Shroud of Turin Facts

Shroud of Turin FactsMore Facts Previous: Possible Paint Particles  Next: Sudarium of Oviedo

The d'Arcis Memorandum on the Shroud of Turin

What are we to make of the d’Arcis Memorandum claiming that an artist painted it? Knowing that this was a time notorious for its unscrupulous market in fake relics, the bishop’s memorandum seems to have a whiff of truthfulness to it. But the relic marketplace may also be the basis for doubting the veracity of the memorandum.

Pilgrims were a source of revenue and people were flocking to Lirey to see the Shroud rather than nearby Troyes and its collection of relics. Pierre, interestingly, states that his intent was not competitive. Why? Did he realize that others were voicing suspicions about his motives? Pierre claimed that his predecessor, Bishop Henri de Poitiers of Troyes conducted an inquest in which a painter had confessed to painting the Shroud. Pierre did not have first hand knowledge of this artist; the artist is unnamed. There is no evidence of such an inquest in contemporaneous documents. Pierre stated that Henri had the Shroud removed from the church because it was a fake, yet other documents dispute this. According to other documents, it was removed from the church for safekeeping because of the war raging about the area. The memorandum must be understood and assessed in the light of several documents of the same period and in the context of the political situation in the region. At least eight documents challenge the veracity of the d’Arcis Memorandum. There are other problems as well. All existing copies of the memorandum are unsigned and undated drafts. The copy at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris includes a heading stating that it is a letter that Pierre intends to write. It is definitely a draft with Latin annotations in the margins. It is unlikely that it was ever sent to Clement as no properly signed or sealed copies of the document can be found in the Vatican or Avignon archives. No document of Clement refers to it, suggesting it was never received. Numerous classicist and historians find the document questionable.

  The scientific study of the Turin shroud is like a microcosm of the scientific search for God: it does more to inflame any debate than settle it.”

  And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status.

  It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made.”

Scientist-Journalist Philip Ball
Nature, January 2005

Nature, that most prestigious of scientific journals, that once had bragging rights to claim that the Shroud was fake, responding to new, peer-reviewed studies that discredit the carbon 14 dating and show that the Shroud could be authentic.


  1. The Shroud of Turin is certainly much older than the now discredited radiocarbon date of 1260-1390. It is at least twice as old and it could be 2000 years old.  FACTS
  2. Though no one knows how it was made, the image is a selective caramel-like darkening of an otherwise clear coating of starch fractions and various saccharides.  FACTS
  3. The blood is real blood.  FACTS
  4. Much of what we think we see in the image is an optical illusion FACTS

Shroud of Turin Facts Check: 2005 Facts