New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which went on display Saturday in a special TV appearance introduced by the Pope, dates the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments dating it only to the Middle Ages.
Pope Francis sent a special video message to the televised event in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, which coincided with Holy Saturday, when Catholics mark the period between Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
It was first displayed at Lirey in France in the 1350s and subsequently passed into the hands of the Dukes of Savoy.
After many journeys the shroud was finally brought to Turin in 1578 where, in 1694, it was placed in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral in a specially designed shrine.
The Vatican, tiptoeing carefully, has never claimed that the 14-foot linen cloth was, as some believers claim, used to cover Christ after he was taken from the cross 2,000 years ago.
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