Washington — For centuries, the Shroud of Turin — housed in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, since the 16th century — has fascinated and baffled scientists and historians alike. The shroud, a 14-foot-long linen cloth that bears a faint, yellowed image of a naked, crucified man, has long been believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth.
To further explore the mystery, Museum of the Bible will host a panel discussion on the Shroud of Turin, “Shroud of Mystery: The World’s Most Analyzed Artifact,” on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. (ET) in the World Stage Theater. Guests are invited to join in-person or virtually via Zoom.
“Encountering the Shroud of Turin can be a profound experience,” said Brian Hyland, associate curator of medieval manuscripts. “Pope John Paul II called the Shroud ‘a mirror of the Gospels.’ The remarkable image on its surface shows a man who was beaten and whipped, with multiple wounds in the scalp, and a large wound in the right side. Millions of pilgrims have traveled to see the Shroud. Since 1898, a series of extraordinary photos of the Shroud has made its image instantly recognizable. These photos pique people’s curiosity — what caused the image?”
Attendees will hear from leading Shroud of Turin scholars Dr. Cheryl White, Russ Breault, Rev. Peter Mangum and Joseph Marino. Jeffrey Kloha, chief curatorial officer at Museum of the Bible, will moderate the discussion.
Dr. Cheryl White is a professor of history at Louisiana State University at Shreveport. Her major fields of interest include medieval and early modern Europe, the history of Christianity, local and regional history, historical folklore and the Shroud of Turin and religious relics. She is the author of eight historical nonfiction books, including “The Shroud in the Third Millennium: Confronting the Limits of Knowledge” and “A Survey History of Britain,” released in 2020.
Russ Breault has been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for more than 30 years. His presentation, “Shroud Encounter,” makes use of over 200 superb images and unfolds like a CSI investigation as each clue is revealed and becomes another piece of a grand puzzle as the mystery of the Shroud is explored. He has presented at numerous colleges and universities, including Duke University, Auburn University, Johns Hopkins University, Pennsylvania State University and the United States Military Academy West Point, and hundreds of churches. He is the president and founder of the Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc., which aims “to advance the knowledge of the Shroud to a new generation.”
Rev. Peter Mangum is the rector of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport and chaplain to two schools. He is also the judicial vicar. He is a member of numerous ecclesial organizations, including the American Confraternity of the Holy Shroud, of which he is the only priest. Rev. Mangum also belongs to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, an 800-year old chivalric order in which he holds the rank of knight commander. He has been granted access to the Vatican Secret Archives for further research related to the Shroud of Turin, which was the basis of a published paper presented at the most recent international conference in Ontario (2019), as well as forthcoming academic papers. Rev. Mangum is the director of the Shroud Collection and co-host of the international podcast series, “Who is the Man of the Shroud?” with Dr. Cheryl White.
Joseph Marino is a former Benedictine monk who has been studying the Shroud of Turin since 1977. He and his late wife, M. Sue Benford, presented a paper at the Sindone 2000 World Congress in Orvieto, Italy, hypothesizing that the reason the 1988 C-14 dating of the Shroud resulted in a date range of AD 1260-1390 for the cloth was because of a 16th-century repair in the sample area. Raymond Rogers, one of the scientists from the Shroud of Turin Research Project who studied the Shroud in 1978, thought the hypothesis was nonsense at first but later concluded that Benford and Marino were probably correct. His book, “Wrapped Up in the Shroud: A Chronicle of Passion,” details his decades of studying the enigmatic cloth. His newest book, “The 1988 C-14 Dating Of The Shroud of Turin: A Stunning Exposé,” was released last year.
Tickets for in-person participants are $29.99 for the general public, $9.99 for Museum of the Bible members and $19.99 for students. Tickets for virtual participants are $9.99 for the general public, $4.99 for Museum of the Bible members and $4.99 for students.
Following the discussion, participants who purchase VIP tickets will have a chance to hear more from Rev. Peter Mangum and Dr. Cheryl White, who will be showcasing items from the Shroud Collection of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. They will also have a forensically accurate body model to scale of the "Man of the Shroud," with a corresponding Shroud of Turin replica to help participants visualize how the image might have been formed. Additionally, they are bringing a beautiful 16th-century engraving of the Shroud of Turin by Giovanni Testa. Light appetizers and refreshments will be served. VIP tickets are $99.99 and are for in-person participants only.
The Museum Shop will also feature unique gifts related to the Shroud of Turin for sale after the discussion. Museum of the Bible’s forthcoming interactive exhibition, “Mystery & Faith: The Shroud of Turin,” curated by Brian Hyland, will be open to the public from Feb. 26 through July 31, 2022.