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St. Mary’s exhibit includes a full-size Shroud of Turin replica
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St. Mary’s exhibit includes a full-size Shroud of Turin replica

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Replicas of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, as well as a whip, nails and a sponge used at the time of the crucifixion, are part of an exhibit currently on display at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

It also includes a full-size replica of the Shroud of Turin, which some believe is the authentic burial cloth of Christ.

The traveling exhibit, called “The Man of the Shroud,” runs through Thursday at the church’s Cathedral Square. It opened Friday.

Forty-two panels are featured in the exhibit, which is presented by Spirit Catholic Radio in collaboration with the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado. Spirit Catholic Radio calls the original shroud one of the most studied artifacts of all time.

Spirit Catholic Radio is bringing the exhibit to parishes in Nebraska and Iowa this summer and fall.

Shroud expert Jim Bertrand will give a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. His talk, expected to last an hour and 20 minutes, will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Bertrand, who lives in Lincoln, is a certified presenter of the American Confraternity of the Holy Shroud, which is based at Colorado Springs, Colo.

Organizers say the exhibit presents a critical summary of observations, data and hypotheses surrounding the shroud.

In the 1980s, the Archbishop of Turin, Italy, authorized a sample to be cut from one corner of the linen cloth for a carbon dating test.

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The results of that test, announced in 1988, found the cloth to date from 1260 to 1390 A.D.

“While this test result was used by some to declare the Shroud ‘fake,’ several problems pertaining to the accuracy and validity of this test have led many to discredit it completely,” a panel says. “The vast majority of Shroud scientists and scholars reject the validity of the test.”

The exhibit provides scientific, medical and historical evidence to support the belief the shroud is real.

While the carbon dating suggested a French origin around 1325 A.D., pollen grains found on the shroud trace back to Jerusalem and Constantinople.

“Modern alternative dating methods” support the shroud as likely being from the first century A.D., the exhibit says.

A panel points out that dirt found on the nose, knees and soles of the feet of the shroud “is unique to Jerusalem and only a handful of other places on earth.” The weave used to create the linen was used in first-century Palestine.

In addition, “Art existing prior to 1260 A.D. shows remarkable evidence the Shroud was used for inspiration,” the exhibit says.

A depiction of Christ from 550 A.D., known as the Pantocrator Icon, “marks 150 points of congruence between the icon and the Shroud. Generally, 45 to 60 points of congruence are enough to declare forensically that two facial images belong to the same person,” a panel says.

“Numerous other examples” cited in the exhibit “are consistent in supporting a much earlier date for the Shroud.”

The exhibit’s hope is that seeing it will help people decide for themselves.

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