The Holy Shroud is an object of devotion that is rarely exposed and, when it is, millions of people go to venerate it in Turin (Italy). With such a high interest, why isn’t the Shroud exposed more often?
The exposure of the Holy Shroud is technically called “ostension”. The web shroud.org, specialized on this much-researched linen fabric, answers why ostensions are so rare.
“Since it arrived in Turin in 1578, the Shroud has only been displayed a few times each century. (…) Security is always an issue with the Shroud. For example, the Turin authorities firmly believe that the April 1997 fire in the Chapel, the Cathedral and the Royal Palace was intentionally set by an arsonist. In 1978, during a 5-week exhibition, 3.5 million visitors came to the city to view the fabric. Organizing this type of event is always a problem”, they specify.
But perhaps the main reason why ostentions are so infrequent is due to, as shroud.org underlines, «exposing the fabric to polluted air and ultraviolet light during an exhibition can damage the fabric and the image as well.»
«Although the Shroud is now stored in a specially designed container to protect and preserve it, too much exposure could create serious long-term conservation and preservation problems,» they say.
The next public exhibition is scheduled for 2025.
The exhibition The Mystery Man compiles in a unique journey the main investigations on the Shroud and culminates with the main piece of the exhibition, a hyper-realistic and volumetric recreation of the man who was covered with the Shroud, which for many is Jesus of Nazareth.