By Vatican News
The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus.
The 14-foot long linen cloth is imprinted with the photonegative image of a man bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion and death.
Online exposition of the Shroud
With people forced to stay home during Holy Week because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, has planned a special online exposition of the Shroud.
As Christians contemplate Jesus in the tomb on Holy Saturday, the Archbishop will lead prayers before the Shroud, starting at 5pm (local time). The liturgy will be livestreamed on the official Shroud website – www.sindone.org – and on the Facebook page of the Archdiocese of Turin.
A response during the pandemic
In a letter to Archbishop Nosiglia, dated 9 April, Pope Francis expresses his “warm appreciation for this gesture, which comes in response to the request of God's faithful people, harshly tried by the coronavirus pandemic”.
Contemplating the “Man of the Shroud”
“I too join your prayer, turning my gaze to the Man of the Shroud”, writes the Pope. In His face “we also see the faces of many sick brothers and sisters, especially those more alone and less well cared for. But also all the victims of wars and violence, slavery and persecution”.
As Christians, and in the light of the Scriptures, continues Pope Francis, “we contemplate in this Cloth the icon of the Lord Jesus crucified, dead and risen. We entrust ourselves to Him”. “Jesus gives us the strength to face every trial with faith, hope and love, in the certainty that the Father always listens to His children who cry out to Him”, writes the Pope.
Pope Francis concludes his letter to the Archbishop of Turin inviting all those “who will participate through the media in prayer before the Holy Shroud”, to “live these days in intimate union with the Passion of Christ, and to experience the grace and joy of His Resurrection”.
The Shroud in Turin
According to tradition, it was following an outbreak of the plague in Milan in 1576, that the Archbishop, St. Charles Borromeo, wanted to go on pilgrimage to the Shroud, which was then in France. Concerned for the Archbishop’s ill health, the Duke of Savoy, who owned the Shroud, had it brought to Turin – where it is kept to this day.