Castle Ray-sur-Saône

The castle of Ray-sur-Saône 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.

But is it really the case that Othon de la Roche was involved with the Shroud of Turin?

In all likelihood, the confusion about the involvement of Othon de la Roche comes from a single source, that is, the manuscript 826 of the Archives of the Bibliothèque de Besançon, which contains a dissertation in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud of Besançon. That dissertation argues that Othon de la Roche obtained a shroud in Constantinople, but all the sources supporting these arguments do not state that this knight obtained such a shroud. From that source, several authors and scholars promoted other scenarios that Othon did indeed bring a shroud from Constantinople to France, to his castle in Franche-Comté, and eventually that this shroud would have made its way to Lirey. But these are variations of that dissertation that does not have a solid foundation. The book Le Saint Suaire de Besançon discusses these hypotheses and has a full transcription of the manuscript 826.

The following photographs show the castle of Ray-sur-Saône in the spring of 2015 while its ownership was being transferred to the Département de la Haute-Saône. Future visits of the interior of the castle will be handled by the French administration.