X on the one condition of meditating on the Passion before the image of the Shroud.

February 14, 1923: Secondo Pia made an audience with Pope Pius XI and discussed the whole photographic argument of the Shroud

Pius XI

Pope Pius XI

Letter dated January 15, 1923: The first recorded expression of the personal opinion of Pius XI Which Card. Gasparri wrote at his direction to acknowledge the gift of Malijay’s writings in defense of the Shroud: “with all his heart his holiness congratulates you for having expounded ever more clearly those two august memorials of the great mystery of our redemption – the Holy Shroud and the Holy Face”. And his conclusion was: “we have made a personal study of the Holy Shroud and we are convinced of its authenticity.”

1931, 1933: Expositions of the Shroud under the pontificate of Pius XI. Both occasions, he granted indulgences for those who made the visit.

September 5, 1936: Audience at Castelgandolfo of more than thousand young men of Italian Catholic Action who just returned from a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii.  The Pope distributed the pictures of the Holy Face as a souvenir of the pilgrimage and then made this carefully made statement: “These are not indeed pictures of Mary Most Holy, but they remind us of her more vividly than any others could because they are pictures of her Divine Son, and for that reason the most suggestive, the most beautiful, the most precious, that once can imagine,  they cone, in fact, from that object known as the Holy Shroud of Turin, still mysterious, but certainly not the work of any human hand.  This, once can now say, is demonstrated.”

Pius XII

Pope Pius XII

September 13, 1953: Pius XII, in a radio address to the National Eucharistic Congress held at Turin, said that this city “it guards as a precious treasure of the Holy Shroud, upon which we behold with deep emotion and solace the image of the lifeless body and broken divine countenance of Jesus”.

1958: Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  The first medal of the Holy Face was offered to Pope Pius XII who approved the devotion and the medal. This year he formally declared the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) for all Roman Catholics.

1983: The House of Savoy, the owners of the Shroud since 1453, transferred its ownership to the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

May 24, 1998: On the occasion of the 100th year of Secondo Pia‘s (May 28, 1898) first photograph of the Shroud ofTurin, Pope John Paul II made this address during the public exposition of the Holy Shroud: the precious Linen that can help us better to understand the mystery of the love of God’s Son for us. Before the Shroud, the intense and agonizing image of an unspeakable torment, I wish to thank the Lord for this unique gift, which asks for the believer’s loving attention and complete willingness to follow the Lord”.  He gave points of reflection about the Shroud. (Address of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Sunday, 24 May 1998)

 

 

 

2001-present

Recently, Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI have both described the Shroud of Turin as “an icon

March 30, 2013, Vatican City: Message of Pope Francis during the extraordinary exposition of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of Turin, Italy.