Archbishop Vincent Nichols has warmly commended a special exhibition of the Turin Shroud to be held at the Metropolitan Cathedral & Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, from Saturday 21 to Saturday 28 February, writes Peter Jennings.
Admission to the exhibition - "The Cross the Resurrection and the Shroud of Turin" - is free from 7am - 5pm every day.
Archbishop Nichols said: "I am delighted that this remarkable exhibition (admission free) centered on the Shroud of Turin is coming to St Chad's Cathedral. I visited this exhibition, in early September, in the Anglican church in Little Aston. It helps us to enter more deeply into the sufferings of Our Lord."
The Archbishop of Birmingham added: "A visit to this exhibition is an excellent way to begin our Lenten journey."
The exhibition has been put together by Pam Moon, a lay minister at St Peter's Anglican Church, Little Aston, in the Diocese of Lichfield, where her husband, the Revd Phil Moon is Vicar.
For the past six years Mrs Moon has been giving talks about the Shroud of Turin illustrated with video clips. She emphasised: "The purpose of this exhibition is to use the Shroud as a visual aid to tell the story of the Passion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Mrs Moon said: "I have been fascinated by the Turin Shroud since I was a teenager. When I received a gift of money for my 50th birthday from my mother I decided to use it to buy a full-length replica printed on cotton and two photographic negatives to add interest to my talks."
She explained: "The replica image was created by an American photographer, Barrie Schwortz, who was the official photographer at the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) examination of the Shroud in 1978. The full-length replica is currently one of only six in the world.
"I was deeply moved when I first saw the full-length images. It is possible to get an idea of the Shroud from television pictures, books, magazines and
newspapers articles, but seeing it in its entirety is profoundly challenging."
Pam Moon added: "I am thrilled that this exhibition is being shown in St Chad's Cathedral. It was a real privilege to meet Archbishop Nichols and Canon Pat Browne, the Cathedral Dean. I have been extremely impressed by the warmth of the welcome that I have received."
The exhibition also features a very modern retelling of the Stations of the Cross called "Jesus on the Cross Road" by artist Paul Hill, from Castle Vale in Birmingham, with meditations by Revd John Austen, a vicar in the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham.
Mrs Moon has produced a special booklet - "The Cross the Resurrection and the Shroud of Turin" to accompany the exhibition, price £3.99 (all proceeds to charity).
This correspondent edited a book of essays "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud", published in October 1978 to coincide with the public exposition of the Shroud in Turin Cathedral, to mark the 400th anniversary of its arrival in the city in 1578.
The Editor's Preface, written on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 6 August 1978, concluded: "The conglomeration and wealth of historical, scientific, medical and biblical evidence presented in this book all points to the authenticity of the Turin Shroud. However, despite the fact that the figure on the cloth has been scourged, executed and pierced in the manner described of Jesus of Nazareth in the four Gospels, there will never be any absolute proof that this is the Shroud in which his dead body was put when he was taken down from the Cross and laid in the tomb.
"The ultimate challenge of the Shroud is to one's personal convictions in the light of the many and varied sources of evidence. These six compellingly
cogent essays are offered as a stimulus to further study. But what is clear from any examination of the facts is that if this Shroud bears the marks of authenticity that these distinguished writers claim, then the marks of nail, spear, and crown of thorns, speak of a far greater cost of suffering in God's identification in Christ with a suffering world, for its rescue and redemption, than any words can tell."
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