|Who Was the First Saint
to Touch the Shroud?
|With more than 600,000 hours of scientific research, the overwhelming irrefutable conclusion is that the Shroud of Turin contains the inexplicable Image of a Man who has been crowned with thorns, scourged, beaten, and crucified to death. After His death, as proven by the post-mortem flow from a Heart wound, this Man has left us His Blood on this cloth, as well as a negative impression of His Body with skeletal information included that proves the Shroud’s Image is “not made by human hands.”
These are some of the “peer-reviewed” scientific facts.
Yet, it continues to amaze us, the majority of people in the world believe this is a “painting.” Last January’s Reader’s Digest even contained a story, “Crime Seen,” in which — as a parenthetical statement no less — the claim is made that it was “(proved the image on the Shroud of Turin was formed not by Jesus’ body but by expertly applied paint)” (page 136).
This is so ludicrous a statement that it barely merits retorting to. Does paint have DNA in it? Of course not! We will, as we continue to discuss the Shroud and the science and history that surrounds it, prove that this ancient cloth is anything but a “painting.”
But instead of going into the details of the science of this cloth, we first wanted to go into something far more important: the spirituality of this cloth.
For if this is Jesus’ burial cloth, than it should not only be science that can at least tell us the Shroud is an enigma, but another more astute group of observers should have left us a legacy regarding the cloth’s authenticity and whose Image is on it.
We should find this answer in the Science of the Saints.
Has the Shroud ever touched the lives of the Saints?
If so, who was touched and how?
The list is long, authentic and historical. In the weeks ahead, we will be examining this list of Saints, emperors and Roman Catholic pontiffs known to have had a spiritual encounter with the Lord's burial cloth.
Before we go into the documented list, it is important we first examine a speculative belief. Since the world wants us not to believe the scientific facts that surround this cloth, let’s investigate something outside the realm of science.
For science knows full well that the Shroud is NOT a painting. It made that discovery almost 25 years ago.
Sindonology — the science of the study of the Shroud — is asking a far more important question in the 3rd Millennium. If the Shroud is not a painting and is the irrefutable burial cloth of Jesus, then where did the cloth come from?
So we will begin our journey and investigation as to whether the Shroud is Surrounded by Saints in the most intriguing aspect of this cloth’s existence. The science of sindonology is asking this question today: “Was the Shroud the actual tablecloth to the Last Supper?”
Evidence indicates that this is an extremely strong possibility. Researchers who have been raised in the Orthodox traditions of Judaism are the ones who first raised this possibility after they understood from their investigations that the Shroud was authentic.
This thought makes perfect biblical sense as well. For one Saint who we do know that surrounds the Shroud of Turin is the original owner of the cloth, Joseph of Arimathea.
It is critical for us to understand that on the day of the Lord’s Crucifixion, Joseph would not have had time to buy a burial cloth. Until he was summoned to the task, he had no idea that he would need to bury Jesus.
At the 3 o’clock hour, the time we know for a fact that Jesus died on the Cross, the marketplaces in Jerusalem would be closing for it was the “Preparation Day” — the day before the Passover and the Sabbath — “(for that Sabbath was a solemn day)” John 19:31.
This, by the way, is the absolute conclusive proof that Jesus was crucified on Friday, for any fool knows that the Sabbath day in Judaism is Saturday. The day before, therefore, according to any normal calendar, is Friday.
It always amazes us how in the protest-ant world, so many of these biblical idiots make the claim that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday. This is so they can make the literal interpretation that Jesus was dead for three 24-hour periods before His Resurrection on Sunday. They do not, of course, understand that the Apostle John was counting time — as was acceptable in 1st-century Israel — in 12-hour periods.
The reason we mention this is just recently the “famed” Rev. Jerry Falwell made this statement on national TV that he believes Jesus was not crucified on Friday but on Wednesday. Wake up, Jer (as well as the folks at Calvary Chapel and other protest-ant company)!
It is also significant that the Lord died on the Cross at 3:00 p.m. on the eve of the Passover because that is the time the high priest, as the representative of Israel, would be slaying the sacrificial lamb in the Temple for the solemn feast.
As the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus had commemorated the Feast of Passover with His disciples on Thursday, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, the evening before. This is extremely important because the event is recorded in the Bible and would need a tablecloth to accommodate 13 people. The experiment has been tried and it has been proven that a cloth the size of the Shroud could accommodate 13 people at a seder.
“Now the day of the Unleavened Bread came, on which the passover had to be sacrificed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare for us the passover that we may eat it.’ But they said, ‘Where dost thou want us to prepare it?’ And He said to them, ‘Behold, on your entering the city, there will meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house into which he goes. And you shall say to the master of the house, “The Master says to thee, ‘Where is the guest chamber, that I may eat the passover there with my disciples?’ ” And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.’ And they went, and found just as He had told them; and they prepared the passover”
This is an incredible prophecy the Lord gives to John and Peter. Why? To meet a “man carrying a pitcher of water” in 1st-century Israel was unheard of! Men didn’t carry water — that was a woman’s job.
With the unmistakable sign of a man carrying a pitcher of water to lead Peter and John, who is this mysterious “master of the house” that Jesus refers to in this passage?
To be the master of the house in 1st-century Israel, one had to be rich.
To be knowledgeable and desirous of following the traditions involving Passover, one had to be Jewish.
To have access to the guest chamber where Jesus held His Last Supper with His disciples, one had to be a member of the Sanhedrin.
This is a historical fact as the Upper Room, as we call it today, was referred to as the “cenacle” in Jesus’ time — a “banquet hall.” This particular banquet hall was built by a man by the name of King Herod. He built it, as Sacred Jewish Tradition explains, to make appeasement to God who became angered when Herod tried to plunder the treasure in King David’s tomb. Herod built the cenacle over David’s tomb. The Sanhedrin controlled this room during the time of Jesus.
In reality, this means when Jesus performs the rites to the first Mass, He is saying the words of Consecration — “This is My Body!” — over the bones of His ancestor King David! Why should our Mass today have the relics of Saints embedded in the Altar? Because Christ inaugurated it that way!
Now, why the secrecy in the Gospel as to who was the “master of the house”?
To answer this, we must answer these questions: how many disciples did Jesus have that were rich? How many were members of the Sanhedrin?
There is only one candidate that we know of who fits this bill: “Joseph of Arimathea … a disciple of Jesus although … a secret one” John 19:38.
And, the man, who, we know for a fact, provided the burial Shroud for our Lord. “And he took Him down, and wrapped Him in a linen cloth … .” Luke 24:53. Perhaps, in order to protect Joseph from the betrayal of Judas Iscariot which He knew was to come that night, Jesus, at this point in time, referred to His “secret” disciple in clandestine words.
As we continue to examine this intriguing belief that the Shroud of Turin may actually be the tablecloth used at the Last Supper, it is important to know that Joseph of Arimathea had to observe some critical aspects in the burial of Christ. For it had to be accomplished “after the Jewish manner of preparing for burial” John 19:40.
This means that the linen cloth he used to bury Jesus in had to be kosher!
That’s why we must understand that when Matthew tell us in his Gospel that Jesus was “wrapped ... in a clean linen cloth” (27:59), he doesn’t mean there are no stains on it, he means it is ritually clean!
And Joseph of Arimathea had another problem to contend with when he unexpectedly, “as it was the Day of Preparation, that is, the eve of the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42), has to bury Jesus quickly. The problem? How to fit the Lord’s 6-foot-tall frame into a burial garment!
The Image on the Shroud proves Jesus is 6 feet, extremely tall for men in His time; and interestingly, six is the number of man. Did He not call Himself the Son of Man? Remember, our God is not a God of numerology, but He is a God of symbology!
So what could Joseph do? He needed a kosher garment to wrap a 6-foot-tall Man — and he needed it quickly.
Joseph had also traveled to the governor’s house, Pontius Pilate, in order to receive permission for him to take Jesus down from the Cross (Luke 23:52). That means he had to travel back across Jerusalem to “Golgotha,” Aramaic for the “Place of the Skull,” which was then in the outskirts of the city.
In reality, this trip would require Joseph, knowing now that he has permission to bury Jesus, to have to pass the banquet hall. The very place where Jesus and His disciples had performed the first Mass and the Eucharist offered. A place, as a member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph knew well. A place Joseph could have given Jesus and His disciples access to.
A place which held a tablecloth that was kosher for Passover.
A tablecloth that was approximately 14 feet in length and 3 feet in width. Perfect to wrap a 6-foot-tall Jewish Man in.
And the Shroud, if it is the tablecloth to the Last Supper, isn’t just any ordinary tablecloth either.
For the Shroud is a 3x1 herringbone weave, an extremely expensive material for the time of Christ. And, yes, these types of linen were available in the Jerusalem marketplaces when Jesus walked the Earth.
We know for a fact that the Shroud is not a burial cloth of Jesus’ time for they were inexpensive 1x1 weaves. And burial cloths from this time do not exist. Only pieces and threads have been found by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
But this cloth, the Shroud of Turin, is expensive even in its hue — golden in its true color. It is not a cloth that would normally be used as a burial garment. It is a cloth that would normally be used as a tablecloth.
And the Shroud contains stains — stains which researchers have visually identified as food and wine stains.
Most importantly, peer-reviewed scientific research has proven that the Shroud contains candle-wax stains on it.
There is a pattern of six candle-wax stains on the Shroud.
In order to celebrate Passover in 1st-century Israel, the table had to have six candles on it. This is where the concept for six lit candles on the stone Altar during the Sacrifice of the Mass originates.
The candles would be on one side.
The stains on the Shroud are on one side.
So where did Joseph of Arimathea, in his haste — “as it was the Day of Preparation, that is, the eve of the Sabbath” — to provide “a clean linen cloth” to wrap Jesus in “after the Jewish manner of preparing for burial,” find such an expensive garment worthy of our Lord's Crucified Body?
We believe, under Divine Inspiration, there was only one place Joseph could find such a linen. On the table where Jesus held His Last Supper with His disciples. For Joseph of Arimathea did not have time to buy a burial cloth on that first Good Friday; instead, he went to the marketplace on Thursday to buy a tablecloth — an expensive piece of linen so that he may fulfill what the “Master says to thee, ‘Where is the guest chamber, that I may eat the passover there with my disciples?’ ”
And, if this is true, as the symbolism so passionately depicts it to be, that means the Shroud of Turin, as the tablecloth to the Last Supper, has the Image of the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) smack-dab in the middle of the linen on which the Lord instituted the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
And that sounds just like Jesus to us.
Something the Lord, in His great and mysterious ways, loves to do: to provide His own burial cloth from a linen used for His Last Supper.
Will we ever know if the Shroud is the tablecloth to the Last Supper?
We believe the Lord may never let science find the answer to that question — it is something that we think He prefers for us to accept in faith.
We have already accepted it. It is also for you to decide.
But there is no doubt about one thing.
The first Saint who surrounds the Shroud of Turin — which is the irrefutable burial cloth of Jesus — is, as we all know, Joseph of Arimathea, the man who provided the “clean linen” garment for Christ on that tragic but Redemptive day!
He is the first Saint we can be certain touched the cloth!
The same Saint who probably provided the tablecloth to the Last Supper!
© 2003 Agnus Dei Presents!
|© Shroud photo 1978 Barrie Schwortz|
|Was the Shroud originally a tablecloth?|
|The Shroud shown on its side with, at the top, two confirmed candle-wax stains directly above the words "candle" and "stains"; and, at the bottom, large food
and/or wine stain directly above the word "possible."