The Mandylion at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris
3D anaglyph
Medallions of Lirey
Byzantine coins and the Shroud
The Shroud of Turin is believed to have been used to inter Jesus Christ

January 14, 2024

We begin 2024 with some never published material directly related to the Shroud of Turin: photomicrographs of the Shroud taken during the summer of 2002.

The six photomicrographs in Figure 1 were taken over a bloodstain, on the Shroud of Turin during its restoration in the summer of 2002. They were extracted from one of the many videos taken during that restoration using a camera mounted on a bidirectional track (see Figure 2). That explains a degree of their out-of-focus aspect. Their level of magnification is greater than all the photomicrographs taken by Mark Evans during the five-day STURP study in 1978 (see the Mark Evans photomicrographs and on the Shroud Scope). This magnification allows us to see more details at the level of the fibrils of the linen threads. For example, the red blood particles clearly agglutinate in very small specks, which is expected from blood. In the collection of Mark Evans, that can be envisioned on only one photomicrograph, but cannot be seen at the level of the fibrils (see the ME-06 photomicrograph ).

Figure 1. Six photomicrographs extracted from one video taken during the restoration of summer 2002. The video camera went over the main bloodstain on the right side of the chest as shown by segment 44 on the left Shroud map of Figure 3d. Kindly provided by Karlheinz Dietz courtesy of Giuseppe Ghiberti (click images for enlargements)
Figure 2. The camera mounted on a bidirectional track. Photograph kindly provided by Karlheinz Dietz. (click the photograph for an enlargement)

The videos are described on pages 133 to 136 in the book Sindone 2002, authored by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, published in 2002 (see Figure 3 for these four pages). In the appendix on page 133, they are described as Videomicroscopic Photographs of the Shroud (Figure 3a) with a detailed list of the locations on pages 134 and 135 (Figures 3b and 3c), with timing and operators, and on page 136 with two photographs, the recto and verso of the Shroud, showing the locations captured by the videos with numbered line segments (Figure 3d). There are 24 videos from the verso, and 38 videos from the recto, for a total of 62 videos. The photomicrographs shown in Figure 1 are from segment 44 on the Shroud map shown on page 136, shown in Figure 3d.

As shown in Figure 3d, on the second map on the right with segments numbered 1 to 24, there are many videos taken on the verso, that is, the underside of the Shroud where there is no image but mostly bloodstains that seeped through the cloth. Photomicrographs that would be extracted from them would be unique on that side of the cloth because such photomicrographs were never taken before 2002.

Figure 3. Pages describing the videos and their location on the verso and recto of the Shroud. (click images for enlargements)

Naturally, the six photomicrographs shown on this web page are not the only photomicrographs we could extract from these videos taken in 2002. I had access to only a few minutes of them, although there are around two hours of such videos as compiled on page 135 with the timing of the videos. What other interesting photomicrographs that could be extracted is unknown to me, because, as far as I know, the other videos were not analyzed for such photomicrographs. They are kept by the authority of the diocese of Turin and are not made accessible. I could not find any good reason why they were never analyzed or used by the authority of Turin for promoting the Shroud. I know that some researchers close to the authority of Turin consider these videos useless, which I think is an incorrect assessment as can be attested by these six photomicrographs.

It appears to be such a waste of effort to have done all these videos in 2002 without doing anything with them, not even analyzing them and producing a report. Is it because the Pope does not allow the distribution of such information as the authority of Turin claims? That appears doubtful. It rather appears that the authority of Turin fears that this data could be used in an inappropriate way. But such a fear is unwarranted given that this data tends to show unique details reinforcing the genuine aspect of that cloth as a shroud, and not even close to any artistic rendering.

These videos can be used to go beyond the Mark Evans photomicrographs to show many details of the image on the Shroud, such as its superficiality. Other discoveries could be ascertained such as the possible images of blood instead of the expected bloodstains, that is, what appears as bloodstains are probably images of bloodstains. It would also be very interesting to look closely at the photomicrographs right next to the radiocarbon dating location. Unfortunately, the authority of Turin does not appear to have any interest of using these videos for such purpose.

There is a similar decision from the diocese of Turin regarding the high-definition photographs of the Shroud. Several years ago, the Italian Haltadefinizione company was contracted by the diocese to scan the Shroud to obtain a high definition image. It was possible to order large printed reproductions of that photograph. The company also developed the application Shroud 2.0 that allowed for visualizing the Shroud at a very high definition on iOS devices. That was similar to the Shroud Scope available on this web site (see Shroud Scope ). That application from Haltadefinizione was sold at a very low price. According to Haltadefinizione, the authority of the diocese of Turin did not renew the contract to sell Shroud 2.0, the production of printed copies of the Shroud, and showing the Shroud on their web site. All the Shroud 2.0 applications already sold became non-functional as it depended on a computer server controlled by Haltadefinizione. Why the authority of Turin decided to discontinue Shroud 2.0 and the sales of printed high-definition photographs by Haltadefinizione? I do not know and my inquiries remained unanswered.

March 12, 2023

Humbert II de Viennois (1312 - 22 May 1355).

In December 2022, Karlheinz Dietz and I submitted a short paper to the newsletter of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) answering critics of M. Ian Wilson regarding a paper we had published in the summer 2021 newsletter titled The accidental arrival of the Shroud at Lirey. The short paper, which the new editor Michael Kowalski decided to show to M. Wilson, was rejected because supposedly it repeated arguments and contained "quite personal criticisms about his [Wilson] work". That statement is quite incorrect because there are no "personal criticisms" in that short paper, which the reader can verify from the copy at ResearchGate (see below), and the short paper pointed out new essential errors written by M. Wilson. The short paper does indeed criticize the work of M. Wilson, but they are not "personal". We concluded that M. Wilson is not interested in detailed scholarly discussion and that the BSTS newsletter is not a venue for in-depth scholarly discussion on the Shroud.

We have made available this short response to Wilson's critics at ResearchGate A response to Ian Wilson's comments on the Sainte-Chapelle thesis. We hope you will find it instructive, in particular of this special gift looking like a large folded cloth that King John II gave to Humbert II de Viennois (the old Dauphin), in January 1352, and that Geoffroy de Charny was made a witness. We stated the following hypothesis: could that be the Shroud, which by some fortuitous circumstances became the property of Geoffroy instead of Humbert II?

January 12, 2023

The French association Montre Nous Ton Visage (MNTV) has renewed its website at the new address The association publishes its Cahier (Newsletter), containing numerous articles about the Turin Shroud, twice a year, in summer and winter. You can join the association by subscribing to the Cahier using this new website.

Home page of the new website of the association Montre Nous Ton Visage (MNTV).

The new website provides access to the most recent publications and the Cahiers and offers a free download of all Cahiers archived since the first issue in 1988. (Please visit Cahiers MNTV)

For example, you can download for free the issue of December 2019 containing a very informative article by Jean-Christian Petitfils on the "historical hole" (1204-1355) of the Shroud of Turin; or the issue of December 2017 containing an article covering the thesis of the passage of the Shroud through the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris.

For more information, please visit this new website by clicking one of the links presented, such as the MNTV homepage.

April 26, 2020 (updated May 9, 2020)

Prof. emerit. Karlheinz Dietz.

Professor Emeritus Karlheinz Dietz has written numerous high-quality papers on the history of the Shroud of Turin. He is also one of the rare researchers to have seen the Shroud up close and out of its protective case for several days during the restoration of the Shroud in the summer of 2002. His papers may not be well-known to non-German readers as they are predominantly written in German. I present a shortened version of Karlheinz Dietz's paper on the hypothesis of the Templars (“The Templars did not own the Shroud of Turin”), which was translated into English and revised by Johannes Dietz and Dietmar Wuksch. I also made some editorial modifications approved by Karlheinz Dietz. The original, longer paper written in German, was published in 2017 (see the end of the shortened version for details).

The paper addresses various elements of the hypothesis, such as the existence of a high-ranking Templar named Geoffroy de Charnay, who was burned at the stake with the Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314. However, there is no evidence linking that Charnay and Geoffroy de Charny, lord of Lirey and Savoisy, the first recorded owner of the Shroud in France. The name “Charnay” and its variants such as “Charny”, and “Charni” were common in medieval times. Moreover, the granddaughter of Geoffroy de Charny, Marguerite de Charny, testified in court that the Shroud came from her grandfather, ruling out the possibility that the Shroud came from another member of the Charny family. This statement also excludes Geoffroy de Charny's wifes, Jeanne de Toucy and Jeanne de Vergy, as the possible origin of the Shroud in the Charny family.

Please use the following link to download a PDF version of the paper.

October 19, 2019

The symposium on the history of the Shroud was canceled on March 12, due to the COVID-19.

Figure 1. On the left, a manuscript, from the archives of the Department of Aube. On the right, the entry to the reading rooms of the archives. © Mario Latendresse. Photo April 2015.

A symposium on the history of the Shroud of Lirey-Chambéry-Turin will take place in March 27-28, 2020, at the archives of the Department of Aube, in the city of Troyes, France. I am organizing the symposium with the help of the local historian Alain Hourseau from Bouilly. The symposium will take place in the building of the reading rooms of the archives situated outside downtown Troyes. All talks will be in French and take place on the first day of the symposium, Friday, March 27.

The second day, Saturday, March 28, will be a social event visiting the villages of Lirey and Savoisy. At Lirey, we will visit the chapel where a history of the collegiate will be presented. We will also visit the feudal motte where Geoffroy de Charny built his castle (a special access to the private land including the motte was obtained by Alain Hourseau). Although the castle is completely gone, we can still see the ditch that protected it. This will give the participants a first-hand historical background of what approximately the collegiate of Lirey was in the 14th century. At Savoisy, our visit will be hosted by Laurent Bouzoud and we will visit the outside of the castle. A presentation on the history of the castle and the role it possibly played on the Shroud will be presented by Laurent.

For more information and reserve a place to the symposium, please visit the Eventbrite website.

October 6, 2018

The Centre International d'Etudes sur le Linceul de Turin (CIELT) has published a newsletter, called Revue Internationale du Linceul de Turin (RILT), for more than 20 years. It contains French and English articles about the Shroud of Turin. The CIELT also organized several symposiums on the Shroud of Turin, at which French, English and Italian talks were presented. The RILT and the proceedings of these symposiums are now available online on the French website at Look for the icon "CIELT" or click the icon below to reach the CIELT section on that web site.

September 6, 2018
Excerpt from the first page of the manuscript "Pour Scavoir la Verite". Manuscript L 746/2/1, Archives nationales de France (AnF).

A new section was added to the French web site at the following link, about an important historical document: "Pour Scavoir la Vérité". It was written around 1525 and most probably by the dean of the collegiate at Lirey. He declares that the Shroud was given to Geoffroy de Charny by King Philip VI, for his attempt to regain the city of Calais. When analyzed carefully, this is the most probable route of the Shroud. Philip VI had exclusive access to the most important relics in the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris and one of them was a Holy Cloth. That Holy Cloth was most likely the Mandylion of Constantinople, but the King, and the clerics at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris, were unaware of the preciousness of that relic.

The manuscript is in French, but as usual you can use Google to translate the web page and read the transcription and a modern French version of that transcription. The Google translation of the manuscript in English is very far from being perfect, but the comments I wrote about it is understandable. Note that Dorothy Crispino published in 1988 a translation of that document in English. I give a pointer to that text on that French web page. For anybody interested in the history of the Shroud, that document is a must read.

December 31, 2017

Several new entries were added to the French web site at, including a new section on the small village of Lirey where the Shroud was first displayed in France. Remember that the web pages can be automatically translated to English by selecting the English language on the top of any web page at the French web site.

The latest issue of the newsletter (cahier) Montre Nous Ton Visage (MNTV) of December 2017 includes a long article on the thesis of the Sainte-Chapelle. Please see for more information about that article and the MNTV web site MNTV for the latest issues of the newsletter.

December 16, 2017

A third pilgrim medallion of the Lirey church has been recently discovered. We already know the existence of two different Lirey medallions, one kept at the Cluny museum in Paris, the other is a mold of medallions found in Machy, near Lirey (see medallions).

Alain Hourseau, who lives near Lirey, sent me a photography of one side of this new medallion, which can be more accurately described as a rounded medal. We can clearly see a cleric, with a miter and formal attire, holding the Shroud, but showing only the frontal part, not the double body image. The Shroud is not shown in detail as on the first medallion at the Cluny museum. On the other side of the medal is a representation of the Virgin, which is understandable because the Lirey church was dedicated to the Virgin. Hopefully, in a few days, I can post a photography of both sides of the medal.

August 1, 2017

The International Conference on the Shroud of Turin, Pasco, Washington, was held July 19 - 22. Three full days of talks covered many fields, including history and image formation. The speakers came from several countries, including Spain, Italy, Australia, USA, and France. Videos of the talks are available on YouTube and published by Radiant Light Broadcasting.

I did four presentations, one in particular about the thesis of the Sainte-Chapelle that explains the most likely route of the Shroud from the Middle East to Geoffroy de Charny. This talk can be seen by clicking the following link: The Sainte-Chapelle Thesis.

May 26, 2017

The rediscovered wood chest that was used to store a smaller chest that contained the Shroud of Besançon. This wood chest is mainly made of sandalwood, the second most expensive wood in the world and used by the cosmetic industry for its fragrance oil (see Santal 33 perfume). Dimensions: 21.8 cm x 48.3 cm x 21.4 cm.

The chest used to store a smaller chest that contained the Shroud of Besançon was recently rediscovered. This chest was in the cathedral of St John when the Shroud of Besançon was still shown publicly, at least twice a year, to the crowd outside the cathedral. That Shroud was destroyed during the French Revolution along the smaller chest that contained it. The Shroud of Besançon was clearly a painted copy of the Shroud of Turin with only the frontal part.

The identification of this coffer is based on an ancien description of the coffer that was kept in the chapel dedicated to the Shroud of Besançon, in particular the presence of the three locks. This chest would date from around 1523 when it was first recorded that a chest was used to secure the Shroud of Besançon. An exhibition about the Shroud of Besançon organized in September 2016 at the St John's cathedral had as its center piece the rediscovered chest.

Jan 29, 2017

I started a new French web site dedicated to the Shroud of Turin. It will focus on the history of the Shroud and French articles, manuscripts and news related to the shroud. The first entry is on an article written by Hilda Leynen on the presence of the Mandylion at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris. It is the first article that analyzed the details of the inventories of the relics to show that a Holy Cloth disappeared from the relics of the Grande Châsse at the Sainte-Chapelle. This disappearance is coherent with the statement made around 1525 by the canons of Lirey that King Philip VI gave the Shroud to Geoffroy de Charny.

Dec 24, 2016

In the notice Pour scavoir la verite, written around 1525 by one of the canons of the collegiate at Lirey, its author states clearly that the Shroud, known today as the Shroud of Turin, was given by King Philip VI to Geoffroy de Charny for his tentative to regain the city of Calais on the first day of 1350. The tentative was not successful, and Geoffroy was captive for 18 months in London. On his return to France, did Geoffroy finally brought the Shroud to Lirey? That would have been in mid 1351. Was Geoffroy even aware of the presence of the image on the Shroud by this time? A few years later, the Shroud was publicly exposed at the small wooden church of the collegiate at Lirey.

How did King Philip VI obtain the Shroud?

All evidences show that we do not have to look further than the private collection of the King: the relics kept in the Grande Châsse at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris. It was the most prestigious collection of relics in Christendom. We still have the inventories of the relics taken over several centuries. The inventory of August 1740 reveals that the reliquary where a cloth had been kept, had lost its content. That cloth was the Mandylion of Constantinople. The description is all about the reliquary and of a portrait of Christ at the bottom, a Veronica. The officials making these observations do not identify any cloth. They do not indeed separate the presence of the Veronica from the reliquary because the Veronica is described as appearing directly on the bottom of the reliquary. That Veronica is not described as being on a cloth. And none of the previous inventories, up to 1534, describe the image on a cloth. All appearances show that the cloth had disappeared before 1534.

Figure 1: Item 19 of the August 1740 inventory of the Grande Châsse at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris. The French text describes the reliquary in which a cloth had been inserted when it arrived in Paris in 1241 (“Sanctam toellam, tabulae insertam” as given by the 1247 official letter, signed by the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baudoin II, ceding the relics to Louis IX, King of France). The reliquary is a rectangular box of about 60 cm by 40 cm, and has a portrait of Christ's face on the bottom with golden plates all around it. However, in this inventory, no cloth is mentioned. (Click the image for a larger view)

Figure 1 shows an extract of that inventory. The manuscript is kept at the National Archives of France (Archives nationales de France (AnF)). It is item 19 of a list of 21 items.

Remarkably, right after the description of item 19, item 20 refers to a reliquary containing hairs of the Virgin, the same type of relic deposited at the church of the collegiate at Lirey. Figure 2 shows an excerpt of the manuscript describing this reliquary containing the hairs of the Virgin.

Figure 2: Item 20 of the August 1740 inventory of the relics from the Grande Châsse (Archives nationales de France, AnF). It describes a reliquary containing what is believed to be hairs from the Virgin. (Click the image for a larger view)

The third relic deposited in the church at Lirey was a piece of the True Cross, which was also a relic in the Grande Châsse. King Philip VI had complete control over the relics and he could use this collection according to the need of the Kingdom. Accordingly, the simplest and most natural origin of the three relics of Lirey, including the Shroud, is the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris.

Nov 24, 2016

A conference on the Shroud of Turin, organized by Bob Rucker, will take place in the state of Washington in the summer of 2017, July 19 - 22. For more information on paper submission and attending, please consult the web site.

Sept 20, 2016

The complete underside of the Shroud of Turin had been hidden from observation for more than four centuries until the summer of 2002, when the Holland cloth was unstiched during the restauration of the Shroud.

While the underside was completely accessible, it was photographed, which provided the first ever complete photographs of the underside of the Shroud. These photographs were published in a few books, in particular by Opera Diocesana Preservazione Fede (ODPF).

The following photograph (Figure 1) presents the middle section of the underside of the Shroud where the bloodstains from the back of the head and torso, the face, and front torso, are visible. There is no perceptible image as can be seen on the well-known front side. Some researchers claimed that a dim image of the face appears on this underside, but this is controversial. Figure 2 shows a close-up view of the face region of the underside.

Figure 1: The middle section of the underside of the Shroud of Turin showing the bloodstains from the back and front torso, but no image is perceptible as on the well-known front side.
© Archdiocese of Torino.
Photograph by Gian Carlo Durante, 2002.
Digital photograph kindly provided by the Archdiocese of Torino.

Such a photograph allows a deeper study of how the image was formed or not formed. For example, the obvious observation is that no perceptible image can be seen on the underside, which entails that if paint was ever used to produce the image on the front side, it could not have been painted the usual way, because paint would have transferred to the underside by capilarity. Another example is the amount of blood transferred on the underside from the bloodstains in the hair region of the front side. No major amount can be seen on the underside, which is coherent with the bloodstains realy coming from the hair.

Figure 2: The face region of the underside of the Shroud of Turin.
© Archdiocese of Torino.
Photograph by Gian Carlo Durante, 2002.
Digital photograph kindly provided by the Archdiocese of Torino.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Ulysse Chevalier, a French historian, was involved in the newly created controversy of the first photographs of the Shroud, taken by Secondo Pia in 1898. He wrote several history papers and monographs claiming that the Shroud was not authentic. Ulysse Chevalier was mostly interested by the history of the Shroud and pay little attention to the physical characteristics of its image, but in one of his monograph [1](p. 19), he claimed that the photograph taken by Secondo Pia did not show the correct side because Chevalier thought that the bloodstains and the hands were inverted. That is, Secondo Pia would have taken a photograph of the side that had a dim image, creating its enigmatic appearance, and that the other side would have a brighter image, which would not have its enigmatic image and better show that it was a painting. Chevalier's contention was wrong as the underside has no perceptible image but mostly only bloodstains.

  1. Ulysse Chevalier, Le Saint Suaire de Turin/Histoire d'une Relique, Alphonse Picard Editeur, 1902. (External link To Google Book)

July 10, 2016

The Pierpont Morgan Library & Museum in New York City has a large collection of illuminated manuscripts. Among them is the manuscript 499, a parchment roll of about 3.3 m long and nine cm wide. Its skin-side is written in Greek with twenty illuminated miniature scenes depicting the Legend of King Abgar, its hair-side is a translation of the Greek text in Arabic with no miniatures, although a cross is drawn on the hair-side on the segment kept at the University of Chicago (see below). Its production has been dated in the third quarter of the fourteenth century, but certainly not later than 1383, because the author of the Arabic text states that year for his translation. The roll was an amulet. Originally, it was likely owned by a Byzantine military officer, then in 1383, owned by a Christian, Suleyman ibn Sara, because the colophon of the Arabic text says so.

Figure 1: The parchment roll 499 of the Morgan Library & Museum. The Greek text and two partial miniatures are visible. The Arabic text, on the hair side of the parchment, can be seen on the rolls.
© The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City.
Photography by Mario Latendresse

Figure 1 shows the scroll mounted on two custom-made rolls in a protective case. For its age, the manuscript shows remarkable good conservation, although the miniatures have lost some paint. The tiny Greek writing is still crisp and clear, see Figure 2.

Figure 2: The Greek text of the Abgar legend with two partial miniatures.
© The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City.
Photography by Mario Latendresse

As part of the Legend of King Abgar, Christ sends an image of himself to King Abgar. That image is known as the Image of Edessa also known as the Mandylion. Actually, the legend evolved from an image painted by a messenger sent by King Abgar to an image made by Christ himself. The Mandylion can be seen in several of the miniatures of M.499. Because this manuscript M.499 was produced after the sack of Constantinople in 1204, it is almost certain that the artist who created the miniatures never saw the Mandylion itself. Furthermore, the manuscript was probably produced in Trebizond, if not, it was in Constantinople. Actually, one may ask the general question: had any artist, who reproduced the Mandylion, seen the real Mandylion before the sack of Constantinople? The answer is likely negative. The many artistic representations of the Mandylion that we still have today are probably based on hearsay and on the legend of King Abgar. Manuscript M.499 would be a documentary evidence supporting this claim, because we can see in it the typical artistic reproductions of the Mandylion similar to many others produced before 1204, yet the artist of M.499 can hardly have seen the real Mandylion.

The twenty miniatures of M.499 can be seen on the website of the Pierpont Morgan Library. The manuscript is divided in twenty sections, each with a miniature scene. In the entire manuscript, four scenes show clearly the Mandylion, where only the head of Christ is visible, and one scene where the Mandylion is mostly hidden:

  1. In Section 9, Ananias receives the image of Christ on a cloth, i.e., the Mandylion, directly from Christ;
  2. In Section 10, the Mandylion, on its journey from Jerusalem, is temporarily hidden between two bricks;
  3. In Section 11, the Mandylion is being revealed after it was temporarily hidden;
  4. In Section 12, the Mandylion is in a scene of a miraculous healing;
  5. In Section 14, Ananias reveals the Mandylion to King Abgar. See Figure 3.

Figure 3: Miniatures of Section 14 in manuscript M.499. Ananias reveals the face of Christ on a cloth to King Abgar. The cloth is known today as the Mandylion/Image of Edessa.
© The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City.

The roll is incomplete because the beginning segment is missing and it is kept at the library of the University of Chicago as manuscript 125. That segment is about 1.7 m long with seven miniatures representing Mark, Luke, John, Christ, Christ and the Virgin, the Trinity and David as King of Israel. The Chicago fragment does not contain any scene involving the Mandylion.

For a good description and analysis of the manuscript M.499, see [1], which has a lengthy bibliography.

The Mandylion/Image of Edessa was most likely a real cloth with an image of Christ, which is transferred from Edessa to Constantinople in 944. It had been kept in Edessa for many centuries. When the Image of Edessa arrives in Constantinople, it is kept in the Imperial Palace and hidden from public view. Its whereabouts is not clear after the sack of Constantinople in 1204, but it is likely transferred to the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris in 1241 after Baudoin II, the desperate Latin Emperor of Constantinople, sold twenty-two relics to King Louis IX. Indeed, the inventories of the Sainte-Chapelle describe a reliquary with a face of Christ at the bottom and containing a cloth.

The manuscript “Pour scavoir la verite,” written around 1525, says that the shroud of Lirey, today the shroud of Turin, was received from King Philip VI. The simplest explanation for the provenance of that gift is the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris, because that is the main repository of the relics of Christ of the King of France. The only relic of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris that can correspond to the shroud of Turin is the Mandylion.


  1. Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, Manuscripta 52:1 (2008), pp. 125-140.

December 25, 2015

The Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Shroud Linen Fibers by Raymond Rogers

In 2005, Raymond Rogers published, in Thermochimica Acta, a study of linen fibers from the Shroud. That study concluded that gum Arabic had been used on the fibers near the radiocarbon dating sample used in 1988 to date the Shroud. The overall conclusion of that study pointed out that the area around and including that sample was mended or at least was different from the rest of the Shroud.

More recently, Marco Bella, Luigi Garlaschelli and Roberto Samperi wrote an editorial paper criticizing the mass spectrometry analysis of that study, concluding that no gum Arabic was detected on the fibers but that instead an unknown contaminant was detected on the sample.

Actually, these criticisms by Bella et al. are misleading, which is discussed in a short communication just published in Thermochimica Acta. Its main conclusion is described in the abstract:

In a recent editorial paper of this journal, Bella et al. commented on the mass spectra analysis done by Rogers, which consisted of two mass spectra of the pyrolysis of linen fibers from two areas of the Shroud of Turin. The main conclusion of Bella et al. was “No diagnostic peak in the pyrolysis mass spectra indicates a significant difference in the two samples, besides hydrocarbon-derived contamination. Therefore, none of the presented data supports the conclusion by Rogers.” We show that the technical analysis of Bella et al. of the mass spectra is incorrect and that their main conclusion is unconfirmed, in particular that a “contaminant” would be present on the second sample analyzed.

This short communication is freely accessible until Feb 12, 2016.

November 30, 2015

The Castle of Ray-sur-Saône
Othon de la Roche
and the
Shroud of Turin

The castle of Ray-sur-Saône in Haute-Saône, Franche-Comté, France.
© Mario Latendresse, 2015

The hypothesis that Othon de la Roche acquired the Shroud of Turin, during the conquest of Constantinople in 1204, has been proposed for many centuries. We read that due to its great services during the 4th crusade, Othon was given the Shroud in 1204, kept it in Athens, and that it was brought back at the castle of Ray-sur-Saône or to the castle of his father.

But that hypothesis can be shown to be false. The misconception sprang from a lack of knowledge about the original documentary sources.

Read more ...

August 4, 2015

The Shroud of Turin
and the
Sainte-Chapelle of Paris

An elevated baldachin on a platform at the same location where the Grande Châsse containing the relics of Constantinople were kept in the choir of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris.
© Mario Latendresse. Photo taken April 26, 2015.

The thesis of the Sainte-Chapelle has been proposed by André-Marie Dubarle and Hilda Leynen to explain the transfer of the Mandylion from Constantinople to Lirey, which became the Shroud of Turin. It is a very coherent, direct and well documented thesis. The thesis is even more coherent when all the inventories of the relics of the Grande Châsse of the Sainte-Chapelle are carefully analyzed. I have little doubt that it is the correct basis from which we can coherently explain the appearance of the Shroud of Turin in Lirey.

Compared to many other thesis, including the involvement of Othon de la Roche or the Knights Templar, it is a well documented thesis with a direct route from Constantinople to Geoffroy de Charny, who brought the Shroud to Lirey. It is coherent with the statements made by the canons of Lirey as well as the son and granddaughter of Geoffroy de Charny. It also explains in a very simple manner the 153-year silence of the Mandylion that became the Shroud of Turin.

It is even hard to believe that such a coherent thesis has been so unfavorably presented, with so many invalid arguments, since Dubarle and Leynen described it.

You can read the arguments in favor of that thesis by reading a preliminary version of a future paper about that thesis and the inventories of the Grande Châsse of the Sainte-Chapelle.

July 27, 2015
© France 3 Franche-comté, F. Ménestret

It is now official, the castle Ray-sur-Saône, its furniture and its park are now owned by the department of Haute-Saône. That implies that all future visits of the castle will be under the control of the department. For more details see Le château de Ray-sur-Saône offert au conseil départemental.

Countess Diane-Régina de Salverte is the last owner of the castle. Although not stated in the newspaper article (see link above), the Countess will possibly still live in a part of the castle.

One of the long time ago owner, in the 13th century, of a castle on the same location was Othon de la Roche who participated in the Fourth Crusade. Many authors stated that Othon was probably the owner of the Shroud of Turin while he was Duke of Athens. This possibility is actually very unlikely because it is based on a manuscript of the 18th century, kept in the Municipal Archives of Besançon, that has no solid foundation.

May 16, 2015

The castle of Ray-sur-Saône is located about 200 km southwest of Lirey and 50 km north of Besançon. It is often cited in the history of the Shroud of Turin because it belongs to descendants of Othon de la Roche, a knight who would have acquired the Shroud during the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). The castle houses a copy of the Shroud of Besançon, which was a partial copy of the Shroud of Turin (ventral part only), and a small chest that would have been used, so it is said, to bring the Shroud from Greece to France in the 13th century.

Despite several historical hypotheses of the Shroud that have been put forward involving Othon de la Roche, it is very unlikely that Othon had anything to do with the Shroud of Turin. The main reason for this conclusion is that the seed of all these hypotheses is the dissertation in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud of Besançon, written in 1714, contained in the manuscript 826 of the archives of the Besançon library. That is, all subsequent historical documents mentioning Othon de la Roche as possibly having owned the Shroud are based directly or indirectly on that dissertation. But that dissertation has no solid foundation to state that Othon de la Roche was involved with any shroud: the dissertation refers to documents that never mention that Othon received a shroud or owned any shroud. In other words, the author of that dissertation made up a story about Othon de la Roche receiving a shroud during the Fourth Crusade. The book Le Saint Suaire de Besançon discusses these hypotheses and has a complete transcription of the manuscript 826 (in French).

Moreover, the small chest still at the castle of Ray-sur-Saône appears unlikely to have been used to bring any shroud back from Greece. There is no written tradition from de la Roche family, or its descendants, mentioning that such a chest was used. Several people, including myself, tried to discuss this tradition with the last owner of the castle, the countess Diane Régina de Salverte, but no such discussion was possible. It is difficult to date the chest as no authorization would be given to do so.

It is also odd that the copy of a shroud in the castle is not of the Shroud of Turin but of the Shroud of Besançon, which is not what one would do to honor this incredible fact that the Shroud of Turin was brought from Constantinople by one of your ancestors. If this copy is used, it is most likely because it is based on the story coming from the manuscript 826 of Besançon, which means that this copy is not based on family tradition but rather from the writing of Dom Chamard, which in turn is based on the dissertation in favor of the Shroud of Besançon of manuscript 826, which we know is totally unreliable.

And any hypothesis stating that the Shroud came to Lirey through Jeanne de Vergy (second wife of Geoffroy de Charny), who would have been a descendant of Othon de la Roche, is fraught with other major issues. For example, the receipt of Humbert de Villersexel, given in 1418 to the canons of the collegiate church of Lirey, states clearly that the reliquary containing the Shroud had the coat of arms of de Charny, not of de Vergy. The son and the granddaughter of Geoffroy de Charny also stated clearly that the Shroud was from Geoffroy de Charny, not from Jeanne de Vergy.

The castle was transformed several times and even, due to the Ten Years war, it was destroyed then rebuilt. The castle used to have up to twelve towers, but now has only two. The countess Diane Régina de Salverte still lives at the castle but occupying only a part of it because the ownership of the castle is in the process of being transferred to the French administration (Département de la Haute-Saône). Visits, for the general public, of the interior of the castle have been suspended until this transfer is completed.

For many more photographs of the castle Ray-sur-Saône, its garden and its surrounding view of the valley, see Photographs of the Castle Ray-sur-Saône.

May 10, 2015

The first ostentations of the Shroud of Turin in the Western world was in Lirey, a hamlet 16 km southwest of Troyes, the nearest large city. Lirey is still today a hamlet with about fourty houses and a 19th century chapel located on the same piece of land where the first chapel was built in 1353. The first ostentation of the Shroud would have been around 1355, but we do not know the exact year. In 1418, the Shroud leaves the chapel and Lirey to be kept at the castle of Montfort under the protection of Humbert de Villersexel, the second husband of Marguerite de Charny, granddaughter of Geoffroy de Charny. The Shroud never came back to Lirey although the canons of Lirey tried many times over a century to regain the Shroud. A second chapel was inaugurated in 1525, which was demolished in 1828. A third chapel was built at the end of the 19th century. The following photographs show the inside and outside of this third chapel at Lirey.

In 1353, the chapel was supervised by a small group of canons, the collegiate, who lived nearby. In the following photo, on the right, is the site where the collegiate building was located (the chapel, not visible, is on the left). Notice the black small tower. It probably dates back to the 16th century. It houses pigeons that were probably used for communication.

The castle (or maison forte) of Geoffroy de Charny was further back on a small slightly elevated piece of land encircled by a protective trench filled with water. The trench is still visible today and water is still keeping the visitors away. The collegiate and the castle no longer exist and their pieces of land are now private. Thanks to Alain Hourseau who made the appropriate arrangements to access the site where the castle used to be located. The following photos show the trench filled with water and the castle site filled with trees.

February 24, 2015
Page couverture du livre Le Saint Suaire de Besançon // Dissertations pour et contre son authenticité.


The Shroud of Besançon was as popular as the Shroud of Turin for almost three centuries. It disappeared in 1794 during the French Revolution.

The 18th century manuscript 826 from the archives of the Bibliothèque de Besançon contains two dissertations, one for its authenticity and one against it. The dissertation for its authenticity has a proof of the origin of the Shroud of Besançon from Constantinople, but not only that proof has been critised by many researchers, its use to prove an historical route for the Turin Shroud, based on Othon de la Roche, is shown to be highly doubtful. Indeed, this dissertation, and its proof, was cited numerous times by scholars and historians of the Shroud of Turin.

This newly published book presents a complete transcription of both dissertations. The transcription of the first dissertation, for the authenticity, is new because this dissertation was never published before. A French description, from the back cover, is given below. An electronic version of this book (for phones, tablets, computers) is also available.

You can order this book in Europe from

You can order this book in North America from

Back Cover Description

Le Saint Suaire de Besançon fut très populaire pendant près de trois siècles, attirant des foules considérables dès ses premières ostensions au 16e siècle. Sa popularité est si grande qu'en 1705 le roi Louis XIV ordonne la suspension des ostensions pour éviter que les soldats allemands s'emparent de la ville en se dissimulant parmi les dizaines de milliers de pèlerins étrangers.

Le Suaire de Besançon disparaît en 1794 lors de la Révolution française, mais il subsiste de nombreux anciens manuscrits et publications le décrivant. Le manuscrit 826 du 18e siècle des archives de la bibliothèque de Besançon est composé de deux dissertations distinctes qui poursuivent des objectifs diamétralement opposés, la première plaidant en faveur de l'authenticité du Suaire de Besançon et la seconde soutenant le contraire.

Ce livre présente une transcription inédite de la première dissertation et une version modernisée de la seconde dissertation publiée en 1831, accompagnée de commentaires.

Les auteurs de ces dissertations comparent le Suaire de Besançon avec le Suaire de Turin, parfois pour déterminer lequel serait authentique. Le lecteur pourra juger de la pertinence de ces comparaisons et mieux découvrir ces deux Suaires. Il découvrira aussi des éléments modernes de la seconde dissertation et en particulier qu'un suaire authentique est plus crédible s'il produit une image tridimensionnelle, une remarque très pertinente au regard des développements scientifiques modernes sur le Suaire de Turin.

Quelle est l'origine du Suaire de Besançon? Était-il aussi populaire que le Suaire de Turin? Est-ce que l'Histoire de ce Suaire a été combinée à celle du Suaire de Turin? Le chevalier Othon de la Roche est-il réellement à l'origine du Suaire de Besançon ou peut-être est-il plutôt à l'origine de celui de Turin? Voilà quelques-unes des questions fascinantes abordées dans ce livre.

L'auteur est chercheur en informatique et bioinformatique dans un centre de recherche de la Silicon Valley. Il a un doctorat en informatique-mathématiques de l'Université de Montréal et a publié de nombreux articles scientifiques en informatique, bioinformatique et mathématiques appliquées. Il est aussi l'éditeur du site web sur le Suaire de Turin. Il est l'heureux père de deux charmantes filles.