The imprint of the face of Christ in the shroud



the ’ shroud footprint, Despite belonging to a body, as is testified by the position of the arms and legs, However, at the same time unsettling testimony of ’ moment in which Christ is rising and leave us a miraculous sign and struck by this instant, to which nobody has seen, but only this poor dumb towel, but more eloquent than a thousand human testimonies.


Author John Cavalcoli OP
John Cavalcoli, OP


Shroud 2
photographic images of the shroud

On the occasion of the exposition of the shroud ’ in Turin, an event of great significance and resonance in the ecclesial and scope ’, more widely, of culture, of science and history, I think our readers will like these my considerations relating to the interpretation of ’ ’ imprint of his face on the towel sindonico. They will lead us to better understand the meaning and value of this mysterious Footprint, that, scientific research progresses, always better and always with greater certainty confirms the traditional belief of the Church (1), whether it is actually of the cloth which was wrapped the body of Christ, down from the cross and laid in the Tomb, According to the account of the Gospel [Mt 27,59; MC 15,46; LC 23,53].

according pia
the Piedmontese lawyer according to Pia ’ [1855-1941] who performed the first photo on the Shroud

Everyone knows the sensational event ’, that was in 1898 as the Turin lawyer according to Pia ’, which, in preparing the facial sindonico photography, She saw appalled and thrilled, that the negative of the photo showed the features of the face in relief, as if, Similarly to what happens in a photographic portrait of a face exposed to light, protruding parts — for example, the nose or the opposite — they lit, While those falling or were hidden in the shadows.

Shroud 3
close-up of face

From then until now It is commonplace to use ’ l interpret this surprising negative shroud as Footprinting or modelled on the negative of a photographic portrait, as if it were, for the accuracy, the negative of a negative. Let me explain. The theory that was formed as a result of the discovery of Pia is as follows: you imagine the ’ shroud impression as if it is the negative of a photographic portrait; so the negative of the picture of this imprint is logically to form a positive: Here, then, appear with clarity and relief, nearly lit by light, the features of the face, like a real portrait, What that previously did not have this representational effectiveness, because we are facing a simple imprint or, We could say, a simple negative. Of course everyone has always recognised the imprint of the face ’.

shroud 1898
Exposition of the shroud in 1898

The ’ operation of the Pia meant that this face you recognize so much better, because the eye ’, considering that negative, the perceived as a positive, Although on the contrary (2), almost a mysterious and solemn Face that emerged from the darkness of white photo negative. For this, This picture, next to the ’ shroud footprint, emerged right away and deservedly to worldwide fame. But it fell in a big mistake, which even today generally don't you realize. L ’ error lies in the fact that it is wrong to compare the picture of the face, coming out of the photographic negative of the photo of mark ’, a common photographic portrait, as is the case when we photograph our friend or our familiar. Indeed, a photographic portrait is a common face illuminated by a light source, that comes from the outside of the face, usually a light or left or right or top ’. In the so-called Flash the light strikes the subject head-on. Anyhow, you always give the face parts that remain in the shade, caused by the fact that, for instance, the nose is an obstacle in the light, for which projects a shadow ’ on the cheek.

shroud 5
shadows and lights of the face

What has not so far made attention and that causes the error of ’ theory of the negative of a photographic portrait, is that areas of the ’ area in which are the footprints of the face, imprint-free — for example, the space between the cheek and the footprint or the hair between the nose and the cheeks —, are not comparable to d ’ shadow areas as might happen in a photographic portrait, shadow i.e., as I said, caused by the fact that certain parts hamper the arrival of light ’. Instead of sindonico areas in shadow on the towel, they are why not reached — as today — science attests from irradiation perpendicular to the fabric, hit by a mysterious radiant energy, which, leaving the Face the Lord gave the sheet, or to accuracy has more oxidized the most bulging of the face — for instance the nose, moustache and brow — and less and less and less frontal parts and more oblique than the direction of the rays, up to l ’ irradiation completely ineffective compared to areas located in the same direction of rays, like for example the parties left or right cheek and neck, that does not leave any footprint and are totally in shadow.

shroud 5
shadows and lights of the face

Anyhow — and this is crucial to the refutation of that theory — the shadow parts are not such because other parties are hampering the arrival of radiant energy, at that time had not yet been discovered and was mistaken for a light source, as is the case in normal photographs of other humans. But the parts of the face on the canvas are either shaded or more or less in evidence in relation to the fact of being more or less close the source of radiant energy ’, that is the same Face, to evade entirely to it in areas where the impression of ’ energy ’ is totally absent, because there may come.

shroud 1931
preparation of the Shroud for the exposition of ’ 1931

If the picture of the face was comparable to a photographic portrait, as it was believed until now, the ’ facial image should have shaded parts caused by other parts of the face, for example the ’ shadow of the nose on the cheek or part of the enlightened face of ’ or similar details, all things that are absolutely not. This type of shade “from obstacle” is totally absent from his face and c ’ is only ’ other “for non-contact”, not due, as I said, from parts that hamper the light, but just where the light parts — rather the radiant energy — couldn't get, Why put in its own direction.

Shroud 7
the light and dark Shroud

This radiant energy was both light and heat, one Luz caliente, would St. John of the cross, referring to the light of faith, principle of love, We have given and radiates from the face of Christ. Heating for the oxidation of ’ fabric; bright, as it has caused the ’ imprint of the Face, that is a face of pure light without shadows, just as Saint John says that "God is light and in him there is no darkness» [The Gv 1,5]. Vice versa, the theory of ’ photographic image should assume of shadows by obstacle, as in any normal photo; shadows that instead, in the face sindonico, There aren't any. Nothing in the face of Christ, poses an obstacle to light. Since it is a light which proceeds in a straight line — in Christ all is right, everything is right — , can't illuminate what is out of its direction and its scope. A lesson for us, Let us not fully illuminate from Christ and, as we finished and c ’ is the not-to-be, do not be surprised if the light of Christ is therefore limited in us: can't illuminate what c is ’.

The face of the Shroud is not a face illuminated by a light that comes from outside, as our. It is instead a face bright, that gives off light, similar to the face of Moses, and much more, While it is true that is the face of the word of truth, that illuminates the world.

shroud 8
detail of the hands with the sign of the nail in the wrist

The conclusions, to which we arrived, have a unique interest and make us discover an aspect of Face sindonico, that so far it had not been considered because of a misunderstanding. The rest, the discoveries we make for centuries in the shroud Image are ’ to each other in a wonderful and exciting sequel, It seems he never end. Something happens in Christology, where theologians and the Church itself never end to discover new aspects of the mystery of Christ, in which ' are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge " [With the 2,3].

Shroud 9
photographic negatives

C ’ is also another aspect of the shroud image ’, which seems that everyone today ’ there yet realized. And is the ’ hair style. This impression is not that which would arise from contact with the radiant energy ’ with sagging hair, What would be logical that they were those of a corpse lying on a horizontal plane, as it is supposed to be the body of Christ, covered by fabric. Instead the hair, How is the ’ imprint, fall perpendicularly, as if the body were pillow block feet, so alive, with front cover, at a certain distance, ’ too it perpendicular to the floor [supported by who?], so you can receive the ’ imprint of the body of the Lord.

shroud 10
the shroud, It could be a snapshot of the resurrection?

What conclusions to draw? The ’ shroud footprint, Despite belonging to a body, as is testified by the position of the arms and legs, However, at the same time unsettling testimony of ’ moment in which Christ is rising and leave us a miraculous sign and struck by this instant, to which nobody has seen, but only this poor dumb towel, but more eloquent than a thousand human testimonies.

Varazze, 4 May 2015


(1) Lex orandi, lex credendi. The 17th century exist in may in the Diocese of Turin a liturgical memory of the shroud as an imprint of the body of Christ dead and risen. Naturally this belief of the Church is not dogma of faith, and yet the sum is authority, though it is not the subject of faith, that is a matter of divine revelation. It is, however, connected to the faith matters, Giacchè – Apart from the relationship with Evangelical narratives – What could be more associated with the faith, If the body of the man, that is the Author and his early mastery of the ’ faith (EB 12,2)? To be specified, in addition to, that the said conviction of the Church does not claim absolutely to replace or overlap to the judgment of science, which, in this field, It is also within its competence, can and should make judgments, that are absolutely free and independent from faith, with their own authority and certainty based on ’ experience and reason.
(2) Would be almost done to say, with Luther: void contrary species. Par almost a Hegelian dialectic game: the positive in the negative.


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