The Sudarium of Oviedo - The head cloth of Jesus?

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The Sudarium of Oviedo - The head cloth of Jesus?

Debate rages about the authenticy of the Shroud of Turin. But what about the cloth that covered Jesus's head, the "Sudarium of Oviedo"?

Suprisingly there is quite strong proof for its authenticity.

In the city of Oviedo, in northern Spain, in a small chapel attached to the city’s cathedral, there is a small bloodstained dishcloth size piece of linen that some believe is one of the burial cloths mentioned in John’s Gospel.

The Sudarium presents a better provenance and history than the Shroud and may be the sole surviving relic of the crucifixion that has made it to modern times.

Measuring 34" by 21", the Sudarium is a bloodstained cloth purported to have covered the head of Jesus of Nazareth after his burial. The cloth is mentioned to have been in the tomb in John 20:6-7 described as a cloth seperate from the shroud.

It isn't mentioned again until 570 A.D. when it was being kept by monks in a cave near Jerusalem. In 614, just before the Sasanian King of Persia Khusru II conquered Jerusalem, the cloth was taken to Alexandria, and within just a few years made its way to Spain through North Africa. Its been there ever since.

Unlike most relics, which tend to be medieval forgeries, the Sudarium is much different in both its clear provenance and history, and the fact that it really isn't all that impressive to look at. It has no miraculous images, its not a spear or a nail, or a crown of thorns. Its a blood stained cloth that covered the head of someone who died a very brutal death.

An investigation by Dr. Jose Villalain showed that the victim died in an upright position, and the stains are comprised mostly of fluid from the lungs, along with blood. This illustrates death by asphyxiation while bleeding, consistent with crucifixion, which tends to suffocate the victim rather than cause death from blood loss.

The stains are superimposed on top of one another, suggesting that some of the stains were at least partly dried when the body was moved again causing new fluid to deposit. The folds of the Sudarium suggest that the cloth was put in place while the body was in an upright position, perhaps still on the cross.

There are smaller bloodstains present that may suggest a crown of thorns. Pollen samples taken from the cloth by Dr. Max Frei are consistent with Jerusalem, North Africa and Spain.

It has also been argued that there are clear correlations between the stains on the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin, and the two seem to be made from very similar cloth.

While the debate rages on about the authenticity of the Shroud, the Sudarium's clear history has protected it from the same level of controversy. Radiocarbon dating done by Baima Bollone showed the Sudarium to date from the 6th century, but Bollone stated that the dating is probably unreliable.

We know that the person who wore the Sudarium died a violent death consistent with crucifixion. We know it dates from at least the 6th century, probably before. And we know that the cloth was in Jerusalem.

In 1999, Mark Guscin, a member of the multidisciplinary Investigation Team of the Centro Español de Sindonología, issued a detailed forensic and historical report entitled, "Recent Historical Investigations on the Sudarium of Oviedo."

Guscin's report detailed recent findings of the history, forensic pathology, blood chemistry, and stain patterns on the Sudarium.

His conclusion: the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin had been used to cover the same injured head at closely different times. Here are some highlights from Guscin's report:
... Quote:

It seems to be a funeral cloth that was probably placed over the head of the corpse of an adult male of normal constitution.

The man whose face the Sudarium covered had a beard, moustache and long hair, tied up at the nape of his neck into a ponytail.

The man was dead. The mechanism that formed the stains is incompatible with any kind of breathing movement.

The man was wounded before death with something that made his scalp bleed and produced wounds on his neck, shoulders and upper part of the back.

The man suffered a pulmonary edema as a consequence of the terminal process. The main stains are one part blood and six parts fluid from the pulmonary fluid.

The only position compatible with the formation of the stains on the Oviedo cloth is both arms outstretched above the head and the feet in such a position as to make breathing very difficult, i.e. a position totally compatible with crucifixion.

We can say that the man was wounded first (blood on the head, shoulders and back) and then 'crucified.'

On reaching the destination, the body was placed face up and for unknown reasons, the cloth was taken off the head.

The Sudarium contains pollen grains of Gundelia tournefortii, identical to that found of the Shroud that grows only east of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as Lebanon and as far south as Jerusalem.

The blood (stain symmetry, type and other indicators) on the Sudarium matches the blood on the Shroud.

In summary, Guscin wrote:
... Quote:

There are many points of coincidence between all these points and the Shroud of Turin - the blood group, the way the corpse was tortured and died, and the macroscopic overlay of the stains on each cloth.

This is especially notable in that the blood on the Sudarium, shed in life as opposed to postmortem, corresponds exactly in blood group, blood type and surface area to those stains on the Shroud on the nape of the neck.

It is clear that the two cloths must have covered the same corpse, and this conclusion is inevitable from all the studies carried out up to date.

The one question that remains is who's head did it cover. In the world of relics, most are highly questionable. Some are outright ridiculous, such as The Most Holy Umbilical Cord. But this one simple piece of cloth may be as close as we will ever get to a true relic of the passion.



sudariumrev.jpg - 43.33kb
By netchicken: posted on 8-8-2007

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