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Holy Shroud to be exhibited April 19-June 24 2015

To coincide with Don Bosco bicentenary, pope visit

27 February, 18:40
Holy Shroud to be exhibited April 19-June 24 2015 (ANSA) - Turin, February 27 - The mysterious Shroud of Turin will be exhibited for an unprecedented 67 days next year, the office that keeps what Catholics revere as Christ's winding sheet said Thursday.

From April 19 to June 24, 2015 the shroud that is believed by many faithful to bear the image of a dead Jesus will be on display.

The unusually long showing is because it will coincide with the bicentenary of the birth of Catholic educator and slum reformer Saint John Bosco and with a visit by Pope Francis whose exact date has yet to be established, the Shroud office said.

June 24 is the feat day of Turin's patron saint St John the Baptist, as well as the name day of Don Bosco, as he is more commonly known.

Born on August 16, 1815 as Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, the priest worked in 19th-century industrialized Turin to better the lives of street children and disadvantaged youth.

The Shroud of Turin is not often shown in public but in March, Pope Francis was involved in a broadcast event that showed rare images of the mysterious holy relic to TV viewers.

Francis delivered the opening message in that unusual event on state broadcaster RAI, which marked only the second time the Church has permitted the Shroud to be filmed and broadcast.

In 2010, former Pope Benedict XVI viewed the Shroud of Turin during a special seven-week display that marked the first time the Shroud had been seen by the public since it was restored in 2002.

Before then, it had been on view in 2000 and has been on display only five times in the past 100 years.

Believers say the linen Shroud was used to wrap the body of Christ after his crucifixion and countless scientific tests conducted over the years have revealed the outline of the body of a man embedded in the fabric.

The Shroud is normally heavily guarded in a bullet-proof, climate-controlled glass case within Turin's most important cathedral.

Only once before had images of the Shroud been broadcast as ordered in November 1973 by then-pope Paul VI.

Some sceptics maintain the Shroud is nothing more than an elaborate fake dating from the Middle Ages, triggering centuries of debate over whether the image is truly that of Christ, or a very good forgery.

Radiocarbon-dating tests conducted on the cloth in 1988 suggested it dated from between 1260 and 1390; however, other scientists have since claimed those results could have been distorted by centuries of contamination.

That has led to calls for more testing, which the Vatican has consistently refused.