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A Calendar of the Shroud for the years 1509-1694

This calendar is intended to follow on from that for the years 1452-1509, as published in Newsletter no.38 - the aim being in time to create a complete chronology from the Shroud's earliest origins through to the present. Additions and corrections will be welcomed from members, with a view to the creation of a master chronology of the Shroud that can be a general research tool, and become part of Barrie Schwortz's Shroud web site on the Internet.

1511 - Private showing of the Shroud for Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, and for Francesco of Aragon.

1513 - Death at Chambry of Marguerite's of Austria's mother-in-law dowager duchess Claude. She is buried behind the high altar of the Sainte Chapelle, Chambry, immediately facing the repository containing the Shroud.

1516 - King Francis I of France journeys from Lyon to Chambry to venerate the Shroud after his victory at Marignac. A copy of the Shroud preserved in the Church of St.Gommaire, Lierre, Belgium is dated to this year.

1518 - The Shroud is exhibited from castle walls at Chambry in honour of the Cardinal of Aragon

1521 - Duke Charles III of Savoy marries Beatrice, daughter of King Emanuel of Portugal in this year, and they make a pilgrimage from Vercelli to Chambry to venerate the Shroud. The Shroud is exhibited at Chambry for benefit of Dom Edme, abbot of Clairvaux. Carried by three bishops, it is shown on the castle walls, and then for privileged observers hung over the high altar of the Sainte Chapelle, Chambry.

1525 - A notice 'Pour scavoir' posted in the Lirey church in this year gives a lengthy though not overly accurate account of the Shroud's history. This notes as still extant in the Lirey church 'the big strong armoires where the Holy Shroud was housed and carefully guarded'.

1530 - Death of Shroud devotee Margaret of Austria, who commissioned the silver casket made for the Shroud in 1509

1532 - 4 December - Fire breaks out in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambry, seriously damaging all its furnishings and fittings. Because where the Shroud is kept is protected by four locks, Canon Philibert Lambert and two Franciscans summon the help of a blacksmith to prise open the grille. By the time they succeed, Margaret of Austria's casket has been melted beyond repair by the intense heat. But the Shroud folded inside is preserved except for having been scorched and holed by a drop of molten silver that fell on one corner

1534 - 15 April - Cardinal Louis de Gorrevod holds canonical investigation at Chambery at which three bishops and ten noblemen testify to the cloth before them being the same as that they knew before the fire. According to the Cardinal 'It is the same sheet as we ourselves before the fire have many times held in our hands, seen, touched and shown to the people'

16 April - 8 am - The Shroud is solemnly carried to the convent of the Poor Clare Nuns at Chambry. There the nuns repair the Shroud, sewing it onto a backing cloth, and sewing patches over the unsightliest of the damage. As described by the Reverend Mother Abbess:

'After dinner, the embroiderer brought the wooden frame to stretch the Holland cloth on which the Holy Shroud was to be placed. After two hours the cloth was fixed on the loom and we laid out the precious Holy Shroud upon it, and basted all around... The blood drops appear as large as marjoram leaves... on looking through the underside of the Shroud, when it was stretched on the Holland cloth or on the loom, we saw the wounds as if we had looked through a glass.'

These repairs are completed on 2 May. Covered in cloth of gold, the Shroud is returned to the Savoys' castle in Chambry

1535 - Savoy is invaded by French troops. Calvin promulgates Protestant doctrines in the Aosta valley. Charles III and his family abandon Chambry. The Shroud is taken to Piedmont, passing through the Lanzo valley via Bessans, Averoles, Ceres, and Lanzo

4 May - The Shroud is exhibited in Turin

1536 - 7 May - The Shroud is exhibited in Milan. Indicative of the rumours that it had been destroyed in the fire, Rabelais' Gargantua published in France in this year includes a scene in which soldiers sacking a monastery vineyard call upon various saints and relics when attacked with a processional cross by one 'Frre Jean':. 'Some made a vow to St.James, others to the Holy Shroud of Chambry, but it caught fire three months later so that not a single scrap (brin) could be saved; others to Cadouin...'

1537 - The Shroud is taken for safety to Vercelli because of the French invasions

29 March - The Shroud is exhibited from the tower of Bellanda, Nice

1540 - The Shroud is at Aosta

1541 - The Shroud is once again at Vercelli, where it will stay for the next twenty years

1559 - Following the treaty of Chateau Chambrsis in this year, Duke Emanuel Philibert is able to take possession of his territories, and marries Marguerite de Valois in this same year. Neither are young - he is thirty-two, she thirty-seven. A miniature in Duchess Marguerite's prayer book (see right), thought to have been painted on the occasion of this marriage, shows the Shroud held up by three bishops. This exhibits the so-called poker-holes, but not the damage sustained as a result of the fire of 1532. Dorsally the body of Jesus is shown naked (though frontally there is an indication of a loincloth), the last such Shroud depiction before the prudish policies of the Counter-Reformation Pope Paul IV, which caused the covering up of the nudities in Michelangelo's Last Judgment (1559-60), came into effect.

1561 - Early June - The Shroud is brought back to Chambry, and deposited in the Church of St.Mary the Egyptian, in the Franciscan convent

15 and 17 August - Showings of the Shroud from the walls of the city and in the piazza of the castello

1563 - Duke Emmanuel-Philibert (1528-80) definitively fixes Turin as the capital of his dominions, thereby relegating Chambry to the outskirts

1568 - June - The Shroud copies of Guadalupe (in the Spanish archdiocese of Toledo) and Navarrete (in the diocese of Logrono) are made in this year. The Italian inscription on the Guadalupe example reads:

'At the request of Signor Francesco Ibarra this picture was made as closely as possible to the precious relic which reposes in the Holy Chapel of the Castle of Chambry, and was laid upon it in June 1568.'

The Navarrete copy's inscription is almost identical, but in favour of Signor Diego Gonzales.

1571 - Commissioning of two copies by Pope Pius V in this year, one of these now identifiable as the copy of Alcoy, Archdiocese of Valencia, Spain. This particular example was given by Pope Pius V to Don Juan of Austria, who gave it to the Holy Sepulchre Convent in Alcoy in 1574

1578 - The saintly Cardinal Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) decides to journey on foot from Milan to Chambery to give thanks to the Shroud following release of Milan from the plague. To save Borromeo the rigours of a journey across the Alps Duke Emanuel Philibert orders the cloth to be brought from Chambery.

14 September - The Shroud arrives in Turin, heralded by a gun salute from the local artillery. It is first laid up in old S.Lorenzo

10 October (Friday) - Private showing of the Shroud for Charles Borromeo and his companions. Upon removal of its black silk coverlet, the cloth is shown stretched out on a large table

12 October (Sunday) - The Shroud is carried in procession from the Cathedral to the Piazza del Castello where, with Borromeo, Vercelli's cardinal, the archbishops of Turin and Savoy, and six other bishops officiating, it is shown on a large platform before a crowd estimated at forty thousand

14 October - After forty hours devotions, a second procession brings the Shroud to the piazza for a second showing

15 October - Second private showing of the Shroud for the close circle of Charles Borromeo. Cusano describes the Shroud as 'testimony to its own authenticity'. A special print, also a medal showing Duke Emanuel Philibert on one side, with on the other side the Shroud depicted being held aloft by a kneeling angel, commemorate the Shroud events of this year.

1582 - 13, 14 & 15 June - Showings of the Shroud on the occasion of a fresh pilgrimage by Cardinal Charles Borromeo to Turin, with Cardinal Gabriel Paleotto as another of the officiants. These showings are recorded on a rare print preserved in the Ufficio Manoscritti e Rari of Turin's Biblioteca Civica.

1587 - A tempietto standing on four tall columns, is erected in the Turin Cathedral presbytery as a housing for the Shroud

1598 - Publication of Alfonso Paleotto's Esplicatione del Sacro Lenzuolo ove fu involto il Signore

1604 - 4 May - Showing of the Shroud in the presence of Duke Charles Emanuel I and his Court

1606 - 14 February - Private showing of the Shroud to Silvestro da Assisi-Bini, father general of the Capuchin order, an offshoot of the Franciscans

9 May - Public showing of the Shroud, the crowd swelled by 40,000 foreigners who had come to Turin to see it

1607 - Reference in the State building accounts in Turin's Archivio di Stato to four columns in black marble being supplied by a stone cutter 'in conformity with the design of Count Carlo di Castellamonte for the Chapel of the Holy Shroud'. This is the first indication of an intention to construct a special chapel for the Shroud in Turin

1608 - The thirtieth anniversary of the Shroud's arrival in Turin. A print issued to mark the occasion is preserved in London's British Museum

1620 - The Shroud is shown in the castle piazza to mark the marriage of Duke Victor Amadeus with Christine of France

1623 - May - A copy of the Shroud is made for the church in Logroo, northern Spain. Latin documents in the Cathedral, written May 4, 5 and 12 of this year, describe the copy as having been put in contact with the original

1624 - Exposition of the Shroud. Maria Maddalena, Grand Duchess of Austria, asks for copy to be made. She gives it to the Dominican nuns of Rome. Three hundred years later this will go to Summit, New Jersey

1633 - 16 June - Public showing of the Shroud in the Castle Piazza Turin

1634 - Copy of the Shroud is made for Moncalieri in the Archdiocese of Turin

1635 - 4 May - Public showing of the Shroud in the Castle Piazza

1638 - Duke Charles Emanuel I is succeeded by his son Charles Emanuel II. Private showing of the Shroud at Turin for St.Jeanne Franoise de Chantal, founder of the Order of the Visitation

1640 - The Shroud exhibited as an expression of thanks for the release of Turin from plague. A painted copy of the Shroud preserved at the Castillo de Garcimunoz was 'extractum ex originali' at this time.

1642 - Solemn showing of the Shroud to mark the conclusion of peace between the princes of Savoy, in the presence of Christine of France, Duchess of Savoy, her young son Charles Emanuel II, and the princes Maurice and Thomas of Savoy

1646 - A copy of the Shroud in the Cathedral of St.Peter, Bologna, is dated to this year. Executed in tempera on linen cloth, this is attributed to the Princess Francsca Maria, daughter of Duke Charles Emanuel I. According to her biography:

'She took delight in making faithful copies (of the Shroud) with her own hands, presenting them then to eminent personages or to pious sodalities'

1647 - On the 4 May showing this year, held in the Cathedral, some of the enormous crowd die of suffocation

1650 - 9 December - Exhibition of the Shroud on the occasion of the marriage of Princess Erichetta Adelaide, sister of Duke Charles Emanuel II to the son of the Elector of Bavaria. A surviving copy, recently rediscovered in Turin, is dated to this year

1654 - A copy is made for La Cuesta, Spain, in this year.

1655 - 4 May - La Cuesta's parish archives state that a Carmelite priest placed their Shroud copy in contact with the original in Turin on this date

1657 - 5 June - Issuing of official warrant authorizing developed plans by Swiss-Italian architect Bernardino Quadri for a Chapel of the Holy Shroud, raised high above the level of the Turin Cathedral presbytery and connected directly through to the royal apartments.

1663 - May 16/17 - The exposition of the Shroud normally held in the Cathedral of Turin on 4 May is delayed to coincide with the wedding of Duke Charles Emanuel II of Savoy with Francesca d'Orleans, this wedding in its turn having been postponed because of the death of the Duchess of Parma. The copy of the Shroud preserved in St.Paul's Church, Rabat, Malta was placed in contact with the Shroud at this time.

1664 - Charles Emanuel II assumes personal control of Savoy upon the death of his mother, Christine of France

1665 - Showing of the Shroud in the Royal Chapel, in the presence of Archbishop Michele Beggiano, to mark the marriage of Duke Charles Emanuel II with Maria de Savoy-Nemours

14 May - (feast of the Ascension) The Shroud, held up by seven bishops, is shown before huge crowds.

1666 - 24 March - Private showing of the Shroud for Duke Maximilian of Bavaria

4 May - Public showing conducted by the Archbishop of Turin and four bishops

1667 - 4 May - Public showing, with ambassador Morosini of Venice in attendance

1668 - 19 May - The architect Guarino Guarini is appointed ducal engineer for the construction of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Turin Cathedral

1678 - Copy of the Shroud is made for the church of St.Maurice at Imperia, on the Ligurian coast between Nice and Genoa

1694 - The Shroud is formally deposited in a specially designed 'sepulchre' high up in the altar, designed by Antonio Bertola, set in the centre of Guarino Guarini's new Chapel of the Holy Shroud. For this occasion it is given a new black lining cloth by the Blessed Sebastian Valfr, who also adds patches where those of the Poor Clares were becoming inadequate


The Editor is indebted to numerous articles by Don Luigi Fossati, Dorothy Crispino and others in journals such as Sindon and Shroud Spectrum for much of the information from which this chronology has been compiled. The reference from Rabelais can be found in his Oeuvres Compltes, Paris, 1962, vol I, p.110.