The Turin Shroud is the most famous relic in the world. Millions believe that it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ bearing his crucified and bloodied image. The cloth is kept at Turin in Italy. The cloth is an enigma. Many say it is a miracle.

In the 1300's, a shroud bearing the image of Jesus front and back was venerated at Lirey as the true burial cloth of Jesus. De Charney was its owner and kept a strict silence on how he got the cloth except to say it was a gift which some interpret to mean it was a spoil of war. The silence is telling.
The bishop Henry of Poitiers was enraged with the shroud veneration.   The bishop's problem was that the evidence was that the image was a fake and the artist who created it had been interviewed.  He banned it completely and got a confession from an artist as to how it was faked.  His problem was how pilgrims were being duped.  De Charney and the priests were accused of setting up and running this fraud.  Interestingly there is no mention of how the rich De Charney could well afford to commission an artist to give us a good fake shroud.

His successor Bishop Pierre d'Arcis reaffirmed his opposition to the shroud and made it his own too.  D'Arcis wanted the pope to ban the veneration.  He hoped that this would deal with the disobedience he and the previous bishop had encountered.  He too saw the veneration as a scam with which to fool pilgrims and get their money.  D'Arcis prepared documentation for the pope, Clement VII of Avignon, in order to get the buffoonery stopped. The D'Arcis Memorandum is the name of this document. Clement banned anybody from declaring the image authentic but warned D'Arcis that he would pay the penalty of excommunication unless he stopped warring with the clergy at Lirey.

It is odd that some have a problem with D'Arcis not showing that an investigation had happened and telling the name of the artist!  I'd see that as evidence that he expected a papal commission to worry about that.


Believers slander the bishops.

They claim that we don't know what the pope received from them for the memorandum seems to be only a draft.

They claim that because it is a draft it only means the bishop was thinking about what to say and was not necessarily being definite.  That is speculation and plus the draft was fixed which means it ended up a true copy of what the pope got.

They go as far as to pretend that the document was not sent to the pope in case he would establish a papal investigation that might rule against the bishops in favour of the shroud.  That is insane never mind being pure fantasy.  They talk as if the bishop knew that somebody someday could use the draft against the shroud and that he had no intention of sending it to the pope!

They claim that the bishops were corrupt and their hate for the devotion was based on jealousy because they were not going to benefit from it and because they hated those responsible for the display of the cloth.  Why would D’Arcis condemn the veneration of the shroud just for spite or out of dishonesty when the image was unimpressive?  It is only because of the negative image that we think it is great but to the naked eye it looks like dirty toilet paper.

If the bishop had a problem with the circumstances of how the shroud was displayed he could have stopped this merely by highlighting how the poor were being fleeced.  There was no need to get into a controversy about authenticity UNLESS THE TRUE ORIGIN OF THE CLOTH WAS KNOWN and he is clear that the landowner "falsely and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which by a clever sleight of hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and the front, he falsely declaring and pretending that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which He bore".

Every single point here is pure speculation.  Surely Jesus Christ would not want the authenticity of his shroud to need people to blacken the bishops.

Even the fact that the pope did not ban the devotion but regulated it does nothing to prove the bishops wrong. Catholicism always regulates and accepts implausible shrines as long as there is no doctrinal or moral error involved. Plus it goes without saying that popes may allow or ban devotions but that does not mean the pope will object if a bishop sees things differently.

The believers would not be battling that much if it were say Jesus' alleged wisdom tooth that were enshrined not the shroud.  There is no definite proof that the image on the cloth at Lirey is our image today.  But the believers need it to be as it would be too odd if the shroud appears any later in history.

The Turin Shroud, reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, was carbon dated in 1988 to having been made between 1260 and 1390 AD. So its too young to be the burial cloth of Jesus. This has not stopped religious cranks from trying to prove the cloth is older than that. One method they use to prove this is from the existence of the Shroud in historical records before that time. The other is seeing if the way the Shroud was made matches what we know about how things were made in first century Palestine. But sadly for them, we can prove that they are just fantasists.

The carbon-dating matches the historical record, as provided by D'Arcis which reveals that the Church knew it was forged and banned its veneration when it first appeared around 1350 at the Church at Lirey where it was honoured as a sacred relic. The believers guess that the Church at the time was wrong. Sceptics say the Shroud was forged about that time.

Because the Church found the origin of the shroud to be fraudulent at that time, todays Shroudies desperately seek a way to refute this historical evidence as it supports the results of the carbon dating.

It is held by shroud believers that there is no concrete evidence that the Shroud existed before the mid-1350s when it was seemingly fully exposed and venerated in the Church at Lirey. But they assume there were indications that it may have done.  They are guessing. If it might have existed then that does not mean that it did! Their logic is telling.
And they essentially use weak evidence that the Shroud was around since the time of Christ while ignore good evidence that it could have been forged in the 1300's.
The main argument for the Shroud being a forgery from the 1350s stands and is stronger than many even realise. Also, the carbon dating says the Shroud linen was made between 1260 and 1390 AD. It might be that the linen comes from that time but the image was made later say if the Shroud had been a painting and the paint washed off an a new image put on it by primitive photography or some other technique in Leonardo’s time.
History showing that the image is fake should surpass any alleged evidence that the cloth is real.  Why?  Because even science can only look at the shroud NOW but we know nothing about what science would find if the cloth were put in a time machine and reverted back to what was at Lirey.

Nevertheless science agrees with history and that agreement is important too and more important than any pro-shroud evidence given by todays shroudies.  The carbon dating agreeing with D'Arcis would be miraculous if either or both were wrong.


“It was quite unlikely that the Holy Evangelists would have omitted to record an imprint on Christ’s burial linens, or that the fact should have remained hidden until the present time”.

This line overrides any drivel by Ian Wilson and his ilk that the shroud can be traced prior to the Lirey episode.  The bishop was in a position to know and it is clear that the owners of the Shroud then had no explanation for its sudden emergence.  And the evidence that the shroud did exist before then is inconclusive and depends too much on interpretation.  It is interpretation and speculation not evidence.
From the D'Arcis Memorandum
"The case, Holy Father, stands thus. Some time since in this diocese of Troyes the dean of a certain collegiate church, to wit, that of Lirey, falsely and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which by a clever sleight of hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and the front, he falsely declaring and pretending that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb, and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which he bore...And further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked, certain men being hired to represent themselves as healed at the moment of the exhibition of the shroud."
Of the previous bishop who investigated he wrote, "Eventually after diligent inquiry and examination, he discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who had painted it, to wit, that it was a work of human skill and not miraculously wrought or bestowed."

Bishops didn't see the shroud - unlikely speculation.

Its a draft so it was not final - desperate.

Memo may have been unreliable for may not have been sent to pope - speculation.

The memo is hearsay - despite the fact that it speaks as fact based and appeals to research?

The objection is that the cloth was not the Turin Shroud but a copy being passed off as it needs a mention.  If so, could this copy being bad show that the cloth they had was not great either and was not our Turin Shroud?  And why is there no mention of what it is copied from?

Safe to say that we are told to speculate about lies but there is no evidence of that.  It is a totally silly approach to take to the data.
In 1389, Clement VII, was informed by a letter from the new bishop, Bishop D’Arcis, who told him that the Shroud was a fake that Henry who investigated the cloth that found that it was a forgery as in a painting and the artist admitted creating it.
Some claim the letter was "apparently" never sent. But apparently does not mean much. What do they want? An affidavit from the post master? Clement VII in 1390 responded to the shroud controversy by decreeing that it must be viewed only as a likeness of Jesus and not the real thing. To me, his reaction is evidence that he got a letter or something from D'Arcis.
What supports the sceptical bishops is the fact that the cloth was in the possession of Geoffrey de Charney who would not display or publicise it. This is bizarre both from religious and financial point of views. Why hide the cloth of Christ and risk it being lost maybe forever unless it is a fake and you are afraid that people find out that somebody was murdered to create the cloth or the artist who made it might be discovered? Why not make money out of displaying it? The Shroud had to wait until he died before it could be unleashed on the world.

Pope Clement’s response was to let the exposition of the Shroud continue as long as the owners said the cloth was only an image of the Shroud (page 100, The Turin Shroud). He told D’Arcis to say nothing probably because he would not have liked this decision. There was no need for him to say anything because the pope had been convinced by his letter that the Lirey Shroud was a clever painting.

Clement wanted the cloth venerated not as a real relic of Jesus but as an icon.  The pope then agreed with the evidence that the cloth was not the real burial cloth of Jesus.  The bishops could have taken the same line but must have been very sure that the evidence was so good that the pope would just stop expositions of the winding sheet completely.  Had the bishops not been sure it was fake, saying its origin was uncertain was all they needed to do and to get the Lirey clergy to do.  That would get the fleeced pilgrims to eventually fall away.

Most people believe that the Shroud image was made about the time Geoffrey de Charney got the cloth and kept hidden in a chest because it seems to them that that is as far back as the cloth can be traced. After his death, his second wife had it put on display to make money (The Jesus Conspiracy, page 218). This took place in Lirey in 1355. We can’t prove that Geoffrey had the cloth for he would never ever have mentioned it. It is hard to believe that he would never have looked into the chest it was in. Either he knew the image was made in some immoral way and was afraid of being caught or his wife got somebody to forge the image. Perhaps she lied that her husband had it to make it seem older.

If he knew he had the image he would have desperately wanted the world to revere it and yet he left no deathbed testimony or letter in its favour. The man could not speak because it was forged and he knew it.


"In 1993, Hilda Leynen discovered that two distinct drafts of the D’Arcis Memorandum were maintained in the Champagne collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, one very rough and containing bracketed words, and the other a relatively neat and polished product."

There is no important difference between them.  The polished one is a copy of what was sent to the pope.  It was addressed to Maitre Guillaume
Fulconis who was a scribe and whose job was to make sure it was really ready for the bishop to sign.

The bishop had a panel of learned experts and theologians who agreed with him that the cloth was not real.  Canon Ulisse Chevalier called this a commission of investigation but believers in the shroud claim it was just a panel of advisors not a thorough commission.  But since when could a commission not be advisory?


Attempts have been made to argue that the cloth in this case was not the Turin Shroud but a copy of it. These are just speculation.  Believers should not want to think such a thing for it means at a time there should have been a true shroud venerated there in fact was not!

While we cannot be sure that the Turin Shroud is the same as the Lirey Shroud, we can be sure that if the Shroud of Turin were a miracle relic that God would have taken better care of the evidence for its authenticity. It just cannot be linked with certainty to the 1300's never mind to the century in which Jesus supposedly lived. If the Lirey episode is irrelevant to the Turin Shroud then there is no link with the Templars who are imagined to have been the guardians of the Shroud and the explanation for why interest in it appeared out of nowhere.  That link is critical to pro-authenticity.  Or do we wish to argue that the image at Lirey was rubbish but its front and back images were a new idea? Did that put the idea out there to make a more convincing one with a similar layout?


The expert and devout priest, Canon Ulisse Chevalier, popularised the evidence from the bishops that the image was a fake.  There are those who write “The abbot Chevalier was an erudite and pious ecclesiastic, a tireless researcher and a collector of documents, who rendered great service to science and history. Of his integrity and good faith there is absolutely no doubt.” And they are still anxious to implicate him with “misrepresentation and deception” as regards the shroud.


The bailiff went to see the cloth and his report is clear that it was a painting.  Or you might say it looked like one. 


Every miracle claim in the Middle Ages was guaranteed to attract deluded people who though they were miraculously cured and the fakes.  The reports were usually the only evidence necessary for the Church to sanction or at least permit the miracle claim. 

Here is what happened when the Shroud was venerated: "And further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked, certain men being hired to represent themselves as healed at the moment of the exhibition of the shroud."
The bishops could have stopped the fraudulent miracles and the conning without attacking the authenticity of the shroud. Surely if the shroud was real that was all the more reason to protect the veneration of the shroud against fraudsters?

Be sure that when the healings were roundly rejected as fake that was highly unusual in itself.  It can only be explained by the utter certainty that the shroud was fake.

The case against the D'Arcis Memorandum is based on lies and speculation. A man was found to have forged a Shroud for veneration at Lirey. The argument that the artist did not mean to forge is interesting but it is based on how the gospels do not really fit the kind of shroud image he produced.  They think no forger contradicts history but in Catholicism there could be several heads of John the Baptist and nobody cared.  He probably did intend to forge. The best view is that the Lirey cloth is the Turin Shroud of today.  It is the most straightforward one.  The most important thing perhaps is not that the artist was found but the assertion from the bishops that there was no hint that the cloth was any older than when it first appeared.  That overrides any rubbish from Ian Wilson and co that the cloth did exist before its appearance at Lirey.  They were not there.  The peer review paper Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin in Nature in 1989 has no doubts: “The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is medieval [not Biblical]”.

After the debacle at Lirey, nobody seemed to care about the cloth any more.  It took Vercelli for it to come out of the closet.