2016 Website News

These are the items that were included on the "Late Breaking Website News" page in 2016. Items are listed with the most recent one first, and each article carries the posting date indicating when it was first uploaded. You should find this an interesting look at the important Shroud and Website events in 2016.

Winter Update: November 23, 2016

First Ever Shroud Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea
Photo ©2016 Michal Rzepka

This is our last regular website update of the year and once again, it includes a wealth of new information. We start with the announcement of STERA, Inc.'s once-a-year fundraising campaign with many new ways to support this website and keep it permanently free of any advertising. Sadly, we also mark the passing of two legendary Shroud scholars, Dame Isabel Piczek and Professor Gino Zaninotto. This update also brings us news of (and a closer look at) the first ever Shroud exhibition in Seoul, South Korea. It also brings you four more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, along with many new books, articles and papers, links to new videos and much more. Enjoy!

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

STERA, Inc. Launches 2016 Fundraising Campaign

STERA, Inc. Secure Contribution Form

As much as I love the work I do as editor of this website and as President of STERA, Inc., one of the most difficult (and uncomfortable) responsibilities I have is raising funds each year in the form of contributions to support the website and our other long term projects. Frankly, with the large number of visitors we have each year, we could generate substantial revenue by allowing advertising on the site, but we have never allowed ads in our 21 year history and will never allow them as long as I am here! Fundraising is my least favorite part of this job and is very difficult for me, since I was self-employed for more than forty years and always earned what I needed. In fact, I supported the website for its first fourteen years at my own personal expense. Since the founding of STERA, Inc., I have dedicated myself full time to this work, and trust me, producing Shroud.com and operating a non-profit organization by yourself is definitely a full time job! Yet, as president of a formal non-profit organization, I am also obligated to solicit contributions from our viewers and subscribers, just like every other non-profit in the world. Of course, unlike most other non-profits, we only have one fundraising effort each year and prefer not to bombard you with continuous requests for contributions (which I am sure you appreciate). But now, that time has come again and this year we offer several new ways to support STERA, Inc.

In September we announced our participation in a new non-profit program from Amazon called "Amazon Smile," which allows you to shop as you normally do and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price directly to STERA, Inc. Amazon charges no fees for this service. You can even adjust your settings to automatically enter Amazon Smile every time you log on to the Amazon website. It's an easy way to support our work and this website without spending anything extra. We want to thank those of you who have already logged in and started supporting us this way. It is truly appreciated!

We just joined with eBay For Charity to provide an additional way to support Shroud.com and STERA, Inc. You can use it whether buying or selling on eBay and a percentage that you designate is donated to STERA, Inc.

You can also support STERA, Inc. and Shroud.com by purchasing items directly from our Website Store page. With the holidays fast approaching, you might want to look at some of the items we make available, including a miniature Shroud replica on cotton canvas, a set of high quality lithographic prints, several different Shroud transparencies in backlit PhotoGlow frames and a number of DVD's. Any of them would make great gifts for your favorite Shroudie! Order by December 15, 2016 for Christmas delivery.

Of course, we have also made it very easy to safely make a tax deductible contribution online using PayPal or your credit or debit card via our Secure Contribution Form (or by clicking on the graphic at left or at the top of this article). The form also includes details on how you can contribute by Mail or by telephone. Naturally, we hope many of you will contribute generously since we must rely in part on our viewers for financial support. We understand that you are constantly being asked to donate to many worthwhile organizations and hope you will consider STERA, Inc. and Shroud.com worthy of your support. As further incentive and to express our gratitude for your contributions, we are offering contributors a number of excellent gifts for their support. We thank you in advance for your consideration and generosity.

Barrie Schwortz
President, STERA, Inc.
Posted November 23, 2016
Updated November 29, 2016

In Memoriam

Dame Isabel Piczek

It is with deep sadness that I must report the death of our dear friend Dame Isabel Piczek, in Los Angeles on September 29, 2016. By profession, Isabel was a world renowned monumental sacred artist whose stained glass windows, huge murals and mosaics grace countless monasteries, churches, convents and schools. Probably her most significant contribution to the Shroud were her articles that showed from a professional artist's point of view why the Shroud is not a painting. In fact, her article titled, Is the Shroud of Turin a Painting? is one of the first we ever published. A memorial service was held for Isabel on Thursday, October 13 at 10:30 AM at the San Fernando Mission Church in Mission Hills, CA. She was laid to rest in San Fernando Mission Mausoleum section at San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Isabel's mother and sister are also resting in this same cemetery. Here is an excerpt from her official Obituary, which tells the amazing story of her life in great detail:

"Isabel Helen Piczek, a world-renowned ecclesiastical and sacred artist, passed away peacefully in her home in Echo Park, California on September 29, 2016. She was born in Hatvan, Hungary to Zoltan and Elona Piczek. Her father Zoltan was a noted artist and art professor. Isabel graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and in addition to being a world class artist also became an internationally known Physicist, recognized for her study of the Shroud of Turin. Isabel shared her formative years as an artist with her sister Edith who also nurtured and developed her own artistic style. Their partnership blossomed and matured through the years. Edith was a frequent collaborator and Isabel's lifetime companion until her death in 2012." (Read more).

Since we announced Isabel's passing on our Facebook page and to the online Shroud Science Group, we have received an outpouring of comments from many noted Shroud scholars and researchers who knew Isabel and wanted to share their stories and comments with us, so we are including them below.


Thanks dear Barrie, even bad news keeps our grande family living! Dame Isabel was a prominent actor of it. She was an exceptional person, both Scientist and Artist ... and a great artist! All the visited chapels held to pay tribute to her love of Christ, in all forms, exhibiting glowing windows luminously colored. Each year, to celebrate Christmas, she used to send reproductions of these numerous vitraux. Most being slender pictures of the Risen Christ! May God receive among His Chosen Dame Isabel, marvelous witness to the glory of Christ, All of Sindonology is mourning for her, particularly CIELT's members,who she visited many times,

Marcel Alonso

Isabel was a wonderful friend. We were fellow researchers on the Shroud of Turin and metin 1989 in Paris, France at an international conference on the Shroud. We have been friends ever since. She was a remarkable person and a true prodigy. She was reading at age two! She and her sister Edith painted a 400 square foot mural in the Vatican library at age 14! She told her beloved father at age two that she would be the "painter of the resurrection" and indeed she was and was reflected in all her work. I love you Isabel, rest in peace, may you be face to face with our savior who was the subject of your life.

[Editor's Note: Russ also provided us with links to a Guestbook where visitors can express their sympathies, as well as links to three YouTube videos of interviews he conducted with Isabel over the years, all of which we are including here]:

Russ Breault

My heartfelt condolences on the loss of someone like you to whom the Shroud was dear.

Dan Engler

Oh Barrie, I feel so terribly sad to learn of Isabel's passing. September 29th, when she died is the big feast day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael in the Roman Catholic Church. Isabel and I kept in touch over the past 20 years.. She did not use the internet but she would write me long letters. I enjoyed her Christmas cards which were her latest designs that she was doing. She was a great artist and I found her great love for the Lord was what enkindled her spirit and inspired her art and research. Jim and I spend our winters in San Diego. A Shroud friend of mine, Dan, who also lived in San Diego and I would often drive to LA to visit and have dinner with Isabel. Isabel went home to Jesus on my birthday September 29th and I think now I will have another angel in my life to continue to guide me on my journey. Isabel, now you really know all about the mystery of the Image on the cloth. Rest in peace dear friend.

Mary Hines

Sadness. What an inspiration.

John and Rebecca Jackson

It's the end of an era! Many of us knew Isabel-her remarkable creations in the field of art and her talents regarding the Shroud of Turin. But few knew that she was also accomplished in the fields of physics and theology. She was a world renowned mural artist and a world-class person who traced her ancestry all the way back in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to, as I recall, a vizier of the royal house of the Habsburgs. And she bore the dignity of the royal house. The Shroud would be a mural if it were a painting; she strongly disagreed with those, such as the late Walter C. McCrone, that the Shroud was a painting! She was the expert on murals. In the art world there could be no greater authority! The Shroud was the genuine burial wrapping of Our Lord Jesus. (Read more and see photographs of Isabel's artworks).

[Editor's Note: Paul obtained permission to include some photographs of Isabel's artworks at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and they are included in the article at the above link. Also included are many photographs that Paul made when he visited Isabel and some of her many artwork installations in California].

Paul Maloney

Another death in the world of Sindonology: on September 29, Isabel Piczek, well-known artist of Hungarian origin who lived in Los Angeles, died. Creator of great wall frescoes and of magnificent stained glass windows, she has received many awards for her masterpieces. In the field of Sindonology, she has proved how a medieval artist could not absolutely be able to realize the image present on the Shroud for various reasons, among which also the problems related to perspective. Together with other scholars, she had founded the AMSTAR (American Shroud of Turin Association for Research) and she had collaborated to the organization of two international congresses on the Shroud in Dallas, in 2001 and in 2005. Refined and sensitive woman, she leaves an indelible memory and a huge void.

Emanuela Marinelli - September 30, 2016
Collegamento pro Sindone News Page

I first met Isabel Piczek in the late 1980s at an informal gathering of "shroudies" held at the late Dorothy Crispino's home in Nashville, Indiana. Isabel traveled all the way from her home in Los Angeles to meet with others who were captivated by the Shroud. One could tell immediately that she was a sweet and gentle woman. I still recall vividly her telling the story about how once, when away from Los Angeles, she had an insight about what may have caused the image on the Shroud, and she raced at high speed in her car to get back home to get her thoughts down on paper right away (this was pre-Internet!). Isabel was known for her large works of art and so had the nomenclature of "monumental artist." "Monumental" is a fitting word. She will be greatly missed.

Joe Marino

It is for others to write her obituary so these are but a few personal memories: Isabel Piczek was one of the most significant Shroud scholars of the 20th century. Her unique combination of nuclear physicist and world renowned artist led her to publish many remarkable theories about the Turin Shroud and to present learned papers at international conferences over a period of many years discussing her various proofs of the age and probable authenticity of the Shroud. I had the privilege of knowing Isabel for nearly forty years. She was forthright in discussion, meticulous in research, eloquent in reporting, and a charming companion with supreme qualities of gentility, compassion and courtesy. We met frequently at almost every conference in the latter part of the last century at which we both often presented papers. (Read More).

Rex Morgan

I knew, loved, admired and spent many hours at Shroud affairs with Isabel. I send here my sorrow at her passing. Shroud research has lost a major scholar and we have lost a dear friend.

Dan Scavone

We just received the sad news that Isabel Piczek passed away last Thursday in Los Angeles, California. That she may rest in peace.

Petrus Soons

We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to everyone who knew and loved her. Rest in peace dear Isabel.

Barrie Schwortz

In Memoriam

Prof. Gino Zaninotto

Once again, it is my sad duty to report the passing of another important Shroud scholar, Prof. Gino Zaninotto, in Italy on September 18, 2016 at the age of 80. That same day Joe Marino notified us in a brief e-mail of Prof. Zaninotto's passing and the next day Emanuela Marinelli sent us the message she posted on the News page of her Collegamento pro Sindone website, which we are reprinting here with her permission:

"Another great friend of the Shroud has left us: prof. Gino Zaninotto, historian and Latin and Greek scholar, died yesterday at 80 years of age. In his extensive research on the Shroud, he had carried out in-depth studies on the Roman scourging and crucifixion. He has translated and commented on the De cruce by Justus Lipsius (1547-1606). He is also remembered for having discovered and translated important manuscripts, such as the codex Vat.Gr.511 sheets 143-150v., which dates back to the tenth century and contains the prayer of Gregory, archdeacon and Legal Secretary of the great Church of Constantinople (St. Sophia), a decisive acquisition in favor of the identification of the Edessa Image with the Shroud. We also thank him for the reporting of an interesting document: the Codex Vossianus Latinus Q 69, preserved in the library of the Rijksuniversiteit of Leyden (Netherlands). It is a tenth-century manuscript that reports an eighth-century story coming from the Syriac area, translated by the archiater Smera of Constantinople. It says that Jesus left the imprint of his entire body on a cloth kept in the Great Church of Edessa and those who contemplated it, could see the Lord like those who had met him on earth. (Emanuela Marinelli – September 19, 2016)"

Here is a brief comment from Paul Maloney:

"Gino was a very important researcher, a true and dedicated scholar to those who knew him well. I am saddened to learn of his passing. He wrote a very important article which I was going to publish in my lamented lost two volume book. In 1999 I had a terrible computer crash and lost access to all 20 chapters of that work, Gino's among them!!! Rest in peace, my friend. Paul Maloney"

We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues for their loss. Rest in peace Prof. Zaninotto.

Posted November 23, 2016

First Ever Shroud Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea

First Ever Shroud Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea
Photo ©2016 Michal Rzepka

Some months ago I received an e-mail from Michal Rzepka, a multi-lingual Polish man living in South Korea, who offered to help in any way possible with our work on the Shroud. At the same time, STERA, Inc. was working with a group in Seoul and developed a Shroud exhibition for the Maria Religious Center, which went on public display in early October. Michal wrote me again after attending the newly opened exhibit and sent along a few photographs. It was then that I realized Michal could be STERA's reporter in Seoul and write a brief article for us about the event. You will find his story below and a nice selection of his photographs of the exhibit in the accompanying article (in pdf format) titled, Shroud Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you Michal for your excellent contribution!

"From the 30th of September to the 4th of October 2016, in Myeongdong 1898 Square, Seoul (South Korea), the Sisters of the Mother of Jesus (Cloistered) held an exhibition of their Shroud of Turin full-size replica and lifesize prints, obtained from STERA, Inc. The purpose of the event was to give Koreans an opportunity to learn about the great relic. A special effort was made by Father Francis Moon Ho Young to prepare detailed, scientific information about The Shroud (including various aspects from history, anatomy, chemistry, botany, haematology, photography, forensic analysis as well as comments on C-14 experiment invalidity). It should be noted that prior to the exhibition, the Shroud was not widely known among the Korean people. Despite small-scale promotion, the event managed to attract relatively many people. On the day of my visit, the exhibition hall was quite crowded, with the people showing a lot of interest. Some of them kneeling down and praying in front of the relic, others reading the information boards (32 in total) carefully. I am certain that the exhibition will bear its fruits at some point, and raising the awareness about the Shroud in Korea is just the beginning."

Posted November 23, 2016

Four More Issues Added to Rex Morgan's Shroud News Archive

Shroud News

With this update and the addition of four more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News we have passed the half-way point in the archive, which will total 118 issues when complete. This update includes Issue #58, April 1990 through Issue #61, October 1990. Included are articles by such notable Shroud scholars as Ian Dickinson, Prof. Alan Whanger and Mary Whanger, Rudolf Larenz, H. Leynen, Orazio Petrosillo and Emanuela Marinelli, Stefano M. Paci, Fr. Charles Foley, Eoin Ó Máille, Prof. Daniel Scavone and Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach, Jr. Our sincerest thanks as always to Stephen Jones for his extraordinary effort in scanning and optical character recognition of every page, Ian Wilson for providing the original issues and valuable input and of course, to Rex Morgan for his gracious permission to reprint them here on Shroud.com.

Posted November 23, 2016

December Shroud Conference in Rome

Official Conference Website (in Italian)

I am very pleased to announce an International and Interdisciplinary Conference on the Shroud of Turin with the theme, "He saw and He believed". The Shroud, science, faith and proclamation of the Paschal Mystery, to be held in Rome on December 13 - 14, 2016. The event is sponsored by the Institute of Science and Faith of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, in collaboration with the International Centre of Sindonology in Turin. Scheduled conference speakers include Prof. Antonio Cassanelli, Prof. Gian Maria Zaccone, Mgr. Giuseppe Ghiberti, Father Andrew Dalton LC, Father Nicolas Bossu LC, Father Rafael Pascual LC, Dr. Petrus Soons, Dr. Ada Grossi, Fr. Gianfranco Berbenni OFM Cap, Prof. Bruno Barberis, Prof. Paolo Di Lazzaro, Roberto Falcinelli and many others.

In addition to a wide array of papers on a variety of topics, the conference will also include a one year rememberance of the passing of the late Father Hector Guerra LC, and his tremendous contributions to Sindonology. (Here is a link to the memorial we created for Fr. Guerra in January). I was invited to present at the conference but was unable to do so in person because of unpredictable weather issues here in Colorado at this time of year. In fact, it is currently snowing here in the Rocky Mountains as I write this. Instead, I am producing a short video on "The Contributions of STURP," which will be presented at the event, along with my personal remembrance of my dear friend Fr. Guerra. Watch for more information about the conference in our next update on January 21, 2017.

Posted November 23, 2016

Recently Published Books

Recently Published Books

A few new Shroud related books have been published in recent months. We are listing them here but have also permanently archived them all on the Shroud of Turin Booklist page (alphabetically by author). To make it easy to find the new additions, we have annotated each new listing with "(Added 1 June 2016)" so simply search for that phrase on the page.

Shroud Codes in the Bible by J. R. Watts

Here is an excerpt from the detailed description of the book on the Amazon website:

"CRYPTANALYSIS SOLVES SHROUD ENIGMA - In 2012; former government investigator & code-breaker J.R. Watts began a 5 year long cryptologic research project to determine if codes about the Shroud of Turin existed in the Bible in sly forms of hidden permutations. What he discovered were correlations of camouflaged codes; dispersed patterns of symbolic references, metaphoric & phonetic ciphers that pointed to the twin reflections of Jesus Christ on the Shroud. Watts applied code-breaking techniques commonly used at intelligence agencies; such as data mining, pattern recognition, frequency analysis, ensemble methods, data mapping, cluster analysis, correspondence analysis, etc. J.R. Watts' groundbreaking exposé details how Christ's Disciples embedded their gospels with coy hints & intricate clues about the preserved image of Jesus on the Shroud..."

Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher: J.R. Watts / Center for Biblical Cryptology/each copy signed by author; 1st edition (October 23, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692705767
ISBN-13: 978-0692705766

Das Christus-bild by Karlheinz Dietz, Christian Hannick, Carolina Lutzka and Elisabeth Maier (Hrsg.)

Here is an online translation of the description provided by the publisher:

"This richly illustrated volume offers the contributions of Congresses in Würzburg in 2014 and in Vienna in 2015 with the theme "Christ image". About three dozen experts - Exegetes of the Old and New Testaments, patrists, Syrologen, Slavic, Byzantine, Iconic Specialists, Historians, art, legal, textile, liturgy and music historians - present their interconfessional Researches that date from the early Christian period In the 19th century, from the Old Testament Image ban on the Holy Visions of Sts. Therese, From the Acheiropoietos icons (not from human hand Pictures of Christ) over the Turin grave And the Veronica in Rome to the 'Musselseidentuch' From Manoppello."

Hardcover: 883 pages of text + 88 pages of images
Publisher: The Eastern Christianity, New edition, Volume 62, 1st edition 2016
Language: German
ISBN-13: 978-3-429-04199-1

Posted November 23, 2016

Recently Published Papers and Articles

'DNA Analysis and the Shroud of Turin' by Kelly Kearse
Now Available in French Language

Included in this update are a number of papers and articles that were published recently. All have also been permanently archived on the Scientific Papers & Articles page (alphabetically by title) and the Website Library page (alphabetically by author).

I was recently contacted by Renaud Joseph in France, who was translating the book, "Sacred Image, Sacred Blood" by Janice Bennett into French. As part of that project, he wanted to include a French translation of the paper 'DNA Analysis and the Shroud of Turin' by Kelly Kearse, which we had published in 2014. With Kelly's kind permission, Renaud completed the translation and graciously sent it to us so we could share it with you here: Linceul de Turin et génétique: établir le profil ADN du Linceul - En français, 23 November 2016. He even translated the text found within the four illustrations in the article. Thank you Renaud!

The following three articles by Robert Rucker were published in October and November on Academia.edu, a popular academic website where authors freely publish their own work.

Posted November 23, 2016

The Shroud in the News (Sort of...)

National Geographic Exclusive:
Christ's Burial Place Exposed for First Time in Centuries

Although this latest news story, Christ's Burial Place Exposed for First Time in Centuries by Kristin Romey - October 31, 2016 - NationalGeographic.com, is not directly about the Shroud of Turin, it has certainly sparked lively debate and discussion in the Shroud world. Here is a brief excerpt from the article:

"JERUSALEM: Researchers have continued their investigation into the site where the body of Jesus Christ is traditionally believed to have been buried, and their preliminary findings appear to confirm that portions of the tomb are still present today, having survived centuries of damage, destruction, and reconstruction of the surrounding Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City."

One of the questions I received from a number of viewers is whether this new information might somehow be able to tie the Shroud directly to the tomb, thus supporting the Shroud's authenticity. A very good question indeed, and one that I am totally unqualified to answer. Obviously, it is far too early to draw any serious conclusions of any kind, and certainly not before the actual data is published in scientific journals. This group of researchers spent 60 hours examining the tomb (about half the time that STURP spent examining the Shroud), so we can expect a wealth of new data to be forthcoming eventually. As always, we will have to wait and see where the data leads us before drawing any conclusions regarding the Shroud based solely on these first reports. In the interim, here are some additional links that demonstrate how others are reporting the story:

Posted November 23, 2016
Updated December 7, 2016

Our Next Update

Our next major website update will go online January 21, 2017 and will mark our 21st anniversary on the internet! Although it is impossible to know exactly what will be included, I do know for sure that we will have an update on the December Rome Shroud Conference, more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, the next issue of the BSTS Newsletter, the latest papers, books, articles and videos and of course, any breaking Shroud news. To be sure you don't miss any important Shroud information as it occurs, check our STERA, Inc. Facebook page from time to time, since we now try and update it weekly to keep you informed between our regular website updates. You can also join our Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail whenever the site is updated (about 4 times per year) or any important Shroud news breaks. Thank you for being there!

Barrie Schwortz

Posted November 23, 2016

Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving Day holiday here in the U.S., which provides me with the perfect opportunity to say thank you to the many people who have contributed to make Shroud.com a success over the years. Of course, there are so many people that deserve to be thanked that I probably won't remember you all, so if I haven't included you here, please forgive the omission.

I have to start with Emanuela Marinelli, along with her brother Maurizio Marinelli, who have been friends and supporters from the earliest days, and who have almost single-handedly kept our Shroud Booklist page up to date. I also have to single out the late Ray Rogers and Don Lynn, STURP team members and my dear friends, who both gave me guidance, advice and encouragement during the early years of building the website. And of course, Dr. John Jackson and Dr. Eric Jumper, co-founders of STURP, without whom none of this would be possible. And the late Fr. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, with his unique sense of humor, who provided his friendship and support and contributed many important articles to the site. Next is Ian Wilson, whose detailed history of the Shroud formed the basis for our own Shroud History page. Ian, along with Mark Guscin and Stephen Jones also made it possible for us to publish the complete archive of the BSTS Newsletter. And Stephen continued his participation with the complete scanning of all the Shroud Spectrum International issues and is now working on archiving Rex Morgan's Shroud News. Of course, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the late Dorothy Crispino, for giving us permission to reprint Spectrum here on Shroud.com, and to Rex for making Shroud News available. I also want to thank Dr. Julio López Morales and his son, Julio López Rodriguez, in Mexico, for their superb translations of many of our pages into Spanish. And my dear friend and "brother photographer" Aldo Guerreschi, who has provided us with many excellent photographs and superb Shroud articles over the years. A special note of thanks goes to Bruno Barberis, President of the International Center for the Study of the Shroud in Turin, for his encouragement and friendship, and to the late Fr. Hector Guerra, LC, for his efforts in opening the dialogue between Turin and STERA, Inc. I also have to thank all the Shroud researchers, scholars, scientists and authors who have permitted their work to be reprinted here on this site or have contributed material specifically for us. They are far too numerous to mention, but you can find their names throughout this website. I also want to thank the STERA, Inc. Board of Directors, Russ Breault, Diana Fulbright, Joe Marino, Bill Meacham, Richard Orareo, Joan Rogers and Larry Schauf, for their undying support and the confidence they have shown in me since STERA, Inc. was founded. It gives me great comfort to know that I have such a wonderful team on board to back me up and provide me with guidance.

Last, but undoubtedly most important, I thank you, our website viewers, for your continued support and participation in making Shroud.com such a great success! It would all mean nothing without you! So remember that you are truly appreciated! Let me also take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and joyous New Year! We'll see you in January!

Barrie Schwortz
Posted November 23, 2016

Fall Update: September 19, 2016

A New Way to Support Shroud.com and STERA, Inc.

It has been a very busy summer and once again, a lot of important material has accumulated making our Fall update another really large one. This update makes several important announcements including a new way to support STERA, Inc. and Shroud.com and news of an International Shroud Conference in 2017. It also brings you seven more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, the latest issue of the BSTS Newsletter, a report on the recent Jalsa Salana Convention in England, a feature on what might be the oldest painted representation of the Shroud, along with many new articles and papers, links to new videos and much more. Enjoy!

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

Amazon.Smile - A New Way to Support Shroud.com and STERA, Inc.

Gateway Page to Support STERA, Inc. via Amazon Smile

We are very happy to announce our participation in a new non-profit program from Amazon called "Amazon Smile," which allows people to make purchases as they normally do and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price directly to our non-profit organization, STERA, Inc. There are no fees, Amazon takes nothing for administering the system and it is very simple to use. Simply enter Amazon via the Amazon Smile link above. That's all there is to it! Same products, same prices and without spending one cent more, you support the work of STERA, Inc. and help keep this website free of any advertising. In fact, I have bookmarked the link and use it myself to enter Amazon whenever I need to order something. I have been doing so for the past few months so even my own personal purchases are helping to support STERA's work. Give it a try! The price is right and we certainly will appreciate it!

Posted September 19, 2016

In Memoriam

Dr. Sebastiano Rodante
1924 - 2016

Once again, it is my sad duty to report the passing of another important Shroud scholar, Dr. Sebastiano Rodante, in Syracuse, Italy, on September 8, 2016 at the age of 92. The funeral was held on Saturday, September 10th, in the Church of St. Rita in Syracuse. Dr. Rodante was a delegate of the International Centre of Sindonology of Turin and a frequent presenter at international conferences. He was an important contributor to Shroud Spectrum International and his work has been referenced by many other scholars over many decades. His research was best described by Dorothy Crispino in the December 1989 issue of Spectrum in an article about the recently ended September Paris Symposium:

"A student of the Shroud since 1942, Sebastiano Rodante maintains that the Image was formed by natural means: bloody sweat, aloes and myrrh. His repeated experiments, sometimes on a corpse, in the catacombs of Siracusa have given imprints that are superficial, 3-dimensional and without deformation."

Dr. Rodante's research is well known by Shroud scholars around the world, as is evidenced by the many references to his work via the Website Search Engine on Shroud.com. I am grateful to Roberto Vitale, a student of Dr. Rodante's, and noted Shroud scholar and author Ernesto Puzzo for notifying us of his passing. In fact, one of the best tributes to Dr. Rodante's contributions to Sindonology came from the e-mail I received from Ernesto on September 9th:

Dear friend Barrie, yesterday Thursday, September 8, 2016 at the age of 92 years has died our friend Dr. Sebastiano Rodante. As you certainly know, as well as being a valuable pediatrician, he was a recognized scholar of the Shroud, to which he dedicated his whole life with valid research and experimentation. I am saddened by the loss of a friend and expert that, with his books, gave me the opportunity to start studying the sacred Sheet. - Ernesto Puzzo

On September 10th I received an e-mail from Emanuela Marinelli notifying me of Dr. Rodante's passing and including the message she posted on her Collegamento pro Sindone website, which we are reprinting here with her permission:

A great Shroud scholar has returned to the Father's House. Dr. Sebastiano Rodante, pediatrician, delegate for Sicily of the International Centre of Sindonology of Turin, died yesterday at 91 years. Professionalism, helpfulness and faith have marked him until the end. Since 1941 he has also focused his efforts on the scientific problems of the Shroud, going into that life experience which he called a wonderful Shroud adventure. He is considered one of the greatest exponents of Shroud research for forensic and experimental findings related to the study on the crowning with thorns and to the investigation on the origin of the Shroud imprints. A guest in many national and international congresses, he has opened new and exciting chapters in the vast and fascinating Shroud compendium (www.siracusanews.it/node/76068 - September 9, 2016).

We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues for their loss. Rest in peace Dr. Rodante.

Posted September 19, 2016

The 50th Annual Jalsa Salana Convention in Hampshire, England

Part of Pam Moon's Shroud Exhibition on Display at the
50th Annual Jalsa Salana Convention in Hampshire, England
Photo ©2016 Stuart Benton (Click for larger view)

As you may remember, last year I attended the 49th Annual Jalsa Salana Convention near Hampshire, England at the gracious invitation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the staff of their excellent 114 year old publication, Review of Religions. The convention was a great success with more than 35,000 attendees, and you can read my Personal Report on the 2015 Jalsa Salana Convention for details and photographs of the event. I was pleased and honored to be invited again this year and attended the 50th annual convention on August 12-14, 2016.

I have to admit that I was much more comfortable at this year's event because of my experiences last year. Since then I have gotten to know the Ahmadiyya community even better and feel their true spirit of love and respect in every aspect of our ongoing relationship. As she did last year, Pam Moon brought her beautiful Shroud Exhibition, which again was displayed in the Review of Religions marquee. Also with Pam were her friends Brenda and Stuart Benton and Luigi Antoniaz, all volunteers with Pam's exhibit organization. Brenda and Stuart are longtime members of the British Society for the Turin Shroud and both are very knowledgeable about the Shroud. They were able to assist Pam at the exhibit and helped answer the many questions raised by the thousands of visitors who saw the display over the three day event. Also attending the convention and helping to answer questions from his own unique perspective was Hugh Farey, Editor of the BSTS Newsletter.

My role was slightly different at this year's event... (Read more and see photos: Personal Report on the 2016 50th Annual Jalsa Salana Convention).

Posted September 19, 2016

International Conference on the Shroud of Turin, Washington State, 2017

Official Website

We are pleased to finally announce that an International Conference on the Shroud of Turin will be held in Pasco, Washington State, USA on July 19-22, 2017. The organizers have been working on this diligently for nearly a year but were not ready to announce it publicly until early September. Click on the above link to visit the conference website where you can find more details and view a video from the conference organizers. Included below is the most recent official announcement as we received it on September 17, 2016 from the event organizer, Robert Rucker:

We are pleased to announce that an international conference on the Shroud of Turin will be held in the United States from Wednesday, July 19th through Saturday, July 22nd, 2017. The conference will be held in the Tri-Cities in the state of Washington. The Tri-Cities consists of the communities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, is located in the southeastern part of the State of Washington, and has a population of about 260,000. The Tri-Cities was selected for the conference because Richland is one of the premier research centers in the United States. Holding the conference in the Tri-Cities will assist in locating additional personnel for research on the Shroud, since Richland has one of the highest ratios of PhDs per capita of anywhere in the country, due to the many research laboratories in the area.

The conference will begin the evening of Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 and continue all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It will be held in the large TRAC (Trade, Recreation and Agricultural Center) center in Pasco (http://traconline.com). A variety of topics will be covered in the conference, including the history, science, dating, and image formation of the Shroud, with emphasis given to new research. We hope to have the very best and latest in research papers and information on the Shroud for these presentations. Those wanting to present their research at this conference should contact us as soon as possible regarding their topic and possible schedule. Please go to the website for the conference (www.shroudconference2017.com) for additional information on the program, paper submissions, registration, hotels, transportation, costs and other facets of this conference.

Please help spread the word and tell other interested parties about this conference. The organization committee is the Shroud Research Team in Richland, Washington, headed by Bob Rucker. The conference is being co-sponsored by Mark Antonacci and his Test the Shroud Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri. Inquiries can be emailed to shroudconference2017@yahoo.com. You may also call Bob Rucker (H: 509-375-4770, C: 509-628-6894) or email him at robertarucker@yahoo.com for more information. We hope to see you at the conference! Bob Rucker and the Shroud Research Team in Richland, WA.

Posted September 19, 2016

Seven More Issues Added to Rex Morgan's Shroud News Archive

Shroud News

We are very pleased to present the next seven issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News in today's update, which covers all the issues of 1989, including Issue #51, February 1989 through Issue #56, December 1989 and the first issue of 1990, Issue #57, February 1990. Highlights include in-depth coverage of two major Shroud conferences in Bologna, Italy and Paris, France, a reprint of the Radiocarbon Dating paper from Nature and some important book reviews. Also included are articles by such notable Shroud scholars as Revd. Fr. Albert R. Dreisbach, Jr., Professor Luigi Gonella, Don Luigi Fossati, Fr. Charles Foley, Remi van Haelst and Prof. Dr. Werner Bulst, SJ. Our sincerest thanks to Stephen Jones for his extraordinary effort in scanning and optical character recognition of every page, Ian Wilson for providing the original issues and valuable input and of course, to Rex Morgan for his gracious permission to reprint them here on Shroud.com. We will reach the half-way mark in just a few more issues and will continue to archive them until the complete 118 issue collection is online.

Posted September 19, 2016

The End of an Era - Brooks Institute Permanently Closing

The End of an Era

On August 14, 2016 I received an e-mail from an old friend in Santa Barbara, California, advising me that Brooks Institute (formerly Brooks Institute of Photography), my alma mater and a major contributor to the STURP team in 1978, had just announced that they were permanently closing their doors on October 31, 2016 after 70 years in operation. (Here is a link to an August 12, 2016 article in the Ventura County Star). For those of us who learned the science and art of photography there (and there were many of us), it is a sad day indeed. In a sense, this article becomes another obituary I have to write, like so many others I have had to write in the past. Only this time, it is not a person but an institution that I must memorialize.

I graduated from Brooks in 1971 and started teaching an evening course there in early 1976, while I operated my photography studio full time during the day. Shortly after I joined the STURP team in late 1976 we began to develope our test plan and soon realized just how much of the work planned for Turin would require photography. It was very obvious that one photographer would not be enough, so I suggested we call Vern Miller at Brooks to see if he was interested in joining the team. Vern was head of the Scientific and Industrial Department and I had been in the very first class he ever taught at the school, so we became friends almost immediately. Vern was the logical choice to take on the role of Chief Scientific Photographer for the STURP team and bring with him all his knowledge and experience. Shortly after Vern joined the team, Ernie Brooks, Jr. (the owner of the school and son of the founder), also joined and brought with him all of the important and relevant resources that the institute had to offer. Vern next selected one of the top graduate students at the school, Mark Evans, an expert photographer and microscopist, to handle the photomicroscopy in Turin and round out the photographic team. You have all seen their work, which remains the primary database of Shroud visual data available to this day and a living testimony to the important contribution that Brooks Institute of Photography made to Shroud research.

Brooks was founded in 1946 by Ernest Brooks, Sr., so we were the same age! Ernie Brooks, Jr. sold the school to a large corporation in 1999 and it began a slow decline. Sadly, only one of us will be celebrating our 70th birthday this year. I am forever grateful for the quality education the school gave us and wouldn't be here writing this if I hadn't graduated from Brooks. There are thousands of imaging professionals around the world whose skills, professionalism and expertise stem from the excellent education Brooks provided. Even though the school may be gone, the work of the photographers they nurtured will live on for future generations to see and appreciate. Truly, the end of an era.

Posted September 19, 2016

BSTS Newsletter June 2016 Issue No. 83 Now Online

BSTS Newsletter No. 83

We are happy to report that the British Society for the Turin Shroud page of the website has been updated and the latest June 2016 Issue No. 83 of the BSTS Newsletter is now online. This issue includes an in-depth research article by Hugh Farey, the newsletter's Editor, titled, Replicating the Weave of the Shroud of Turin. It also includes overviews of recent Shroud related papers and articles, videos and books as well as news from around the internet. This issue is coming out a bit later than usual since Hugh had some personal issues that delayed publication. Of course, I was also late in getting this update online, so I understand completely. As they say, better late than never!

Posted September 19, 2016

The Earliest Painted Representation of the Turin Shroud?

Earliest Depiction of the Shroud? ©2016 Christie's

On July 11, 2016, Christie's auction house announced the sale of a 16th century illuminated prayer book (in an article titled, 5 Minutes with... The Earliest Painted Representation of the Turin Shroud), that included a newly discovered depiction of the Shroud of Turin. According to their researchers, this could be the earliest known painted depiction of the Shroud. [Click on the above link to read the article and see a larger photograph of the artwork]. Please note that I added a "?" to the above headline, since their article made no mention of the "Lier Copy," which is dated 1516 and depicts the Shroud without the burns and scorches caused by the 1532 fire in Chambery, France. Interestingly, this recently found illustration also depicts the Shroud as it appeared prior to the 1532 fire and, like the Lier copy, clearly shows the "L shaped" burn holes that we know existed on the cloth before the Chambery event. Obviously, this new image must also date from prior to 1532 so it certainly is a viable candidate as at least one of the earliest depictions of the Shroud.

On the other hand, one must also consider the Hungarian Pray Codex, an illuminated manuscript dated circa 1190 that depicts Jesus in a shroud-like pose, a representation of the Shroud's herringbone weave and a pattern of holes that duplicates one of those distinctive "L-shaped" burn holes (which would have been the most prominent markings on the Shroud prior to the 1532 fire). Although not a painted replica that shows the Shroud image like the other two, the Pray Manuscript is still arguably one of the earliest depictions of the Shroud and provides serious historical evidence challenging the 1988 radiocarbon dating. For more on the Pray Manuscript you can read Ray Schneider's article, Dating The Shroud Of Turin: Weighing All The Evidence (starting on page 17) or simply type "Hungarian Pray Codex" into the Website Search Engine. You can learn more about the Lier Copy and see a color photograph of it in a recent BSTS Newsletter article by Pam Moon titled, The Lier Shroud and Lucas Cranach the Elder. You can also read the in-depth Shroud Spectrum International article by Remi Van Haelst titled, The Lier Shroud: A Problem in Attribution or simply type "Lier" into the Website Search Engine for much more. Oh, and the prayer book sold at auction for US$154,712.00.

Posted September 19, 2016

Recently Published Papers and Articles

Feasibility Study for Neutron Beam Investigation
of the Turin Shroud by Massimo Rogante and László Rosta

A large number of papers and articles have been published in the last few months covering a broad range of Shroud related topics and we are including as many as possible here today. Note that several of them deal with some form of radiation, which has become a popular theme amongst some Shroud scholars in recent years. Also included is an older article from the archives that you might find interesting. All have also been permanently archived on the Scientific Papers & Articles page (alphabetically by title) and the Website Library page (alphabetically by author).

The following five articles by Robert Rucker, et. al. were published on June 28, 2016 on Academia.edu, a popular academic website where authors freely publish their own work. Comments about each article courtesy of Robert Rucker:

Three Papers from the Oxford Laboratory Website - Thanks to Joe Marino we learned that the Oxford website has some information on supplementary material for the 1989 Nature report as well as two general C-14 articles by Prof. Ramsey (a.k.a. C.R. Bronk, which is how he is listed in the Nature article). [Editors Note: When you click on the individual links to the papers on the Oxford website (or below), you will not be taken to a web page, Instead, the pdf version of the selected file will be automatically downloaded to the Downloads folder on your hard drive. Note that every time you click on the link another copy will be downloaded, so only click once and check your Downloads folder. As of this writing you cannot read the papers online].

Posted September 19, 2016

Videos of the 1986 Elizabethtown Conference (and More)

Videos of the 1986 Elizabethtown Conference

Our good friend (and STERA, Inc. board member) Russ Breault has recently posted on his Shroud University website, rare thirty year old videos of seven speakers who presented their work at the Shroud Conference held at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania in 1986. Here is the link: The 1986 Elizabethtown Conference and Russ' description of the program: "Seven experts from around the world met at Elizabethtown College in Pennslvania to discuss issues related to the Shroud, both for and against authenticity." Presenters included Dr. Eric Jumper, Dr. Gilbert Lavoie, Paul Maloney, Dr. Alan Adler, Joseph Nickell, Dr. John Jackson and Walter McCrone. As most of you probably know, Adler and McCrone have since passed away. The video quality isn't up to 21st century standards, but they are very important historically and definitely worth watching!

Our good friend Giorgio Bracaglia recently posted the 2004 documentary Secrets of the Shroud on YouTube. (The original title was Secrets of the Dead: Shroud of Christ?). The program includes noted Shroud scholars (and a few skeptics). Appearing in the program are Ian Wilson, Dr. Frederick Zugibe, Aldo Guerreschi, Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, Mark Guscin, Dr. Steve Mattingly, Nicholas Allen and many more. The program originally premiered on March 29, 2004 on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and on April 7, 2004 on PBS in the United States.

Last year EWTN premiered a documentary produced by Chuck Neff at Salt River Productions in St. Louis, Missouri called The Holy Winding Sheet, in which high school student Parker Dow, as part of his senior thesis, chose to investigate the Shroud of Turin over a 6-month period and interviewed four noted Shroud scholars. We are happy to report that the program is now available online. "This documentary follows Parker as he meets four of the world's leading experts to learn firsthand about the Shroud and how they have come to believe it is, in fact, the burial cloth of Jesus." Those interviewed include Mark Antonacci, Russ Breault, Art Lind and Barrie Schwortz. The DVD of this program is also available directly from EWTN.

Posted September 19, 2016

SEAM NM Creates the Shelby Award

SEAM NM Creates the Shelby Award - Photo ©2016 Andy Weiss
[Click for larger view]

Last year I was contacted by Shelby Laney, a high school student in New Mexico who was working on a class project about the Shroud of Turin. She explained that she was interviewing a number of Shroud scholars and asked if she could conduct a Skype interview with me, which we did on November 18, 2015. In January 2016, STERA, Inc. provided Shelby with a selection of images which she used to illustrate her project. She then entered her work in a regional competition and won an award. However, her winning entry did not get accepted into the state competition, perhaps because of the controversial nature of the subject matter. This frustrated our dear friend Pete Schumacher, founder of the Shroud Exhibit and Museum (SEAM) in Alamogordo, New Mexico, who had also been mentoring Shelby, so he decided to create a special scholarship award to recognize the contributions made by younger students of the Shroud, which he aptly named The Shelby Award. In fact, Shelby became the first recipient of the award in June of this year. Here is a link to the official Press Release.

Pete also wanted to provide the recipient with a financial scholarship in addition to the award certificate, so SEAM donated $200.00 to start the Shelby Award Scholarship Fund. STERA, Inc. was happy to participate and matched Pete's original grant. An anonymous donor also made a matching contribution so Pete was able to present Shelby with the very first Shelby Award and a total scholarship grant of $600.00 at the ceremony which was held at the museum on June 18, 2016. SEAM and STERA hope to continue this award in the future and would welcome the participation of any interested viewer. You can safely make an online tax deductible contribution directly to SEAM using your PayPal account by simply going to their website and clicking on the Donate button. You can then designate the purpose of the contribution as the Shelby Award. With your participation the scholarship fund can grow and become even more substantial and encourage more young people to take an active interest in the Shroud.

Posted September 19, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions Page Now Available in Danish Language

Frequently Asked Questions Page Now Available in Danish

We are very grateful to our good friend Flemming Bo Pedersen (who organized my lecture in Denmark in May 2016) and his colleague Finn Boelsmand for creating a Danish Language translation of our Frequently Asked Questions page along with their colleague Tanne Kiel, who reviewed their work and made any necessary corrections. The Danish language translation is now available from both the FAQ page itself and the Main Menu page. We thank Flemming, Finn and Tanne for their excellent contribution to this website. I am sure our Danish speaking viewers will truly appreciate it.

Posted September 19, 2016

Our Next Update

I am planning to do one more update before the holidays, probably in November, but it will undoubtedly be a small one, since our next major update is on January 21, 2017 and will mark our 21st year online! I do know for sure that it will include more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, the latest papers, books, articles and videos and of course, any breaking Shroud news. To be sure you don't miss any important Shroud information as it occurs, check our STERA, Inc. Facebook page from time to time, since we now try and update it weekly to keep you informed between our regular website updates. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view our page. You can also join our Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail whenever the site is updated or any important Shroud news breaks. We hope you find this update interesting and useful and look forward to seeing you in a few months. Thank you for being there!

Barrie Schwortz
President, STERA, Inc.

Posted September 19, 2016

Spring Update: June 1, 2016

The King Umberto II Holy Shroud Medal

Our Spring Update is a little late getting online due to my rather hectic travel and lecture schedule earlier this year. Consequently, a lot of important material has accumulated making this update another really large one. Our lead story is news of the creation of a new international Shroud organization, F.I.D.E.S., along with the King Umberto II Holy Shroud Medal, a new award bestowed jointly by the Royal Houses of Italy and Portugal for merit in promotion of devotion, science and research of the Shroud. This update also brings you fourteen more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, including Issue 50, which was published in December 1988 and presented comments on the radiocarbon dating by many noted Shroud scholars and researchers. Also included is an illustrated feature article on the recent public exhibition of the Tunic of Argenteuil, along with many new articles, papers and books, links to new videos, audios and websites and much more. So let's get started!

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

Here is a link to our recent Special Update:

The King Umberto II Holy Shroud Medal

H.R.H. Prince D. Duarte Pio de Bragança, Duke of Bragança (left)
H.R.H. Prince Emanuel Filiberto di Savoia, Prince of Venice
Photograph ©2016 Ourem Castle Information Centre

After nearly 40 years of involvement with Shroud research and education, I have gotten used to encountering the unexpected, but I was not prepared for the e-mail I received this past April from my dear friend Carlos Evaristo in Portugal. Carlos, who works for the Royal House of Portugal in Fatima, is a world renown relic expert and the curator of the museum holding the largest collection of relics in the world, the Royal Lipsanotheca of Portugal. He wrote to inform me that the Royal Houses of Savoy (Italy) and Bragança (Portugal) had created a new organization named F.I.D.E.S. (FEDERAÇÃO INTERNACIONAL DE ESTUDOS SINDONOLÓGICOS) or International Federation of Shroud Researchers and with it, a new award named the King Umberto II Holy Shroud Medal, to be presented for merit in promotion of devotion, science and research of the Shroud. He went on to state that I had been chosen to receive one of the first eight medals for my participation on the STURP team, the creation of this website and the founding of STERA, Inc. I have to admit that receiving a medal from the Royal Houses of Italy and Portugal was beyond anything I ever imagined. I was very surprised and deeply honored to be included!

That is because Carlos also provided me with a list of the seven other recipients who would be receiving this prestigious award and I found that I was in amazingly good company, with such noted Shroud scholars as Prof. Bruno Barberis (President of the International Centre of Sindonology in Turin) , the late Dr. Frederick Zugibe (Forensic Pathologist and President of the Centre for Religious Research Fátima and of ASSIST), Dr. John Jackson (Founder and President of STURP / Colorado Shroud Centre), Fernando Lagrifa Fernandes (Founder and President of the Centro Português de Sindonologia), José-Delfín Villalaín-Blanco (Honorary President of the Centro Español de Sindonologia), Jorge-Manuel Rodriguez-Almenar (President of the Centro Español de Sindonologia) and Carlos Evaristo (President of the Real Lipsanotheca / Apostolate for Holy Relics). I was truly overwhelmed to be included on such an illustrious list but quickly realized that I would regretfully not be able to attend the conference and award ceremony in Fatima on 2 May 2016. Fortunately, my dear friend Catherine Zugibe, Fred Zugibe's widow, and their grandson, Thomas Blaber would be attending to accept Fred's award posthumously and Thomas graciously agreed to accept the award on my behalf.

Since I could not attend myself, I asked Carlos if he could prepare an article about F.I.D.E.S. and the King Umberto II Holy Shroud Medal for us, along with a report on the award ceremony. He responded promptly with an in depth article titled, F.I.D.E.S., which explains the purpose of the organization and the reason for the creation of the medal. He also sent a large selection of photographs, some of which I have included in the article, along with a number of links to YouTube videos of the conference and award ceremony, which I have included below and also added at the end of his article. My deepest gratitude and sincerest thanks to both Royal Highnesses for the prestigious award they bestowed on all of us. I am sure we will all redouble our efforts to live up to this great honor.

Here are links to some YouTube videos of the conference, award ceremony and related events: [Editor's Note: For several days most of the video links below were blocked. We found out it was copyright issues with the music used that was causing the blockage, so those music tracks have been replaced or removed from the clips and they are all now readily available].

Posted June 1, 2016
Updated June 3, 2016

Fourteen More Issues Added to Rex Morgan's Shroud News Archive

Shroud News

We are very pleased to present the next fourteen issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News in today's update, which includes Issue #37, October 1986 through Issue #50, December 1988. I should note that Issue #50 is the largest issue to date and three times larger than any of its predecessors at a full 68 pages. These particular issues cover the timeframe that includes the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud and you will find a wealth of important and fascinating comments by a Who's Who of Shroud scholars in the 1988 issues, including such esteemed researchers as Ian Wilson, William Meacham, Prof. Dan Scavone, Fr. Peter Rinaldi, Dorothy Crispino, Frank Tribbe, Eugenia Nitowski, Remi Van Haelst, Alan Whanger and many more. I consider these issues a "must read" for anyone interested in this important era of Shroud history. Our sincerest thanks to Stephen Jones for his extraordinary effort in scanning and optical character recognition of every page, Ian Wilson for providing the original issues and valuable input and of course, to Rex Morgan for his gracious permission to reprint them here on Shroud.com. We are nearing the half-way mark of issues and will continue to archive them until the complete 118 issue collection is online.

Posted June 1, 2016

In Memoriam

Marie-Claire van Oosterwyck-Gastuche

It is my sad duty to report the passing of Dr. Marie-Claire van Oosterwyck-Gastuche, at her home on April 6, 2016. Marie-Claire was a noted French Shroud scholar who held a PhD in Physical Chemistry, was the author of the book, Le radiocarbone face au Linceul de Turin (Radiocarbon facing the Shroud of Turin) and Superintendent of the Royal Museum of Central Africa, in Belgium. Marie-Claire was an outspoken critic of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud and spent many years writing and lecturiing on that topic. Although she was less well known in the United States than in Europe, her contributions were very important as she publicly challenged the results of the 1988 dating of the Shroud from a scientific point of view. We last saw her here in America at the 2001 Dallas Shroud conference where she presented a paper titled, "Proof of the Unreliability of the C-14 Medieval Age Obtained for the Turin Shroud" and participated in a Question and Answer Session regarding the C14 dating of the Shroud with Dr. William Meacham. Her work has been referenced by many Shroud scholars around the world, as is evidenced by the more than 80 references to her and her work via the Website Search Engine on Shroud.com. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends for their loss. Rest in peace Marie-Claire.


In Memoriam

Dr. Michael Clift
1928 - 2016

It is with great sadness that I must also report the passing of Dr. Michael Clift, who served as General Secretary of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) for more than two decades. Although I never had the privilege of meeting him personally, his name is well known to anyone who read the BSTS Newsletter over the years. Since Ian Wilson worked with Dr. Clift for many years and knew him personally, he graciously agreed to write an obituary for us, with the generous assistance of Dr. Clift's nephew Bruce Barnfield, which we are including as part of this memorial. You can read it at this link: Dr. Michael Clift. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace doctor and thank you for your many contributions to Shroud research.

Posted June 1, 2016

The Tunic of Argenteuil Public Exhibition: An Illustrated Report by Jostein Andreassen

The Tunic of Argenteuil Public Exhibition: An Illustrated Report by Jostein Andreassen
Photograph ©2016 Oddvar Søvik

Our good friend Jostein Andreassen, one of the most preeminent Shroud scholars in Norway and author of one of the first books on the Shroud written in the Norwegian language, Likkledet I Torino - Et tegn for var tid (The Shroud of Turin - A Sign of Our Times), contacted us recently to let us know he had attended the public exhibition of the Tunic of Argenteuil in France and offered to write an article and share it with us here on Shroud.com. Of course, I immediately accepted his offer and the result is his beautifully illustrated report titled, 200,000 to the Tunic of Argenteuil. The excellent photographs included with the article are by his friend, Oddvar Søvik, who has served as a priest in Norway for many years, often giving lectures about the Shroud of Turin, and is also one of the leaders of "Torinokledet," an organization with the purpose of educating the Norwegian people about the Shroud (and the Sudarium of Oviedo and the Tunic of Argenteuil), and publishing books about these subjects. You can find their organization on the Internet at www.torinokledet.no (in Norwegian). Our thanks to Jostein and Oddvar for their excellent work and contributions!

Posted June 1, 2016

Recently Published Papers and Articles

Five Reasons Why Some Christians Are Shroud Skeptics by Barrie Schwortz
Reprinted from The City published by Houston Baptist University

Another large number of papers and articles have been published since our January website update covering a broad range of Shroud related topics and we are including as many as possible here today. Also included are several older papers from the archives that you might find interesting. All have also been permanently archived on the Scientific Papers & Articles page (alphabetically by title) and the Website Library page (alphabetically by author).

Posted June 1, 2016

Recently Published Books

Recently Published Books

A few new Shroud related books have been published in recent months. We are listing them here but have also permanently archived them all on the Shroud of Turin Booklist page (alphabetically by author). To make it easy to find the new additions, we have annotated each new listing with "(Added 1 June 2016)" so simply search for that phrase on the page.

The Tradition of the Image of Edessa by Mark Guscin

This book is based on Mark Guscin's recently completed doctoral thesis. (Congratulations Dr. Guscin)! Here is a description from the publisher's website:

"The Image of Edessa was an image of Christ, which, according to tradition, was of miraculous origin. It was taken from Edessa to Constantinople in 944, and disappeared from known history in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It generated, however, a vast amount of literature and hundreds of copies in churches all over the Byzantine world. This book is a study of the literature, paintings, icons and other aspects related to the Image of Edessa. It examines how it was used as a tool to express Christ’s humanity and for various other purposes, and how some of the related literature became completely decontextualised and used as a magical charm, especially in the West."

Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (February 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1-4438-8581-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-8581-2

Pietro, Giuseppe e il Lenzuolo (Peter, Joseph and the Sheet) from the presentation of Rafael Pascual L.C. by Walter Memmolo and Angelo R. Memmolo

Here is a brief description via online translation:

"The authors of this volume advance hypotheses on the recovery of the shroud from the tomb and on its custody after the crucifixion. The story, however, is not limited to this; with narrative flashbacks between Rome, where the evangelizing mission of Peter originates in 42, and Jerusalem, where Joseph of Arimathea is the protagonist of the events of the burial, the deposition and the safekeeping of the sacred cloth, the reading of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus is so timely revived that the reader cannot help but feel like a participant and an active spectator."

Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Gangemi Editore (2016)
Language: Italian
ISBN-13: 9788849232189

Posted June 1, 2016

Shroud Videos and Audios

Shroud Videos and Audios
Jesus Alive Again - DVD by Ray Downing

A number of new Shroud related videos and audios have become available in recent months and we are including links to many of them here today. Some are available on DVD and others are freely available online:

Jesus Alive Again by Ray Downing was released this past Easter on DVD. According to Ray, "It covers the period from the Last Supper to the Ascension, using only words from the evangelists as the narration. The imagery features the 3D "Real Face of Jesus" computer graphics model based on the Shroud." Here is a brief description of the program from Ray's website, where you can also view a trailer of the program:

"Jesus Alive Again is a film about the voices of people 2000 years ago telling us what they saw during the first Easter. With 3D computer graphics, beautiful imagery, music, and words from the gospels, we go back in time to Palestine, 33 A.D. Directed and produced by Emmy winner artist Ray Downing."

The Shroud of Turin - The official documenting photographer tells the inside story is a YouTube video of a presentation by Barrie Schwortz that runs 1:19:00 and was taped on February 17, 2016 at Padre Serra Catholic Church in Camarillo, California as part of Fr. Dave Heney's University Series™, an annual multi-parish adult education program held in Southern California each year during the Lenten season. The videotape was produced, edited and posted online by James Malloy.

Test the Shroud by Mark Antonacci is a two hour, audio only (mp3) podcast interview by Nick Peters that originally aired February 13, 2016 on Deeper Waters. In the interview, Mark discusses his theories on the Shroud and his campaign to encourage future testing of the cloth. Deeper Waters Christian Ministries is an organization founded by Nick and Allie Peters.

Posted June 1, 2016

New From the Ariel Agemian Collection

New From the Ariel Agemian Collection

Most people in the Shroud world are familiar with the iconic painting of Jesus based on the Shroud (see above) that was created in 1935 by Armenian artist and writer, Ariel Agemian. What most people don't know is that the artist's daughter, Annig Agemian Raley, has taken up the task of preserving and promoting her father's work and has built a website specifically for that purpose. In recent years Annig has created new prints and other items bearing her father's artworks so that everyone can own and appreciate them. Over the years, we have received many requests for certain items (like prayer cards) bearing the Shroud's image, but STERA, Inc. is not authorized or chartered to create religious items. Fortunately, Annig has answered the call by creating just such materials from her father's works and they are now readily available on her website: Ariel Agemian K.S.G.

Posted June 1, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions Page Now Available in Polish Language

Frequently Asked Questions Page Now Available in Polish Language (Jezyku polskim)

We are very grateful to Jan Pietluch, who recently wrote us from Poland and volunteered to translate some of our web pages into the Polish language. I suggested we start with the Frequently Asked Questions page and the Polish language translation is now available, both from the FAQ page itself and from the Main Menu page as well. We look forward to receiving more Polish translations in the future and wish to thank Jan for the excellent work. I know it will be truly appreciated by our Polish speaking visitors.

Posted June 1, 2016

The Shroud in the Media

The Shroud in the Media

A number of recent news stories generated considerable interest in the Shroud. Here are some of the most interesting ones:

Shroud shows the reality of the Passion - NZ Catholic - May 26. 2016 - Here is an excerpt from the article:

"The Shroud of Turin shows the reality of the Passion, death and Resurrection of Christ, according to Shroud presenter James Bertrand. Mr Bertrand, a student of and presenter about the Shroud for the past 30 years, spoke to attendees at the Auckland Eucharistic Convention at the AMI Netball Centre in Takapuna on April 3. Mr Bertrand said he first became interested in the Shroud when he read about Dr John Jackson’s findings in National Geographic in 1980."

The Shroud of Turin, Authenticated Again by Myra Adams - National Review - April 16. 2016 - Here is an excerpt from the article:

"A new study released last week included new evidence that links and further authenticates two holy relics that millions of Christians believe offer physical proof of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But before we explore the research and the relics, let us recall a New Testament passage concerning faith in Christ and the need for physical evidence. I mean the familiar story of “doubting Thomas” (John 20:24–29)."

New Study: The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo Covered the Same Person - Aleteia.org - April 11. 2016 - Here is an excerpt from the article:

"The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo “almost certainly covered the cadaver of the same person.” This is the conclusion from an investigation that has compared the two relics using forensics and geometry. The research was done by Dr. Juan Manuel Miñarro, a sculpture professor at the University of Seville, as part of a project sponsored by the Valencia-based Centro Español de Sindonología (CES) (The Spanish Center of Sindonology). The study thus supports what tradition has held for more than two millennia: that the two cloths came from the same historical person, who, according to this tradition, was Jesus of Nazareth."

Modern-day 'Indiana Jones' links Shroud to 1st century - by Jerome R. Corsi, WND.com - March 24. 2016 - Here is an excerpt from the article:

"NEW YORK – An archaeological discovery that appears to place the origin of the Shroud of Turin in first century A.D. conflicts with three independent scientifically conducted radiocarbon 14 tests that estimated a date range of A.D. 1260-1390. The shroud is believed by many scholars to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Philip E. Dayvault, a former FBI special agent and physical-science technician who has been studying the Shroud of Turin since 1973, ventured to Turkey on an Indiana Jones-like expedition in 2002. While there, he discovered a small mosaic in a faraway museum maintained by Muslim curators that appears to provide physical corroboration for the existence of the Shroud back in the first century."

Posted June 1, 2016

Our Next Update

I am planning to take some much needed time off during June and July and spend some time with my family. Although I don't know the exact date of the next update, it will probably go online in late August or early September, after I return from speaking at the 50th Annual Jalsa Salana Ahmadiyya Muslim convention in England. (See my article about last year's event at A Personal Report on the 2015 Jalsa Salana Convention). I do know for sure that it will include more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, the latest papers, books, articles and videos and of course, any breaking Shroud news. To be sure you don't miss any important Shroud information as it occurs, check our STERA, Inc. Facebook page from time to time, since we now try and update it weekly to keep you informed between our regular quarterly website updates. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view our page. You can also join our Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail whenever the site is updated or any important Shroud news breaks. We hope you find this update interesting and useful and look forward to seeing you later this summer!

Barrie Schwortz
President, STERA, Inc.

Posted June 1, 2016

Special Update: Important New Radiocarbon Dating Videos Online! March 19, 2016

For more than two decades, the most hotly debated topic in the Shroud world has been the radiocarbon dating performed on the cloth in 1988 that declared the Shroud a medieval fake. Although substantial scientific data now exists that indicates the sample chosen for dating was anomalous and not representative of the main cloth, most of the world and the media still ignore the massive amount of published science that points to the Shroud's authenticity and accepts instead that single dating test as proof of the Shroud's medieval origin. What very few people know about are the events that occurred behind the scenes that further disqualified the 1988 results. Two new videos that reveal just that are now available online from David Rolfe and Francesca Saracino that deal specifically with those issues and we thought they were important enough to let you know immediately via this Special Update. We have also included a link to a recent BBC radio interview with Dr. Michael Tite, a key player in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. As the then Director of Research at the British Museum, he was selected to be the overall supervisor of the entire dating process. We believe you will find these programs informative and enlightening (and perhaps a bit disturbing and frustrating) and hope you will share them with your friends and family.

A Grave Injustice - New Program from director David Rolfe

We are very pleased to announce the Free availability of A Grave Injustice, an important new film directed by our dear friend David Rolfe (director of 1977's BAFTA award winning documentary The Silent Witness) and produced by noted Shroud scholar (and very dear friend) Pam Moon. The program features appearances by such well known Shroud researchers as John Jackson, Bill Meacham, Dr. Robert Bucklin, Ian Wilson, Max Frei, John Klotz, Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro, Dr. Thomas De Wesselow, Dr. Michael Tite, Prof. Luigi Gonella, Prof. Edward Hall, Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Pam Moon and many more. Below is David's brief description of the 27 minute program although you can get more information and access the program directly via his Shroud Enigma website. I consider this program a "must see!"

"This video reveals how the C14 laboratories that tested the Shroud failed to follow their own protocols to ensure a definitive dating and failed to place their result in the context of this fact and of the weight of other evidence that contradicts it."


Cold Case: The Shroud of Turin directed by Francesca Saracino

Several years ago our dear friend Francesca Saracino produced and directed an Italian language documentary titled, “La Notte della Sindone” (The Night of the Shroud), which took the viewer behind the scenes of the radiocarbon dating. (The film won three awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival for Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Hoboken-New York Film Festival). Unfortunately, it did not receive broad distribution because of its controversial nature and was never made available here in the U.S. The good news is that the program has been updated, translated into English and retitled “Cold Case: The Shroud of Turin,” and is now available from Vimeo On Demand for only US$3.00. Once you order the 63 minute video you can watch it for 30 days and view it on a computer as well as iOS, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast. The program uses previously unpublished documents to take you behind the scenes of the questionable events surrounding the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud and asks the provocative question, “Who’s afraid of the Shroud of Turin?” This is another "must see" program and well worth the price of admission!


BBC Radio Interview with Dr. Michael Tite

Coincidentally, BBC radio recently interviewed Dr. Michael Tite, who in 1988 was Director of Research at the British Museum and the man selected to supervise the three laboratories that were chosen to perform the dating on the Shroud. As he figured prominently in the dating process, we felt we should include this new, nine minute interview in today's update so you can hear Dr. Tite's point of view for yourselves. He appeared on the Witness program in a segment titled, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Turin Shroud." Here is a brief excerpt from the program's online description:

"In 1988, the Church allowed scientists to perform a radiocarbon dating test on a small sample of the shroud. The results are still controversial. Witness speaks to Professor Michael Tite who supervised the testing process."

We hope these new programs will provide further evidence that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin was poorly performed and resulted in questionable if not totally inaccurate results. In the end, you will have to judge for yourself and make up your own minds. Watch for our Spring Update sometime in May!

Posted March 19, 2016

Shroud.com Celebrates 20 Years Online January 21, 2016!

Shroud.com Is Now Mobile Friendly!

There is so much to report in this important update that I'm not sure where to start! Of course, the fact that today marks our 20th anniversary online is certainly the biggest news. Little did I realize when I hit the "send" button on January 21, 1996, that twenty years later that simple act would have altered the entire course of my life and touched the lives of millions of others! However, none of this would be possible without the generous participation of the many historians, scientists, researchers and scholars who have graciously granted us access to their work so that we might share it online and make it available to everyone. Our sincerest thanks to every person, past or present, whose numerous contributions have helped make the Shroud of Turin Website the largest online source of Shroud information on the internet. Most importantly, we want to thank you, our viewers, for your loyalty and support over the years. We are truly grateful to all of you for your continued participation. We could not have done it without you!

But celebrating our 20th anniversary is just the beginning of today's update. Equally important is the fact that over the past six months we recoded all 296 of our html pages to make them fully mobile compliant on tablets and smart phones and are unveiling the new mobile-ready pages in this update. We also reached an important milestone on December 26, 2015, when our total visitors for the year exceeded ONE MILLION! This update also includes eight more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, the latest issue of the BSTS Newsletter, links to many new papers, books, articles, videos and other Shroud news. On a sadder note, this update also includes memorials for the untimely passing of two important Shroud scholars and friends. Rather than making this introduction a long one, I'll end it here so you can get started.

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

Shroud.com Is Now Mobile Friendly!

Shroud.com Is Now Mobile Friendly!

If you have been viewing this website on your tablet or smart phone (and about 30% of you have), you know that visiting Shroud.com on your mobile device did not result in the ideal viewing experience. Several years ago we reformatted our Home Page into a modified mobile page and provided it as an alternative, but it was not really very satisfactory (and has been removed in this update). With about 60% of all web traffic now being viewed on mobile devices, it was time for a serious update. However, a complete redesign of the entire website was not possible and not one link could be changed. So instead, we decided to update all 296 of our html pages with code that would adapt and rescale each page to the individual mobile display it was being viewed on but would remain unchanged when viewed on a laptop or desktop computer. Now all that remained was to find someone who could write the code within our modest budget and complete the work in time for this update!

In July 2015, I mentioned this to Russ Breault, a dear friend and member of STERA, Inc.'s Board of Directors, and he urged me to speak with Harrison Gibbs, a young man in the Atlanta, Georgia area that had been working on Russ' websites and videos for several years. Russ warned me not to be too shocked to discover that Harrison was only 17 years old and a senior in high school and he set up a phone meeting for a week later. At the meeting, I was immediately impressed that Harrison had already spent time reviewing the code on all our html pages and had prepared a written proposal for the work that would be necessary to meet our requirements! Frankly, in my 44 year professional career I rarely met anyone so well prepared and professional in their demeanor and approach. So I hired him immediately! Today you see the results of his efforts, particularly if you are reading this on a smart phone or tablet. We have carefully reviewed every page to make sure it is perfect on any display, but like any other complex process, we might have overlooked something somewhere. If you find any problems on any of our pages, please send us an e-mail with the page name, the specific device you are viewing with and a detailed description of the problem you enountered. We will do our best to correct it promptly.

Over the past six months I have worked closely with Harrison in refining, reviewing and finalizing all the new pages and am thrilled by his dedication, his knowledge and his meticulous efforts. It is a true pleasure to work with him. And of course, the results speak for themselves! It is truly wonderful to see our pages properly displayed on every mobile device! If you have a project that needs a serious computer professional, you can contact Harrison directly via his website, Harrison Gibbs Computer Services. I can wholeheartedly recommend him! Thank you Harrison for a job well done!

Posted January 21, 2016

1,014,888 Visitors in 2015!

1,014,888 Visitors in 2015! (Click to see details)

On December 26, 2015 we received a very welcome Christmas present when our visitors for the year surpassed the ONE MILLION mark! Our final total for 2015 was 1,014,888 (up 75,000 from the previous year) and averaged 2780 visitors per day or nearly 85,000 visitors per month. Our visitors generated over 19 million hits, viewed 16.7 million files, viewed over 2.5 million pages and generated 907 GB of bandwidth! You can see the details for yourself by clicking on the above graphic. It seems very fitting to reach this milestone while celebrating our 20th anniversary and we thank you, our loyal viewers, for your continued participation and support!

Posted January 21, 2016

In Memoriam

Fr. Hector Guerra, L.C.
1953 - 2015

It is with great sadness that I must report the untimely passing of our dear friend and colleague, Fr. Hector Guerra, L.C., who passed away in Madrid, Spain, on December 11, 2015 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Fr. Guerra was not well known to most of the Shroud world, but worked tirelessly behind the scenes to promote the Shroud internationally. He was at least in part responsible for the 2011 Encounter of the Two Linens in Mexico City, the 2012 CES Conference in Valencia, the 2013 TEDx ViadellaConciliazione Conference in the Vatican, the 2013 Third Encounter of the Two Linens Conference in Jerusalem and many others. He was also responsible for opening Shroud exhibits around the world and was planning more in the future when his health failed.

Beyond that, Fr. Guerra was first and foremost my friend. He actually came to my home in Colorado in 2010 (with Petrus Soons) and we spent three days together discussing Shroud research and the work of STERA, Inc. and this website. After that meeting, I was invited to teach a course on the Shroud at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum in Rome. His personal efforts opened the door for sincere communications between STERA, Inc. and the authorities in Turin, for which I will be forever grateful. His actions almost singlehandedly fostered the excellent working relationship we enjoy today. That same year we traveled and lectured together in Spain and Germany. In June 2015 he flew in from Madrid to meet with me at the Pontifical Seminary in Rome. After discussing some of his future plans to promote the Shroud, we had a beautiful dinner, said our goodbyes and the next day I flew up to Turin and he flew back to Madrid. As we parted, I gave him a hug, wished him well and told him I would keep him in my prayers. It was the last time I was ever to see him, but I am grateful to have had that final opportunity. His loss will be felt for years to come but his positive influence on worldwide sindonology will last even longer. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, friends and all of his Legionary brothers. Rest in Peace my friend.

Barrie Schwortz

Within hours of his passing the Legionaries of Christ website created a Memorial Page where literally hundreds of comments have been posted in Fr. Guerra's memory (many of them in Spanish and Italian). A quick review of the comments on the page indicates just how beloved he was and how important his contributions were to Sindonology. Here are just a few of the many comments we have received from those who knew him:

"Unfortunately, the adventure of earthly Father Hector Guerra ended today in Madrid in the early afternoon and he began his real life next to Christ who Father Hector so loved and served throughout his life. Let us unite in prayer as he has done many times with all of us in front of that face that we still contemplate in the cloth of the Shroud but that he now really already knows, face to face. The best way we have to remember him is to continue his work of evangelization through the spread of the message of the Shroud that he has been able to provide an unrivaled spread worldwide."

Bruno Barberis, President - International Center for the Study of the Shroud - Turin, Italy

"I pray for Padre Hector. I appreciated his humanity and spirit of evangelization about the Shroud during my stay in Jerusalem."

Nello Ballosino, Vice-President - International Center for the Study of the Shroud - Turin, Italy

"We now have a supporter like Father Hector Guerra in the Father's House. Sure you will notice both future research and findings and inspiration to talk about the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth from the perspective of faith."

Guillermo Heras Moreno - Head of the Investigation Team - Centro Español de Sindonologia - Spain

"I am convinced it will be Father Hector Guerra, who will pray for us to the Almighty and His Holy Mother, inspiring us to continue the work begun. I think the death of Father Hector Guerra is a great loss, but his dedication also serves as a role model for all researchers. This should be a stimulus for us to continue."

Alfonso Sánchez Hermosilla - Director del EDICES - Centro Español de Sindonologia - Spain

"I have just learned that Fr. Guerra passed away. We will pray for him and for us. We hope that he helps us from above to spread further the Shroud message of Love as he did during his lifetime."

Adolfo Orozco Torres, President - Centro Mexicano de Sindonologia - Mexico

"In June, Dalys and I went to Europe to meet with Father Guerra in Madrid, Spain. As you know, we were very good friends and he was my spiritual adviser and we cooperated in realizing many expositions of the Shroud in many places in the world... I am glad that I could introduce him to you in your house in Colorado and that you both clicked from the first moment you met, which resulted in the invitations to come to Rome and give presentations for the course on the Shroud that they had started there. You both had a great respect for each other and he gave a lot of positive feedback about you in Turin and other places. I miss him but I am glad he is not suffering anymore and can now be a guide for all of us in heaven."

Peter and Dalys Soons - Shroud Scholars - Panama

"I met P. Guerra almost from the time of his ordination, nearly 35 years ago, but my relationship with him became closer and closer over the past 10 years. That is when he asked me to collaborate with him on projects on the Shroud, beginning with the permanent exhibition of Rome at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum (in December 2006). Next was the "Othonia" project dedicated to the study and dissemination of the Shroud, through various initiatives, including several international conferences including the three "Meetings of two linens" (the Holy Shroud and the Virgin of Guadalupe), Rome (2009), Mexico (2011) and Jerusalem (2013), and finally with the Diploma in Sindónicos Studies (since 2009). All this is another example of his initiative, his drive and his apostolic influence in one of several areas in which he displayed his priestly work. Those who had the grace to work with us benefit from his legacy and continue his work. I think it is the best way to honor his memory and thank him for the example he set. Rest in peace, P. Guerra!"

Fr. Rafael Pascual, L.C. - Dean of the Science and Faith Program, Pontifical Regina Apostolorum - Rome, Italy

"This news saddens me, because without Father Guerra and his "communicative energy" we all feel a little more alone. I was struck by the fact that Father Guerra has left us the day before the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for the study of which he was so deeply involved, even organizing several scientific meetings to propose a new season of scientific measurements. Who knows if this coincidence is a sign. I fully share the thought of Bruno: the best way to remember Father Guerra is continuing the action undertaken by him to promote the evangelic potential of the Shroud, including through new studies on the Cloth."

Paolo di Lazzaro - ENEA Researcher - Frascati, Italy

In Memoriam

Avinoam Danin
1939 - 2015

It is with great sadness that I must also report the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Avinoam Danin, noted Israeli botanist and Shroud researcher, on December 12, 2015, in Jerusalem. The news was first posted on Avinoam's Flora of Israel Online website and I was notified the next day by his friend and colleague, Dr. Anthony Brach of the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Avinoam was well known in the Shroud world for his analysis of the pollens found on the cloth and his somewhat controversial claims of finding many flower images on the Shroud. I know that he was frustrated with me at times for not agreeing with some of his imaging claims, but we always enjoyed a respectful and professional relationship and I always considered him a friend. I last saw him in 2013 at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem while attending the Third Conference of the Two Linens and we enjoyed a very cordial dialogue. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace my friend.

Barrie Schwortz

Peter Soons was a close friend of Avinoam's, had met his family in Israel and had worked with him on a number of research projects. He was kind enough to write a memorial/biography for Avinoam and, with the approval of the Danin family, is allowing us to reprint it here in its entirety. We are also including a poignant comment from author Kimberly Ballard who worked with Avinoam during the research and production of her book.

"For the last 44 years the main academic activity of Avinoam Danin has been dedicated to interdisciplinary research involving the identity and distribution of higher plants, microorganisms, other organisms, and their relation to the environment. The results of his investigations on higher plants and their habitats have been published in 5 books and 182 articles in English, 5 books and 247 articles in Hebrew; one book is bilingual, and one in Italian.

"He discovered many plant species that have not been found previously in Israel, Sinai, and Jordan. In addition he described more than 40 taxa new to science, belonging to various families. The study of plant names and their use by the Bedouin in the Negev and Sinai led him to cooperate with biochemists and pharmacognosists in the search for natural chemicals, especially in aromatic plants. This contributes towards the search for potential medicinal plants. Mapping the distribution of plants in Israel in squares of 5 x 5 km enabled him to create a data base from which the flora of Israel was studied and a new phytogeographical map was drawn. It was also used in several forensic investigations. The most recent and important one is detecting the origin of the Shroud of Turin in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

"His involvement with the study of the Shroud started in the early 1980swhen he received a letter from Paul Maloney asking him to do botanical research on the plant images that had been seen on the Shroud. But nothing came of this, until he was visited by Alan and Mary Whanger in September of 1995, who had studied these images. The Whangers determined 28 plant species by comparing the images to 1:1 drawings of plants illustrated in the first three parts of the Flora Palaestina then available. He saw the images they had seen and then found additional ones himself. The conclusions from his botanical research and findings were:

"In 2008 a book interview was done by Father Hector Guerra L.C., that resulted in a book in Italian: "L'uomo della Sindone". It was the first book of the series that followed, the English edition: "Botany of the Shroud" (2010), and the Spanish translation: "Flores y Plantas en la Sabana Santa" (2011). You can see the book cover in the file attached. Avinoam was also involved in the study of the thorns that were kept in different churches in Italy, and that supposedly had belonged to the helmet of thorns of Jesus Christ and to compare them with his findings of the images of thorns on the Shroud.

"Using Avinoam's own words what his investigations of the Shroud meant to him:
"Throughout my years of investigations of the Shroud, I had the pleasure of knowing interesting people and expanding my fields of interest. I lost many hours of sleep as thoughts about the meaning of my findings kept me awake at the oddest hours. I am often asked about my personal feelings concerning the Shroud and what surrounds it. I appreciate the beliefs of Christians around the world and I admire the expression "live and let live". I have gathered much botanical information in my years of research and am happy to share my expertise and its application in Sindonology with those that are interested".

"Avinoam, thanks for all your efforts and rest in peace. You will live on in your work but also in our hearts."

Peter Soons

"...Avinoam was a light to my world. His kindness to me will never be forgotten. His pictures are forever in my book because he became my friend... I am very sad to lose this good friend. My book is more valuable now because Avinoam's beautiful pictures are in it. The last time I talked to Avinoam he was having trouble with his feet, and feeling a bit uncomfortable. So I gave him space to get well. I had hoped that he would come to visit you Barrie, and would travel up this way to meet me at some point. I am sad I will never meet him or be able to ask him anything, or show him just how valuable his work was although I told him it was repeatedly. He seemed to have doubted his importance. He was a blessing to me... God took him to heaven during Hanukkah because he left a legacy of light behind him... I am blessed beyond measure to have had this man as my friend."

Kimberly Ballard - Author
Posted January 21, 2016

Eight More Issues Added to Rex Morgan's Shroud News Archive

Shroud News

We are pleased to present the next eight issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News in today's update, which includes Issue #29, June 1985 through Issue #36, August 1986. They continue to be filled with fascinating historical insights, in-depth content and great reading. Our sincerest thanks to Stephen Jones for volunteering to do all the scanning and optical character recognition, Ian Wilson for providing the original issues and of course, to Rex Morgan for his gracious permission to reprint them here on Shroud.com. We will continue to archive the issues until the complete 118 issue collection is available online.

Posted January 21, 2016

BSTS Newsletter December 2015 Issue No. 82 Now Online

BSTS Newsletter No. 82

We are happy to report that the British Society for the Turin Shroud page of the website has been updated and the latest December 2015 Issue No. 82 of the BSTS Newsletter is now online. This issue includes an interesting research article by Hugh Duncan and two research articles that look into invisible weaving and the fire of 1532 by Hugh Farey, the newsletter's Editor. It also includes notices of recent papers and articles, several book reviews, news from around the internet and much more.

Posted January 21, 2016

Dan Porter Retires His Shroud of Turin Blog!

Shroud of Turin Blog

On December 15, 2015, the Shroud world awoke to a major surprise. That day Dan Porter announced he was retiring his Shroud of Turin Blog and ending all comments and posts by the end of the year! I have to admit that this came as a shock to me, since over the past seven years Dan's blog had enjoyed great success in providing a much-needed serious public forum for in-depth discussions about the Shroud. I must also admit that I had somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the blog. There were many excellent articles published and archived on the blog over the years (and we linked to many of them), by many thoughtful and intelligent participants and many of the discussions were insightful, educational and respectful. But there was a somewhat darker side as well, where unprovoked and unnecessary ad hominem personal attacks on unsuspecting (and often deceased) individuals were frequently permitted. In all fairness, I also completely understand how difficult it can be to moderate a public forum where the main topic is one of the most controversial objects on the planet! In the end, there is a very thin line between moderation and censorship and I know Dan did his best to be fair to everyone. And in spite of all that, I still checked the blog several times each day and found myself holding my breath in anticipation as to what new issue might appear next! I will truly miss doing so in the future and want to extend our sincerest thanks to Dan for providing such a great forum over the years. Thankfully, he is leaving all of the contents online and available, so you can still go back and read all the past articles and posts (which I heartily recommend). We send Dan our very best wishes for equally great success in all his future endeavors.

Posted January 21, 2016

Recently Published Papers and Articles

Comments on the Mass Spectrometry Analysis of a Sample of the Shroud of Turin by Bella et al.
By Mario Latendresse

Another large number of Shroud related papers have been published recently, and as always, we have tried to include the most relevant and important ones here (listed with the most recent paper first). However, we are starting with a paper that we originally posted in our November 1, 2015 update, shortly after it was published as an editorial in Thermochimica Acta. It sparked considerable controversy at the time and prompted a number of Shroud scholars to write and submit formal rebuttals to the publication. To make it easier for you, we are repeating our original post from last year, followed by the first of those rebuttals written by Mario Latendresse of the Stanford Research Institute and published in the latest issue of Thermochimica Acta. All have also been permanently archived on the Scientific Papers & Articles page (alphabetically by title) and the Website Library page (alphabetically by author).

The presence of dye in the 1988 radiocarbon date samples of the Shroud of Turin
By Pam Moon

Posted January 21, 2016

Recently Published Books

Recently Published Books

A number of new Shroud related books have been published in recent months. We are listing some of them here but have also permanently archived them all on the Shroud of Turin Booklist page (alphabetically by author), which has just been updated with another 35 titles thanks to our dear friend Emanuela Marinelli. To make it easy to find all the new additions, we have annotated each new listing with "(Added 21 JAN 2016)" so simply search for that phrase on the page.

The Keramion: Lost and Found by Phillip E. Dayvault

This book is scheduled for release in February 2016. Here is a description from the book's website:

"The Shroud of Turin, the traditional burial cloth of Jesus Christ, is either authentic or not. "It is one or the other, there is no middle ground." The Keramion, Lost and Found provides new answers to that centuries-old debate. In 2000, I began a quest for ancient oil lamps in a faraway land, but it soon became an epic Journey to the FACE of GOD...

"..."Buckle up", and come along on this amazing journey. Join my guide and translator, Hafize, and me on this trip of a lifetime. We traversed Turkey in search of ancient oil lamps, but found something much more illuminating. Be advised, though, you may also find something, perhaps, that you have been seeking all your life...the TRUTH!"

Paperback: 322 pages
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing (February 16, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1630476420
ISBN-13: 978-1630476427

God's Thief by Stefano Battezzati, Ada Grossi and Massimo Ronchi (FICTION)

As we have done on only several occasions in the past, we are including this book, a work of fiction, on our booklist. Like all of our previous exceptions, this book was also written to introduce children to the Shroud, but is wrapped in a fictional story to make it more appealing to younger readers while educating them with accurate scientific information. Here is an online description of the book:

"A mysterious organization asks an international thief to steal nothing less than the Shroud of Turin: so the adventure begins. Science and fiction blend in the plot of this Mystery Novel, written for Kids and Early Teens, until its twist ending."

Kindle Edition: 78 pages
File Size: 18813 KB
Publisher: Mimep Docete (December 20, 2015)
Language: English

Spiritual Encounter With the Shroud: Caspar McCloud Interviews with L.A. Marzulli - Audio book by Caspar McCloud

Here is the online description of the book:

"Caspar McCloud was interviewed by L.A. Marzulli for PP&S magazine in 2013 on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. The remarkable supernatural image seen on the Shroud changed McCloud's life forever. He answers the questions many may eventually ask and shares his spiritual encounter, discovery, and insights with you. Come and see for yourself and learn the vital message encoded into the burial cloth of the risen Savior."

Narrated by Caspar McCloud
Length: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Publisher: Caspar McCloud Ministries, Inc. (December 4, 2015)
Language: English

The Gospels of Resurrection and the Turin Shroud by Giuseppe Micunco

This Italian language book deals in part with the Shroud of Turin. Here is an excerpt from the book's online description:

"...Chs. I, II and III respectively offer a detailed description of three pertaining moments of crucial interest, notably body’s deposition and burial, sepulcher opened up, angelic epiphany with apparition of the Lord himself. Some concluding remarks are given in Ch. IV, where the reconstruction of authored testimonials are also taken into due account. Last,Ch. V is essentially devoted both to the implications of the above analysis for the Turin Shroud and to stress the important role that the supplementary pieces of funeral fabric, often referred to in the book as “minor cloths” also play. Worthy of mention are some unprecedented Shroud-Scripture connections involving Paul’s selected parts and Peter’s First Letter."

228 pages
Publisher: Stilo Editrice (October 2015)
Language: Italian
ISBN-13: 978-88-6479-152-4

La Virgen de Guadalupe y La Sábana Santa: Una investigación de sus analogías by Fernando Ojeda Llanes

Fernando is a long time scholar of the Tilma of the Virgin of Guadalupe and has written several books on the topic This Spanish language book is only currently available directly from the author. Click on either of the above links to send him an e-mail order, making sure to include your shipping address. The book is available for US$20.00 plus the shipping costs, depending on your address. Here is a brief excerpt from the book's back cover:

"On this occasion he presents us with his interesting research showing that the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Shroud, both recognized as "not made by human hands," have extraordinary analogies."

216 pages
Publisher: Ojeda Producciones Publicitarias, S. A. de C.V. (October 2015)
Language: Spanish
ISBN-10: 978-7824-93-0

Luce dal Sepolcro by Emanuela Marinelli and Marco Fasol

This latest Italian language book from Emanuela and her colleague is available in both print and Amazon Kindle versions (see included links). It is also available in a Spanish language edition titled, Luz del Sepulcro. Here is the book's online description (via Google translate with some minor editing):

"Is the Shroud indeed the burial cloth of Jesus, or it is a medieval fake? The Gospels recount actual events, or are they mere legends? The answer to these questions is not secondary, since it deeply involves our lives. Certainly the Shroud is the most studied archaeological find in the world and the Gospels constitute the only key to interpreting it. This link between the Gospels and the Shroud has therefore suggested to the authors to combine the latest scientific research on the Shroud with an investigation equally as scientific and documenting the reliability of the Gospels. Thus to sum up in a single text the results of the natural sciences and the historical ones, short form and with an accessible language, in order to offer a synthesis essential for the modern man who does not want to remain illiterate about the deepest questions."

224 pages
Publisher: Fede & Cultura (February 2015)
Language: Italian
ISBN-13: 9788864093567
ISBN eBook: 9788864093819

Posted January 21, 2016

Online Shroud Videos & Audios

Holy Shroud Guild, past, present, & future - HSG Movies

Videos on the Shroud of Turin by Sébastien Cataldo
(Most in French language)
Posted January 21, 2016

Shroud News from Finland

Bruno Barberis and Mark Guscin speak at the 2012
Savonlinna Exhibition and Seminar - Photo © Juha Hiltunen
(Click for larger view)

I recently received the following e-mail from our good friend Juha Hiltunen, which included information about past and upcoming Shroud Exhbitions in Finland. In addition, he provided us with a link to the 2015 Shroud of Turin Rauma Exhibition website (Finnish language):

"I would like to inform you about the Shroud of Turin exhibition actions in Finland during the last few years. This year 2016, in March, we'll have a Shroud of Turin related exhibition in Helsinki, our capital, at the parish of Roihuvuori. This is very important, since it is the first time it reaches the metropolitan region of our country. The coming exhibition is the 7th in annual succession; previous events were held in Turku in 2010 and 2011, Savonlinna in 2012, Tampere in 2013, Jyväskylä in 2014, and Rauma in 2015. Next year, 2017, it will be in Turku again. The dates of the current exhibition in Helsinki are March 5th - 28th, 2016. Twice, in Savonlinna and Jyväskylä, we have also held seminars, where international experts were invited to speak. Drs. Mark Guscin and Bruno Barberis lectured there in 2012 and Prof. Barberis again with his fellow Italian countryman Dr. Alessandro Piana in 2014. Prof. Bruno Barberis is returning for the next exhibition and speaking at the opening event on the 5th of March.

"All the exhibitions held in Finland have gained relatively wide attention and good space in national media. Feedback of visitors has been generally praising and many got inspiration to learn more about the Shroud and its Biblical connection too. Still, it is a great challenge, especially at the coming exhibition, since the capital city area is the most secular part of Finland and people need to be informed properly so that it could gain optimal attention. We are focusing more on the scientific research of the Shroud and leaving implications in any other direction for each to make freely. My book Valokuva Jeesuksesta? (2009) has been sold out but it is relatively well available in libraries all around the country and I get good feedback from new readers every now and then. The copy of the Shroud which originally came from you via STERA, Inc. in 2010 and has been exhibited since then. It is a remarkably captivating object and resembles the original perfectly. I look forward to this Helsinki exhibition with a good feeling and hopefully it will reach still more people and increase the popularity of the Shroud of Turin in Finland."

Posted January 21, 2016

The Shroud in the Media

Floodwater destroys Eureka author's 34 years of files on Shroud of Turin
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - January 10, 2016

Once again, there have been a number of Shroud stories reported in the media recently and we are including some of the more important ones here:

Posted January 21, 2016

Visit Us On Facebook

STERA, Inc. on Facebook

In case you missed it, STERA, Inc. is on Facebook and we have been updating our page frequently. Although it is not always possible for me to update the website when new items come up on short notice, it is fast and easy for me to post a short message or some important new links on our Facebook page, no matter where I happen to be in the world. So check the page from time to time to see what's new, post a comment and like us to let us know you care!

Posted January 21, 2016

2016 Lecture Schedule

Lecturing at Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana - July 9, 2015

Since viewers often write me asking where and when I might be giving Shroud presentations, I am again including my upcoming schedule in case I happen to be in your area. If so, please drop by and say hello. Also, please understand that as of this writing, the schedule is by no means complete and that many of the times and venues are still not finalized and subject to change. I will do my best to update them prior to the events.

Posted January 21, 2016
Updated May 10, 2016

Our Next Update

As you can see in the above photograph, there is nothing visible in my crystal ball regarding our next website update! Seriously, I do know it will occur in the Spring, probably sometime in May, but a lot depends on my travel and lecture schedule, which is not yet finalized for this year. Although I don't know the exact date, I do know for sure that the next update will include more issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, the latest papers, books, articles and videos and of course, any breaking Shroud news. To be sure you don't miss any important Shroud information as it occurs, check our STERA, Inc. Facebook page from time to time, since we now try and update it weekly to keep you informed between our regular quarterly website updates. You can also join our Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail whenever the site is updated or any important Shroud news breaks. We hope you find this update interesting and useful and look forward to seeing you in the Spring! Thank you all again for helping to make our first 20 years such a great success! It is deeply appreciated.

Barrie Schwortz
President, STERA, Inc.

Posted January 21, 2016

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