The Shroud of Turin, which claims to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, will be a parting gift by former Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholic Church on Sunday.
There will also be a televised viewing of the cloth on Saturday. It has become one of the world’s most famous relics. It contains a faint impression of the front and back of a human body, which many believe is Jesus Christ.
Roman Catholics have believed for centuries that the impressions and stains were left by body after his crucifixion.
“There was no portrait made of Jesus so, really, the shroud still remains the best single thing that we have,” said Russ Breault, president of the Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., an organization “dedicated to raising awareness and understanding” of the shroud, according to its website.
There has been a lot of debate on the shroud’s authenticity.
For example, skeptics believe the 14-foot cloth was faked during medieval times. Scientists have used various methods, including carbon dating, to test the authenticity of the fabric, and some results have supported the belief that the cloth is a medieval forgery. But there might be new evidence to support the view that the shroud is real.
Scientists at the University of Padua in Northern Italy have conducted experiments that show the shroud dates back to around the time of Christ’s life.
The special 90-minute broadcast of the shroud will be broadcast from Turin Cathedral and will be introduced by the new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.