If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone



ULTIMATE LINK FOR DEBUNKING OF TURIN SHROUD: http://www.historytoday.com/charles-freeman/origins-shroud-turin

BAD ARCHAEOLOGY WEBSITE REFUTES SHROUD: http://www.badarchaeology.com/?page_id=322
The Turin Shroud is the most famous relic in the world. Millions believe that it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ bearing his crucified and bloodied image. The cloth is kept at Turin in Italy. The cloth is an enigma. Many say it is a miracle.


In the 1300's, a shroud bearing the image of Jesus front and back was venerated at Lirey as the true burial cloth of Jesus. De Charney was its owner and kept a strict silence on how he got the cloth except to say it was a gift which some interpret to mean it was a spoil of war. The silence is telling.
The bishop Henry of Poitiers was enraged with the shroud veneration.   The bishop's problem was that the evidence was that the image was a fake and the artist who created it had been interviewed.  He banned it completely and got a confession from an artist as to how it was faked.  His problem was how pilgrims were being duped.  De Charney and the priests were accused of setting up and running this fraud.  Interestingly there is no mention of how the rich De Charney could well afford to commission an artist to give us a good fake shroud.


His successor Bishop Pierre d'Arcis reaffirmed his opposition to the shroud and made it his own too.  D'Arcis wanted the pope to ban the veneration.  He hoped that this would deal with the disobedience he and the previous bishop had encountered.  He too saw the veneration as a scam with which to fool pilgrims and get their money.  D'Arcis prepared documentation for the pope, Clement VII of Avignon, in order to get the buffoonery stopped. The D'Arcis Memorandum is the name of this document. Clement banned anybody from declaring the image authentic but warned D'Arcis that he would pay the penalty of excommunication unless he stopped warring with the clergy at Lirey.


It is odd that some have a problem with D'Arcis not showing that an investigation had happened and telling the name of the artist!  I'd see that as evidence that he expected a papal commission to worry about that.




Believers slander the bishops.


They claim that we don't know what the pope received from them for the memorandum seems to be only a draft.


They claim that because it is a draft it only means the bishop was thinking about what to say and was not necessarily being definite.  That is speculation and plus the draft was fixed which means it ended up a true copy of what the pope got.


They go as far as to pretend that the document was not sent to the pope in case he would establish a papal investigation that might rule against the bishops in favour of the shroud.  That is insane never mind being pure fantasy.  They talk as if the bishop knew that somebody someday could use the draft against the shroud and that he had no intention of sending it to the pope!


They claim that the bishops were corrupt and their hate for the devotion was based on jealousy because they were not going to benefit from it and because they hated those responsible for the display of the cloth.  Why would D’Arcis condemn the veneration of the shroud just for spite or out of dishonesty when the image was unimpressive?  It is only because of the negative image that we think it is great but to the naked eye it looks like dirty toilet paper.


If the bishop had a problem with the circumstances of how the shroud was displayed he could have stopped this merely by highlighting how the poor were being fleeced.  There was no need to get into a controversy about authenticity UNLESS THE TRUE ORIGIN OF THE CLOTH WAS KNOWN and he is clear that the landowner "falsely and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which by a clever sleight of hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and the front, he falsely declaring and pretending that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which He bore".


Every single point here is pure speculation.  Surely Jesus Christ would not want the authenticity of his shroud to need people to blacken the bishops.


Even the fact that the pope did not ban the devotion but regulated it does nothing to prove the bishops wrong. Catholicism always regulates and accepts implausible shrines as long as there is no doctrinal or moral error involved. Plus it goes without saying that popes may allow or ban devotions but that does not mean the pope will object if a bishop sees things differently.


The believers would not be battling that much if it were say Jesus' alleged wisdom tooth that were enshrined not the shroud.  There is no definite proof that the image on the cloth at Lirey is our image today.  But the believers need it to be as it would be too odd if the shroud appears any later in history.

The Turin Shroud, reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, was carbon dated in 1988 to having been made between 1260 and 1390 AD. So its too young to be the burial cloth of Jesus. This has not stopped religious cranks from trying to prove the cloth is older than that. One method they use to prove this is from the existence of the Shroud in historical records before that time. The other is seeing if the way the Shroud was made matches what we know about how things were made in first century Palestine. But sadly for them, we can prove that they are just fantasists.

The carbon-dating matches the historical record, as provided by D'Arcis which reveals that the Church knew it was forged and banned its veneration when it first appeared around 1350 at the Church at Lirey where it was honoured as a sacred relic. The believers guess that the Church at the time was wrong. Sceptics say the Shroud was forged about that time.

Because the Church found the origin of the shroud to be fraudulent at that time, todays Shroudies desperately seek a way to refute this historical evidence as it supports the results of the carbon dating.

It is held by shroud believers that there is no concrete evidence that the Shroud existed before the mid-1350s when it was seemingly fully exposed and venerated in the Church at Lirey. But they assume there were indications that it may have done.  They are guessing. If it might have existed then that does not mean that it did! Their logic is telling.
And they essentially use weak evidence that the Shroud was around since the time of Christ while ignore good evidence that it could have been forged in the 1300's.
The main argument for the Shroud being a forgery from the 1350s stands and is stronger than many even realise. Also, the carbon dating says the Shroud linen was made between 1260 and 1390 AD. It might be that the linen comes from that time but the image was made later say if the Shroud had been a painting and the paint washed off an a new image put on it by primitive photography or some other technique in Leonardo’s time.
History showing that the image is fake should surpass any alleged evidence that the cloth is real.  Why?  Because even science can only look at the shroud NOW but we know nothing about what science would find if the cloth were put in a time machine and reverted back to what was at Lirey.


Nevertheless science agrees with history and that agreement is important too and more important than any pro-shroud evidence given by todays shroudies.  The carbon dating agreeing with D'Arcis would be miraculous if either or both were wrong.




“It was quite unlikely that the Holy Evangelists would have omitted to record an imprint on Christ’s burial linens, or that the fact should have remained hidden until the present time”.


This line overrides any drivel by Ian Wilson and his ilk that the shroud can be traced prior to the Lirey episode.  The bishop was in a position to know and it is clear that the owners of the Shroud then had no explanation for its sudden emergence.  And the evidence that the shroud did exist before then is inconclusive and depends too much on interpretation.  It is interpretation and speculation not evidence.
From the D'Arcis Memorandum
"The case, Holy Father, stands thus. Some time since in this diocese of Troyes the dean of a certain collegiate church, to wit, that of Lirey, falsely and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which by a clever sleight of hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and the front, he falsely declaring and pretending that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb, and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which he bore...And further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked, certain men being hired to represent themselves as healed at the moment of the exhibition of the shroud."
Of the previous bishop who investigated he wrote, "Eventually after diligent inquiry and examination, he discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who had painted it, to wit, that it was a work of human skill and not miraculously wrought or bestowed."
The Memorandum does not say if they did or didn't. It was not relevant. The bishops, whether they did or didn't, did not claim to be relic spotters. They left others to think about whether a relic was real or not.
If one or both did see the shroud it is possible that he or they felt so strongly about it because what he seen or they saw was a crude forgery.
Corrections do not necessarily mean hearsay. The bishop made the essential points without any trouble. The corrections are what you would expect. There are no lines in it that are struck out that make a difference to what he was trying to say.


People can and do keep drafts as copies of the official document. 
The logic with this is that the bishop was making serious allegations of idolatrous fraud against DeCharney and the priests at Lirey so if he send the information to the pope and an investigation ensued and it was found he was making false accusations he would be defrocked and lose everything. Plus the devotion he was trying to destroy would only end up looking stronger.
He would face the wrath of the pilgrims and the priests and the wealthy pilgrims and the wrath of the law.
The consequences would be terrible yes. But if he were lying then he would not have written the memo at all. He would have found another way to quash the shrine to the shroud at Lirey. He would not have been writing to the pope - the person who could cause the worst possible scenario unless he was sure that what he declared was the truth. With the truth he had nothing to fear.
His actions are the actions of a man who held that it was very clear and indisputable that the cloth was inauthentic.
Why would he lie?
Suppose the impossible is true and he really needed to lie about the cloth. He could have got his own team to investigate and bribed them to declare it a fraud but he did not. It would have been better than lying about a previous bishop and risking evidence or letters turning up that expose his lies.
Some say that D'Arcis lied that Henry was against the Lirey Shroud. Bishop Henry wrote a warm letter approving of the Lirey Church at the time D’Arcis said he was in the middle of a legal battle with it over the false Shroud. But people might praise the good things despite the bad. Maybe the matter had been temporarily settled. In 1357,a papal document gave blessings for people who worshipped in the Church. This does not imply there was no strife between Henry and the Shroud people for the Church had not decided what to make of the Shroud so getting a blessing for venerating it does not mean it was recognised.


Henry sought good relations but he battled the shroud for he knew its true origins.
The fact is that two Catholic bishops looked into the claims made for the Shroud roughly around the time it appeared and condemned it as a scandal and a fake. The silence in response to their accusations is deafening. The custodians of the Shroud though it gave them a bad name and lost them much revenue from pilgrims maintained what can only be thought of as a guilty silence. A bailiff, the Bailiff of Troyes made a report in 1389 that the shroud was a painting.
The integrity of the two bishops, Henry and D'Arcis, is accepted by all even those who would like to dispute it such as Ian Wilson (page 99, The Turin Shroud). The popular belief among Shroud believers that the bishop was feuding with the clergy who had the shroud and fabricated a case that it was a forgery to spite them. That is pure speculation. There is no evidence that he would have done such a thing. Logic says he would have not for it risked the future of the shroud and he would be better off trying to get it for his own church.
The two bishops were accused by Wilson of wanting to smear the origin of the cloth because they wanted it for themselves to make money. This despite the fact that there is no reason to doubt their integrity as Wilson himself admitted before he found that saying that was not helping the case for the Shroud's authenticity. Wilson attempts to show that Henry would have done this and speculates that it was because his diocese had money troubles so he got jealous when he heard about a money making shrine being set up that he could not make any money out of (page 150, The Blood on the Shroud). But he was the bishop and could have got it for his cathedral or make a shrine out of Lirey that would have been of profit to him. You don’t fabricate evidence for inauthenticity for relics that you want for yourself for then they will be worthless if nobody accepts them. Wilson is just speculating and speculating improbably. He was the one that said in a previous book that the bishops were men of integrity. As always, believers in religion and the supernatural often resort to slander to give their lies and distortions some credibility.


Some say, "Fraud or not the bishops could still have made money out of the cloth if they wanted to.  The pope permitted veneration and that means money."  If the bishops were greedy then debunking the cloth was not going to help. 




Every miracle claim in the Middle Ages was guaranteed to attract deluded people who though they were miraculously cured and the fakes.  The reports were usually the only evidence necessary for the Church to sanction or at least permit the miracle claim. 


Here is what happened when the Shroud was venerated: "And further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked, certain men being hired to represent themselves as healed at the moment of the exhibition of the shroud."
The bishops could have stopped the fraudulent miracles and the conning without attacking the authenticity of the shroud. Surely if the shroud was real that was all the more reason to protect the veneration of the shroud against fraudsters?


Be sure that when the healings were roundly rejected as fake that was highly unusual in itself.  It can only be explained by the utter certainty that the shroud was fake.
Wilson says that the information from Henry was not taken from Henry’s memos by D’Arcis for D’Arcis tells the pope that the dispute between Henry and the Shroud people took place thirty-four years previously or thereabouts (The Blood and the Shroud, page 149). The exact date wasn’t important in the letter – it was only a letter not a legal statement. Wilson wants to see D’Arcis as less than reliable for he could not come up with the exact date. Since Henry’s documents would have been dated it is supposed D’Arcis would have got the exact date if he had had them on the table. But the bishop would have taken notes from the original and it is they that matter and not the date or having the original before him. The letter only says that the bishop was proved right in court that the Shroud was a fake and then that the Shroud was hidden for thirty-four years or thereabouts. The bishop could have had a document giving the date of the court decision but that does not mean the Shroud was hidden that very day or even year. There could have been an attempt to appeal and when that failed and when the bishop made his final threat to confiscate the Shroud, the Shroud was hidden. Perhaps the Shroud was not hidden until the following year for it was safely out of Lirey for a while. Bishop Henry might not have written down the exact date of the Shroud’s disappearance for he did not need to. What Wilson sees to be insinuated in the thereabouts is not there at all. He is incorrect for the bishop gives many details showing he must have had his precursor’s paper or excerpts from it in front of him.
This objection is based on two assumptions, that the Turin Shroud is the Lirey Shroud and that the Turin Shroud is not a painting.
The D'Arcis Memo says that Henry the bishop did not learn it was a painting until he found the painter for it says he discovered it was all a hoax after an investigation when the forger confessed. So whatever was at Lirey may not have looked like an obvious painting. The Turin Shroud does not look like an obvious painting either. Were they same? Probably. Possibly.
If the Shroud of Lirey were an obvious painting then it means it was not the Turin Shroud and there is no evidence that the latter was known of in the 1300's.
If the Shroud of Lirey over time changed a lot and became less like a painting it could be the Turin Shroud.
Even if some image did not look like a painting and you were told it was, you would not question that. Paintings come in all kinds.
If some image was a painting and you were told it was not, you would not think it was a painting unless it was very obviously painted.
Nobody can say that it was thought to be a painting before that artist was spoken to. If you saw today's Turin Shroud and were told it was a painting you would believe them. Most people would. It is wrong to say, "The image does not look like a typical painting so nobody would think it was a painting." You might think nobody would call the Turin Shroud image a painting for it is so vague and you can’t see brush marks. But why not? Not all painting needs to be that obvious!
If it was a too obviously a painting then it probably could not be the Turin Shroud.  But you never know.
Whatever one may think about the image of Jesus on the Turin cloth, the blood definitely looks like a very subtle painting.
You get brush marks with paint but only if you use the typical brushes. Or if paint contains some surprising ingredients and takes ages to dry there might be no trace of brush marks. So don’t see a miracle in the absence of brush marks like the Shroudies do. Remember too that the cloth is very coarse so brush marks made in paint with a very fine brush would be unnoticeable plus the paint would have to have disintegrated and come off a good bit too over the years meaning the brush marks, if any, would be impossible to make out. It is not even important with regard to the question of whether or to the image is fake. But it serves Shroudies well to exaggerate its importance.  If there are marks the Shroudies will happily imagine they are something else maybe dessication or damage.
The lack of outlining and brush marks could have been the reason the bishops clearly stated that it was more than just painted but cunningly painted by trickery.
They said it was cunningly painted meaning it didn't look like a normal picture.


A painting not done with normal paints is still a painting and body fluids could have been used to make the image.
The bishop’s letter says the artist showed Henry how it was done. The Shroud didn’t look like a normal painting. Some strange technique was deployed that had to be demonstrated to the bishop. So far it could sound like our Turin Shroud. The picture was a strange one and the bishop had to see how it was done. If it was the Turin Shroud then this artist forged it. It is evidence that people were interested in using strange methods to produce such images. If we don’t already know how it was made, we might never know now after all this time. The image surely would have chemically changed through the long centuries since.
The Church had enough relics of the cross to build ships in the days of the Lirey Shroud. Dishonesty was rife and a lot of money could be made from fake relics.  If the Lirey Shroud was the Turin Shroud which looks convincing and mysterious at first glance and to simple people, it is unthinkable that the Church would have rejected it and tried to discredit it. This shows that the Church couldn’t deny that the artist made it and it was too well known that he did. The Church made relics out of less mysterious objects so the Church knew that the Shroud was not a mystery. The bishop even knew how the image was made.
Pity he didn't record how ...
If the Lirey Shroud was the Turin Shroud then the people who would have known knew that it was a fake. The Memorandum tells us that. If it is not the Turin Shroud then that did not exist in those days and must be a forgery substituted for the Lirey Shroud.
Believers prefer to think the Lirey Shroud is the Turin Shroud for they cannot bear to think that such a precious relic could be accompanied by so much silence through the centuries. It makes it too difficult to link the Shroud with Christ.  
Bishop Henry of Poitiers commanded that veneration of the Shroud at Lirey stop.
The clergy facilitating the veneration made an interesting response.
Wilson tells us, “And while they were describing it only as a likeness, the canons were making it known privately that it was the actual Shroud in which Christ had been wrapped in the tomb, a claim that was attracting multitudes of pilgrims” (page 97, The Turin Shroud).
The people displaying the Shroud in the Church said in public that it was not real but said it was real in private. Yet they let its alleged authenticity be broadcast all over. This tells us that they knew it was a fake and said so but when they found they could say it was real and get away with it they confided in all the indiscreet gossips they could find. This was to make it look like as if they believed all along, to strengthen the pro-authenticity case.
Honest weren't they? They were just the kind of people who would get an artist to forge for them.
Henry's successor as bishop, D'Arcis took the same line as Henry.
Back to the letter from Bishop D’Arcis. The letter could be saying that the Shroud of Lirey was painted or copied, the Latin can mean either (The Turin Shroud, page 98). But when you look at how the clergy were saying it was the real cloth and no other cloth was mentioned or known of painted is probably the best understanding.

Ian Wilson hopes that if the Lirey Shroud was not the Turin Shroud then it still proves that the real Shroud existed and was not the fake the painter made – he hopes it was a copy of what is now the Turin Shroud. That is a pathetic and far-fetched hope.
Anyway the context of the D'Arcis letter makes it plain that he believes the true Shroud was lost in the first century for its preservation was not mentioned in the New Testament: “for the holy Gospel made no mention of any such imprint” (page 307, The Turin Shroud). Painted and not copied is the translation implied by the context. Nobody would set up a copy with which to deceive the people when the original was available.
Wilson now tries to say the Lirey Shroud was a forgery and was not the Turin one. He would be better off saying it was the Turin one for then at least he could say it existed at that time but was ridiculed.
In 1389, Clement VII, was informed by a letter from the new bishop, Bishop D’Arcis, who told him that the Shroud was a fake that Henry who investigated the cloth that found that it was a forgery as in a painting and the artist admitted creating it.
Some claim the letter was "apparently" never sent. But apparently does not mean much. What do they want? An affidavit from the post master? Clement VII in 1390 responded to the shroud controversy by decreeing that it must be viewed only as a likeness of Jesus and not the real thing. To me, his reaction is evidence that he got a letter or something from D'Arcis.
What supports the sceptical bishops is the fact that the cloth was in the possession of Geoffrey de Charney who would not display or publicise it. This is bizarre both from religious and financial point of views. Why hide the cloth of Christ and risk it being lost maybe forever unless it is a fake and you are afraid that people find out that somebody was murdered to create the cloth or the artist who made it might be discovered? Why not make money out of displaying it? The Shroud had to wait until he died before it could be unleashed on the world.

Pope Clement’s response was to let the exposition of the Shroud continue as long as the owners said the cloth was only an image of the Shroud (page 100, The Turin Shroud). He told D’Arcis to say nothing probably because he would not have liked this decision. There was no need for him to say anything because the pope had been convinced by his letter that the Lirey Shroud was a clever painting.


Clement wanted the cloth venerated not as a real relic of Jesus but as an icon.  The pope then agreed with the evidence that the cloth was not the real burial cloth of Jesus.  The bishops could have taken the same line but must have been very sure that the evidence was so good that the pope would just stop expositions of the winding sheet completely.  Had the bishops not been sure it was fake, saying its origin was uncertain was all they needed to do and to get the Lirey clergy to do.  That would get the fleeced pilgrims to eventually fall away.

Most people believe that the Shroud image was made about the time Geoffrey de Charney got the cloth and kept hidden in a chest because it seems to them that that is as far back as the cloth can be traced. After his death, his second wife had it put on display to make money (The Jesus Conspiracy, page 218). This took place in Lirey in 1355. We can’t prove that Geoffrey had the cloth for he would never ever have mentioned it. It is hard to believe that he would never have looked into the chest it was in. Either he knew the image was made in some immoral way and was afraid of being caught or his wife got somebody to forge the image. Perhaps she lied that her husband had it to make it seem older.

If he knew he had the image he would have desperately wanted the world to revere it and yet he left no deathbed testimony or letter in its favour. The man could not speak because it was forged and he knew it.




"In 1993, Hilda Leynen discovered that two distinct drafts of the D’Arcis Memorandum were maintained in the Champagne collection of the
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, one very rough and containing bracketed words, and the other a relatively neat and polished product."


There is no important difference between them.  The polished one is a copy of what was sent to the pope.  It was addressed to Maitre Guillaume
Fulconis who was a scribe and whose job was to make sure it was really ready for the bishop to sign.


The bishop had a panel of learned experts and theologians who agreed with him that the cloth was not real.  Canon Ulisse Chevalier called this a commission of investigation but believers in the shroud claim it was just a panel of advisors not a thorough commission.  But since when could a commission not be advisory?




Attempts have been made to argue that the cloth in this case was not the Turin Shroud but a copy of it. These are just speculation.  Believers should not want to think such a thing for it means at a time there should have been a true shroud venerated there in fact was not!


While we cannot be sure that the Turin Shroud is the same as the Lirey Shroud, we can be sure that if the Shroud of Turin were a miracle relic that God would have taken better care of the evidence for its authenticity. It just cannot be linked with certainty to the 1300's never mind to the century in which Jesus supposedly lived. If the Lirey episode is irrelevant to the Turin Shroud then there is no link with the Templars who are imagined to have been the guardians of the Shroud and the explanation for why interest in it appeared out of nowhere.  That link is critical to pro-authenticity.  Or do we wish to argue that the image at Lirey was rubbish but its front and back images were a new idea? Did that put the idea out there to make a more convincing one with a similar layout?




The expert and devout priest, Canon Ulisse Chevalier, popularised the evidence from the bishops that the image was a fake.  There are those who write “The abbot Chevalier was an erudite and pious ecclesiastic, a tireless researcher and a collector of documents, who rendered great service to science and history. Of his integrity and good faith there is absolutely no doubt.” And they are still anxious to implicate him with “misrepresentation and deception” as regards the shroud .

The case against the D'Arcis Memorandum is based on lies and speculation. A man was found to have forged a Shroud for veneration at Lirey. The argument that the artist did not mean to forge is interesting but it is based on how the gospels do not really fit the kind of shroud image he produced.  They think no forger contradicts history but in Catholicism there could be several heads of John the Baptist and nobody cared.  He probably did intend to forge. The best view is that the Lirey cloth is the Turin Shroud of today.  It is the most straightforward one.  The most important thing perhaps is not that the artist was found but the assertion from the bishops that there was no hint that the cloth was any older than when it first appeared.  That overrides any rubbish from Ian Wilson and co that the cloth did exist before its appearance at Lirey.  They were not there.  The peer review paper Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin in Nature in 1989 has no doubts: “The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is medieval [not Biblical]”.