What happened to make Geoffroy de Charny’s humble chapel the first undisputed mid-14th century home of the Turin Shroud? A second ransom demand?

Crusaders, Templars, knights and knaves have been stalked by sleuths intent on identifying the man who carried the Holy Shroud away from Constantinople in 1204 and—presumably but not necessarily—took it to France.

That is how the late Dorothy Crispino (1916 -2013) began her article in the very first issue of her “Shroud Spectrum International”, way back in 1981 (but still extraordinarily relevant and useful to us “Johnny-come-lately”  Shroud researchers).

See the posting immediately preceding this one for the shroud.com -hosted archiving of all issues of that highly respected but long-disappeared journal, albeit with its uncompromising pro-authenticity slant.  There you will find the links to the scanned articles, archived in pdf, and much else besides.

What follows in bold blue format are my annotations to the above article.

Yes, the reader is left in absolutely no doubt as to the Editor’s/author’s pro-authencity stance. But let’s see if everything fits. Might there be awkward little details that don’t (one of which, by no means the most important, was  alluded to in the title).

Link to the long-lived Dorothy Crispino (RIP)

Back now to  Dorothy Crispino, hereafter referred to as DC. 

Some investigators have even alleged that the deed was done by Geoffroy de Charny, forgetting that he was not born until the next century. But no crusader,Templar, knight or knave left fingerprints on Exhibit A; so in default of evidence the case, for the moment, hangs suspended. We can confidently eliminate those who took part in the Fourth Crusade: the Shroud is still listed in Constantinople’s inventory of treasures as late as 1247.

That should have been  “a shroud” in Constantinople, not “the Shroud”, if referring to what is presently called “the Turin Shroud”, and what I shall be calling “the Lirey shroud” for simplicity.

Why? Because there is no record in the artistic or written  historical record pre-mid 14th century Lirey of the iconic “two-fold” image , i.e. frontal and dorsal images aligned head-to-head, so could, and almost certainly was, an entirely  different artefact. 

See this posting on the shroudstory site:

Here’s the link:

In his monumental opus “Ricerche Storiche sulla Santa Sindone” (1) Mons. Pietro Savio examines documents which almost certainly point to that crucially important moment in which Geoffroy de Charny receives the Holy Shroud. Other sindonologists —notably Luigi Fossati, S.D.B. ( 2) —have added evidence from the same period, and the search goes on.

Some might consider those words fanciful, self-indulgent even. However, it is not my purpose to take issue with DC’s stance, especially as she is no longer around to defend herself. On the contrary her essay is a valuable summary to  historians, whether professional, semi-professional or amateur, especially to someone like myself who sees his role more as the modern day sleuth, i.e. private detective alluded to in DC’s opening sentence.

Andre Perret (3) remarks that the military career of Geoffroy carried him to too many places for us to determine, in the present state of our knowledge, where the relic came into his possession.

Again, the assumption is that the Lirey shroud had a pre-Lirey history – some 1350 years of it, none of which has a ‘positive sighting’ as regards the two-fold image.  How likely is that?
From 1337, when he first distinguished himself in a battle in Guyenne, until his death at Poitiers in 1356, Geoffroy was constantly crisscrossing France from Flanders to Vannes on the Atlantic, from Picardy and Normandy to Anjou. Twice he was outside France: in 1345 he joined the Dauphin Humbert II on the Smyrna crusade and some authors have suggested that it was there the Shroud came into his hands. Undoubtedly he sailed; only first-hand experience could have dictated his descriptions, in his long poem, of the perils of the sea. But the problem of his participation in the Smyrna campaign has not yet been fully investigated; and since the documents we are about to consider in this essay pertain to a later period, the Smyrna question is chronologically not relevant.
The gallant soldier decidedly did not volunteer for his second departure from France. In 1350, villainously betrayed and after a furious battle at Calais, he was taken to London as Edward III’s prisoner-of-war.

Reading this, one could be forgiven for thinking that the trap laid for de Charny at Calais by the English king was the first occasion on which de Charny had been captured and held to ransom. Not according to wikipedia it wasn’t. There’s a confusing passage in the de Charny entry that suggests he had been captured  twice (probably just once in Brittany at the Battle of Morlaix or at any rate the same year, same part of France).

Link to the wikipedia article on Geoffroi de Charny (died 1356).

Link to the Battle of Morlaix, with several references to Geoffroy de Charny having been captured.

Reading snippets from the extensive writings of de Charny, detailing his meticulous attention to the theory and practice of his knightly code, one gets the impression that he placed little value on his own life and survival, taking it for granted that this earthly existence was just a preparation, nay test, for the next. But given his having been held to ransom not just once but twice (possibly more) there was a lurking anxiety: how does one deal with that eventuality? Does the ransomed knight owe a debt of hard cash to the individual who pays the ransom, recognizing that de Charny or his first and second wife apparently had only limited resources of their own. Who was the benefactor on each of those two occasions? In fact, we’re told it was the monarch no less who stumped up (King Philip VI at the time of Morlaix, his son and heir John II at the later Calais fiasco). Is there an ethical or moral obligation to repay (given the risks taken in participating in the King’s campaigns, whether  defensive or offensive)? That is a key question that needs to be addressed: did de Charny feel ‘guilty’ about having imposed a burden on royal finances? Let’s no be in any doubt as to the sums of money involved:

Not until 20 December 1350 did the English king give safe-conduct to a servant and two valets of Geoffroy to go to France to raise money (page 29) for his release. In the meantime, Philip VI had died (1350) and on 31 July 1351 his son and successor, John II, paid the enormous ransom—a resounding 12,000 gold scudis.

I shall take DC’s word that 12,000 gold scudis is a lot of money, especially being solid gold coinage.

Geoffroy, however, had been allowed to return to France beforehand, for on 28 June 1351, John II appointed him Bearer of the sacred Oriflamme of St. Denis.

One’s tempted to insert a  mischievous word or two about that role.  It was an honour, and highly dangerous. But it virtually ensured that de Charny could not be captured and ransomed again – death being the more likely outcome, as indeed proved to be the case when he was bearer of the Oriflamme at the Battle of Poitiers (1356). Ironically, it was the King himself (John II) who was captured and ransomed, Geoffroy and and dozens of fellow knights having died trying to protect him!

In that same month, Geoffroy renewed his efforts to take Calais, attacking at Ardres.
In October of 1351, there were other combats in the Calais area. On 6 January 1352, at the
ceremony inaugurating King John’s new Order, Geoffroy was one of the first to be created
Knight of the Star.

There’s a wikipedia entry devoted to the Order of the Star (L’Ordre d’Etoile in French).

Here’s the link:

What is overlooked in most of the sindonology literature is that de Charny is credited with having been the inspiration for that chivalrous order, testifying to the fact that he was not an otherwise obscure landowner in a remote part of France, centred on a tiny hamlet called Lirey, but one of the top men at the court of the highly religious King John II (“The Good”). If the Shroud of Lirey was not an acquired spoil of war (battle location unspecified) then why would it have emerged when it did a few years at most – or so it would seem- prior to Geoffroy’s death at Poitiers?

Then, in February, he went to St. Omer as captain-general of the army, invested with all the authority of the king himself. At this time, he was counsellor to John II, as he had been to Philip VI from 1348 until Philip’s death. The seigneur of three modest domains
had risen to be one of the foremost figures in France.

Yes, he was a one of the King’s closest consorts, probably THE closest. King John had fought alongside Geoffroy in several campaigns before ascending to the throne, and was clearly attracted to de Charny’s combination of fighting spirit and knightly ideals. (So too was Dorothy Crispino, it seems, Geoffroy de Charny being her favourite topic, the subject of numerous essays post 1981).

Fighting the English again in June and September of 1352; in 1353, Picardy; 1354, Normandy; and after the battle of Breteuil in July of 1356, John II rewarded him with two houses in Paris.
He had precious little time to enjoy them; on 19 September 1356, at the disaster of Poitiers, Geoffroy de Charny was killed, holding aloft the Oriflamme until he fell. Charles V gave him a hero’s funeral at the church of the Celestins in Paris.

So what were the implications for the chaplains of Geoffroy’s church, and his widow (needless to say)? Chaplains? Plural?  Yes, plural. Be prepared for a surprise. Sorry to fasten onto this small housekeeping detail. DC had more important things on her mind, namely the supposed pre-Lirey antecedents of the Lirey shroud.
That the preux chevalier did receive the Shroud in connection with a battle seems implied in the statement of his granddaughter, Marguerite de Charny, who claimed that the Shroud was “conquered” by the late messire de Charny.(4). A slightly different account was recorded in a Bull of Clement VII (1390) in which Geoffroy II attests that the Shroud was given to his father sibi liberaliter oblatam; freely or generously presented to him.
The statements given by Geoffroy II (1389 & 1390) and by his daughter Marguerite (1443) are not necessarily incompatible. They might both be correct, each one but a glimpse of the whole story. They do agree in this: that the Shroud was personal property, legitimately acquired, and legitimately held by Geoffroy’s heirs. Neither Geoffroy II nor Marguerite makes any mention of the place, the donor, the circumstances; these are still totally unknown. But Geoffroy himself, according to Mons. Savio’s demonstration, may have circumscribed the time-frame in which the transfer took place.

Final words: “…the transfer took place.” In a nutsehll, one sees the difference between sindonology and objective historical analysis. No matter: that does not prevent any particular sindonological discourse, this one included,  from highlighting important established facts that ARE backed with historical documentation. One simply has to sort factual wheat from fanciful chaff.

Geoffroy de Charny was the second son and third child of Jean de Charny and great-grandson of Ponce de Mont-Saint-Jean, who founded the Charny branch in the XIIIth century. Geoffroy’s elder brother Dreux became sire of Charny. Geoffroy inherited the property which had been his mother’s dowry, consisting of the lands and tiny hamlet of Lirey, (5)  nearly a hundred miles away.
Tucked in a joyous dip of undulating Champagne in the diocese of Troyes, parish of St. Jean Bonneval, the Lirey fief provided very little (page 30) revenue. At the end of the XIIIth century, there were fifty hearths; today the total population is less than sixty souls. To take up residence there, Geoffroy had to build himself a castle; of which nothing now remains but the stump of a tower buried in brambles and weeds.
And the village had no church.

This is where it starts to get interesting, with the first reference to that “church”, or as it is frequently described elsewhere as a “chapel” of modest construction (“timber”).

In what follows, it becomes clear there was no outright lump sum of money provided to de Charny by his King for building a the church. Leaving aside for a moment why the King should have financed a knight’s chapel for the latter’s own and family use in a remote and tiny hamlet (the King presumably did not pay for that castle too) it’s important to recognize that the means of finance was via slow-motion “accrual” of a tax-free rental income that would take several years to pay for constructing the church. In other words, there was no pressing urgency for the church to be built, seen either from Geoffroy’s perspective or that of his King. Financial and fiscal prudence were the watchwords from the very beginning. So how long did Geoffroy have to  squirrel away his annual incomes before actual construction began? What was being budgeted for? Just a church?

Nope. Not just a church. Oh no…

Early in 1343, Geoffroy appealed to King Philip VI for revenues, land or other, which would accrue to 140 livres annually; as it was his desire to found a chapel with five chaplains, so that he and his family might hear Mass and benefit from the good works of the clergy. In an Act of June 1343, Philip donates to his amé et féal Geoffroy de Charny chevalier 140 livres of land, tax exempt, for financing the project.

Five chaplains? Full time appointments? All for one private chapel for use by a knight and his family, living in a remote hamlet with just 50 homes? What is meant by “benefit from the good works of the clergy”? Might there be more here that meets the eye, given those 5 appointments were part of a long term plan, one with a lengthy gestation period it seems of some 6 years at least. What was the real role for those chaplains. There’s at least one other pro-authenticity site that assumes almost casually that the knight was either in possession of the Shroud (THE Shroud) or knew he would be in due course, and so planned the church well in advance as an exhibition centre. Might de Charny have had other reasons to create a longterm plan for a church, backed by his King, with no immediate lump sum investment, one that would need a generous provision of 5 chaplains no less?
These documents, dated seven years before Geoffroy’s captivity, refute the romantic legend that the “perfect knight” was miraculously freed from prison after making a vow to the Virgin to build a church in her honor.

Another romantic notion bites the dust, and this time we have a pro-authenticity writer to thank for separating fact from fancy.
A document in the Lirey archives, dated 3 January 1349, confirms Philip’s donation. Geoffroy himself contributed his inheritance from an aunt (undated).

So the investment was sizeable, needing 6 years accrued rent from the King’s land as well as Geoffroy’s windfall inheritance.

Three months later, in a petition to Clement VI dated 16 April 1349 (6) Geoffroy announced to the Pope that he has constructed a chapel dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary of the Annunciation and therein established five canons, each to receive a stipend of 30 livres. He requests that the church be raised to a collegiate.

So what price the idea that the canons of Geoffroy’s own church, built with funds provided partly by his King, would have been the owners of one of its assets – the Lirey Shroud – instead of his widow Jeanne de Vergy, post Geoffroy’s death in 1356?

There is no indication here that Geoffroy’s 5 clerical appointees had provided any funding, so they would have had no proprietal rights to the church and its assets. Indeed, their stipends came from Geoffroy, not the established Church. They were hired help, and their stipends would have been a continuing drain on Geoffroy’s finances. He presumably made provision for that in his initial planning. How?  It seems fairly obvious that Geoffroy’s private church, once built and generously staffed, then had to ‘pay its own way’ and indeed might be expected to generate an income that might then exceed outgoings, becoming what in modern day terms one might call a “cash cow”.  Might Geoffroy would have had pressing reasons to make provision for a rainy day – like being captured and held to ransom, or simply being killed, leaving his wife destitute or reliant on her own resource.

In the petition dated 26 April 1349, (6) he requests an indulgence of 100 days for all who, in devotion and penitence, visit the church on the feasts of the Virgin; that the church have its own cemetery beside it for the canons, chaplains and whosoever desires.

Yes, here we see the first indication that the chapel was not just intended for private family use, that it was conceived from the start as a shrine, a place of pilgrimage, one that would grant indulgences, which we all know had to be paid for by the recipient.

Geoffroy planned his church as a paying proposition, understandably so, not being a rich man, one needing a long-term line of credit from his sovereign.

As for the disposition of his own remains, he desires that, after the dissolution of his body, his bones be divided and buried in diverse places.
Item eidem supplicanti concedere dignemini, ut post dissolutionem corporis sui, quod idem corpus possit dividi et diversis locis sepeliri, prout duxerit ordinandem, et alias ut in forma.

How odd one might think that having founded his own church, he should not have designed it to serve as a final under-cover all-weather repository for his own and family’s mortal remains, i.e. to install a purpose-built crypt. But he later changes his mind (prompting DC’s somewhat bewildered choice of title for which no explanation is proffered).
All these requests were granted; but Item 1, concerning the collegiate status, was not
accomplished because Geoffroy left again for Calais where, in the night between 31 December 1349 and 1 January 1350, he was taken prisoner.

So,  6 years after Geoffroy’s first capture and ransom in Brittany, with that lengthy gestation period for a future church, staffed  with 5 chaplains no less, Geoffroy’s church is finally built, offering indulgences at a price to all and sundry. But he is then captured and held to ransom a SECOND time. Who pays the ransom demand this time?
There is some perplexity about Geoffroy’s statement of 16 April 1349 that a church had been built:
Significat Sanctitati vestre devotus filius vester Joffridus de Charny miles dominus de Lirey Trecensis diocesis, quod ipse in villa de Lirey infra limites parrocchie Sancti Johannis de Bonnevauls eiusdem diocesis de bonis sibi a Deo collatis quandam ecclesiam in honore beate Virginis Marie et precipue Annunciationis Jhesu Christi fecit construi…

Here we have DC preparing us for another anomaly. The records in written Latin would have us believe the church was finally constructed in 1349. So what happened to cast doubt on that having been the case?
It is inconceivable that Geoffroy would have announced to the Pope (in 1349) that he had built a church if he had in fact not done so. Yet, (page 31) according to the extant Act of Foundation, construction was begun on 20 February 1353 and completed on 20 June 1353. Remarkably short time to build a church. (7)

The bolding of those dates is mine. They are crucially important. Why that 4 year discrepancy between the dates when the church was actually built-  1349 or 1353? And why the apparent rush job if the later of those two years? One has to go to the very end of her essay for an answer, though I for one had arrived independently at the same conclusion as she did, namely that a Mark 1 church was built in 1349, but then rapidly re-modelled  to Mark 2 some 4 years later in a mere 3 or 4 months in 1353, for reasons that remain a matter of speculation and/or confusion. Here’s what DC says lower down, repeat:

” the Act of Foundation refers to an enlargement or embellishment of a church already existing since 1349″

That final comment of DC’s, arguably the real point of the article (not obvious in the title) was deployed to  confer a strong pro-authenticity signing-off to her positioning essay, wearing her Editor’s hat. She omits to proffer alternative explanations for the discrepancy. Nor does she attempt to link the dating discrepancy with Geoffroy’s  ‘cemetery’ change of mind in the title. Might there be a ‘non-authenticty’ explanation? Might it be linked to Geoffroy having been captured and held to ransom immediately after the 1349 first build, with the need for a later addition or modification (not construction) in 1353? Did he incur a second debt, or perceived debt, if as we are told his new King, John II, had paid to have him released from what we’re told elsewhere was a long captivity (some 18 months) in London following the Calais debacle? Did his Lirey church need to be made a bigger and better money-spinner than was originally planned, generating income greatly in excess of that from sale of indulgences alone?
And further surprises follow: on 30 January 1354, addressing himself to Innocent VI, who had succeeded Clement, Geoffroy renews his request to raise the church to a collegiate. This time, he asks that an indulgence of 1 year 40 days be granted to those who visit the church on the four principal feasts of the Virgin. Geoffroy requests that ius patronatus be accorded to him and his successors.

Yes, here we see an attempt to make the church even more attractive as a shrine to fee-paying pilgrims, by raising indulgences from the initial  100 days to more than 400! (To the uninitiated re indulgences, that’s  papally pre-approved time off purgatory for good behaviour, the mercenary face of the Roman  church that so so enraged the likes of Martin Luther, giving rise to the Protestant schism).

Raising the church to “collegiate status”? That presumably means that the 5 chaplains were being given semi-autonomous status, free from every whim or dictate of the initial patron(s). But it doesn’t necessarily mean the clerics acquired ownership of the site and its building and contents, and it’s my understanding that “collegiate” implied continued independence from the Roman church’s local hierarchy, notably the Bishop of Troyes. That would explain why Bishop Henri de Poitiers later fired off his letter of protest to the Pope when claims were made for the authenticity of the Lirey shroud. He had no power or authority to intervene directly.

Why would Geoffroy have conceded some control to the hired help? Was his arm twisted in some way, responding maybe to legitimate complaints re job security – or lack thereof, with no guarantee of emplyment post Geoffroy’s demise, probably imminent given his lust for hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield? Or was there a deal: the clerics would become a real church, in return for something else? Like installing a new, possibly novel pilgrim-attracting feature, over and above the granting of indulgences? Can you guess what is coming, dear reader?

He repeats his petition for a cemetery, but with an arresting modification: he begs permission for himself and his successors to be buried in the cemetery beside the church. (8)

Geoffroy has changed his mind.

Item quod eisdem …decano et capitulo concedere dignemini, ut cymiterium iuxta ipsam
eccleseam habere valeant consecratum et in quod in eodem cimiterio ipsum dominum et
successores suos dominos de Lireyo … sepeliri possint.

Thus the title of Crispino’s essay, written for the very first edition of the magazine she created. She was clearly intrigued by her hero’s change of mind. Did she manage to explain this rare display of inconsistency on Geoffroy’s part? Did she maybe see it as a flaw in an otherwise impeccable character? Or was there a more mundane explanation for Geoffroy’s sudden insistence on being buried in a specified location, one just outside his private chapel, not inside note, say in a crypt,  i.e. excavated out-of-sight subterranean chamber. Might such a crypt, if present initially, or installed later, have been earmarked for an alternative purpose, known to Geoffroy, such that he was keen to forestall any attempt for his mortal remains to be interred in that putative crypt?
This petition is followed on 3 August of the same year by another which repeats Geoffroy’s
request to be buried in the cemetery beside the church, and asks the indulgence of 1 year 40 days for all who visit on Christmas, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost.

Again, why so keen to be buried on home ground, instead of his bones being distributed far and wide, but under turf, next to his own church, but not inside, in a dry purpose-built crypt?

Furthermore, according to the Act of Foundation, the church is erected in honor of the Holy Trinity, dedicated to the Virgin of the Annunciation. It has six canons, one of whom is to be elected dean, and three clerics.

We now have 6 canons, not 5. Who can doubt that the ‘private church’ had now become a commercial venture, and indeed was conceived as such long before the dream was actually realized. Was the prime asset (now called the Turin Shroud) really there at the start, looking for a permanaent home, or the prospect thereof? That hardly seems likely, given the snail-like means of accruing the initial capital investment. Why not go for broke initially (with the King’s wholehearted backing via a single lump sum investment if the Lirey Shroud really had been authentic, or considered as such)?

Every day at Matins there was to be a Low Mass of the Virgin and, at 9 o’clock, a High Mass to invoke God’s protection on the founder. And the Chapter’s income was increased, as we learn from an Act dated 1 October 1353, in which John II concedes another 62 livres of revenue. (9)

There we have it again – a drip feed of royal funding, equivalent to the annual pay of  two lowly canons and no more.
Thus, the rural chapel dedicated to the Virgin—typical of countless thousands which dotted medieval Europe—appears to have grown to major dimensions. In fact, Geoffroy’s foundation in a country village of fifty hearths became a center of pilgrimage for people “from all over the world,” (10) where indulgences were to be gained—not only on the feasts of the Virgin, but also on those holy days commemorating the great events of Redemption.

Yes, but the growth was in two distinct phases. The first phase with the 6 year gestation period was for a pilgrimage shrine that depended primarily it would seem from sale of indulgences, realized physically in 1349 with the construction of the church and the appointment of 5 chaplains. But there was a second phase, conducted at breakneck speed in 1353, four years later, one that came shortly after Geoffroy’s release from captivity in London and the payment by King John of an eye-watering ransom. None of that gels with the idea of a pre-existing Shroud and a long-term plan. It speaks of a sudden change of status, consistent with the idea of the Lirey Shroud appearing during, or shortly before, those curious and otherwise unexplained 3 months in 1353 when the church was NOT built, as per one conflicting document, but in fact re-modelled.

Is this the interval in which Geoffroy obtained the Shroud? Comparing the two petitions:

1) 100 days indulgence on feasts of the Virgin
2) Geoffroy wants his bones to be distributed and buried in diverse places.
3) A church is built
4) Five canons established there
5) Stipends of 30 lvrs.
(Page 32)
1) 1 year 40 days indulgence on feasts of Virgin, and 1 year 40 days indulgence on feasts of
2) Geoffroy and his heirs to be buried in the cemetery beside the church
3) Act of Foundation
4) There are six chaplains, three clerics
5) Their income is increased by 60 lvrs.

DC was clearly struck by the differences between the two years, while (in her title at any rate) focusing on what is arguably not the crucial issue re burial preferences, neglecting to ask the more important question: how was the church modified in 1353, and WHY?
Several documents leave no doubt that the Shroud was publicly exposed for veneration in the Lirey church before Geoffroy died. The above-mentioned Bull of Clement VII dated 6 January 1390 (almost identical to another from that pontiff in 1389) records that Geoffroy de Charny placed the Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the church of Lirey.

Some accounts would have us believe there was no display of the Lirey shroud till after Geoffroy’s death in 1356, and indeed that his church was intended purely for family use, and/or that it wasn’t his church anyway, or at any rate the Lirey Shroud belonged to the clerics and not Geoffroy or his widow (despite their different coats of arms BOTH being on the Lirey Pilgrm’s badge and the more recently discovered Machy mould for a second).

None of the above makes sense given that Geoffroy foresaw the need for 5 chaplains when his church just a dream. Sorry to repeat myself, but his church was conceived as an indulgence-granting shrine from the word go, independent of a star attraction like the Lirey shroud, for which there is no documentary evidence until AFTER the church had been built and later re-modelled, probably to house a lately-acquired acquisition. Indeed, if the later addition was a crypt that was used as an out-of-public gaze  workshop in which to manufacture a one-off representation of what a 1350 year old shroud might look like (or rather Joseph of Arimathea’s linen in the synoptic Gospel accounts – which was not necessarily intended or used as a final burial shroud) then we have a ready explanation for why Geoffroy was insistent on being buried in the cemetery. He did not want undertakers seeing what was beneath the floorboards INSIDE the church!

A document of 6 February 1464 states that Geoffroy de Charny placed in the church, along with other relics, “the Holy Shroud bearing the effigy of Our Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ.”

That was written over a century after the first display of the Lirey Shroud, long after the initial controversy over authenticity. The language is now uncompromisingly pro-authenticity, but is hardly relevant to what was happening in Lirey before the first recorded display.  The writer has moved from scholarship to advocacy, and it shows …

And two mute survivors from Geoffroy’s own time signify the same;

1, Henry of Poitiers, Bishop of Troyes, on 28 May 1356, sent Geoffroy a letter of praise and

Yes, it’s not generally appreciated in sindonology that the Bishop’s first response to the Lirey display was positive. See the thought-provoking BSTS essays from Ian Wilson that attempt to link his change of heart from approval to outright condemnation to the appearance of a second Pilgrim’s badge, with marked differences with the first. That’s an interesting perspective that will be returned to in a future posting. Maybe it was Geoffroy’s widow who beefed up the marketing strategy of the Lirey shroud, making it uncompromisingly pro-authenticity as distinct from a “visual aid”, or as Hugh Farey prefers to call it,  a “liturgical illustration” in conjunction with his  3D wooden statue (see posting preceding this one for a brief response to that most insightful suggestion). Did Jeanne de Vergy remove Hugh’s proposed statue, leaving just the Shroud, and commissioning a new Pilgrim’s badge, arousing the wrath of Henry of Poitiers at seeing an icon changed by sleight of hand to a holy relic?

See also the banner on this blogsite – with a plastic toy as proxy for wooden statue!
In 1855—the year Secondo Pia was born—a souvenir medallion representing the Shroud and the arms of Charny and Vergy (Geoffroy’s wife) was found in the Seine at the Pont-au-Change.

Yes, the Lirey badge with its TWO coats of arms has to be seen as the best evidence that the Lirey Shroud was displayed in Geoffroy’s lifetime, prior to his death in 1356. What a pity there was no date stamp shown on the medal, leaving a scintilla of doubt.
The relic could not have been publicly exposed without papal permission. Geoffroy would had to have sent a report and a petition to the Pope. This document has not yet been found; but as Prof. Francesco Cognasso observed in his address to the Turin Congress of Shroud Studies in 1939, (11) the “documents pertaining to the installation of the Shroud in St. Mary of the Annunciation certainly exist.”

Really? Which documents? Those both pro- and anti-authenticity need to know what those documents said, assuming they really exist.
At this Congress, Prof. Cognasso expressed his opinion that there were two possible periods in which the Shroud was placed in the church: either in 1349, or between 1351 and 1356, year of Geoffroy’s death. At the 1950 Congress in Rome, Mons. Joseph Roserat de Melin, vicar-general, diocese of Troyes, was more definite: “Between 20 June 1353 and 19 September 1356, the collegiate church of Lirey receives a Shroud which is presented to the faithful as that which covered the Body of Our Lord …”

Shame. We’re ending this otherwise illuminating  account of the Shoud’s Lirey sojourn not with a bang, but with a whimper, since none of what we read above, taken at face value,  could be said to constitute hard documentary evidence.

It seems reasonably certain that the evidence so far accumulated applies to the time-frame in which the Shroud was placed in the Lirey church.

Does one detect a hint of DC  regarding the WRITTEN evidence for the display of the Lirey Shroud before Geoffroy’s demise – as distinct from the physical evidence of the badge(s) – as less than impressive.

Knowing Geoffroy’s religious character, (12) we can be morally certain that he would have provided a “decent and venerable”(13) setting for it as soon as possible after it came into his hands. It would seem to me that he obtained the Shroud surely after 1349, and not long before February 1353; that the Act of Foundation refers to an enlargement or embellishment of a church already existing since 1349; and that Geoffroy was exposing the relic prior to the congratulatory letter from Henry of Poitiers.

 Dorothy Crispino’s final conclusion is that the church was modified between February and June 1353 (see earlier) to house and display a Shroud that arrived pre-February 1353. I would suggest that the Shroud may have “arrived” between February and June 1353, during the period that an underground crypt had been quickly excavated, wherein the Lirey Shroud was manufactured in this make-shift laboratory by one of more of the 5 or 6 clerics, well out-of-sight.
(Page 33)
(Photograph of Lirey Medallion, aka Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, aka Cluny Museum Medal dredged up from  the Seine in 1855.)
(Page 34)
1. MONS. PIETRO SAVIO: “Ricerche Storiche sulla Santa Sindone,” Societa Editrice Internazionale,
Italy, 1957.
2. LUIGI FOSSATI, S.D.B.: “La Santa Sindone; Nuove Luce su Antichi Documenti,” Borla, Turin,
3. ANDRE PERRET: “Essai sur l’histoire du Saint Suaire du XIVe au XVIe siècle.” in Mémoirs de
l’Academie des Sciences Belles-Lettres et Arts de Savoie, 1960.
4. Fossati’s amputated quotation, “Conquis par feu” gives the impression that the Shroud had been taken
in the fire of battle. The complete phrase, given by Perret, reads that the Shroud “Fut conquis par feu
messire Geoffroy de Charny;” ‘feu’ in French have the two meaning of ‘fire’ and late, lately deceased.’
5. Charny is located in the Cote-d’Or; Lirey is in the Aube.
6. Savio explains that Vatican recorders affixed the date of the Pope’s Fiat to the documents they copied,
without mentioning the date of the petition which preceded.
7. Is it possible that the 1353 records refer to an addition or enlargement of a building of 1349?
Whatever happened, the church, erected inside the castle moat, was built of wood—a fact which
would have serious repercussions a century later. The chapel which stands today is the third erected
on the same site. Built in 1897 of stone and brick, it serves only for weddings and baptisms.
Otherwise parishioners go 1¼ miles to St. Jean Bonneval, as they did before Geoffroy built St. Mary
in the 14th century.
8. Savio adds, “ai piedi della Sindone,” at the feet of the Shroud.
9. This information was found by Fossati in the Archives of the Department of the Aube. Savio, relying
on Père Anselme, gives the date as July 1356, and the amount as 60 livres.
10. Memo of Pierre d’Arcis, Bishop of Troyes; undated but shortly after 6 January 1390.
11. LA SANTA SINDONE NELLE RICERCHE MODERNE; Atti dei Convegni di Studio: Torino 1939;
Roma e Torino, 1950. Riedizione anastatica per cura di Pietro Scotti, S.D.B., Marietti, Alessandria,
12. Abundantly attested by documents, chronicles and Geoffroy’s own poetry.
13. Bull of Clement VII, 1390.
AUGUSTE ET EMILE MOLINIER: Paris 1968, “Chronique Normande du XIVe siecle.
FROISSART : “Chroniques.”
AUGUSTE LONGNON: “Documents Relatifs au Comté de Champagne et de Brie 1172-1361.”
COURTEPEE: “Description du Duché de Bourgone” Editions F.E.R.M., Paris, 1968.
Notes taken by Author sur place at Lirey, Charny, Mt. St. Jean, etc.

Late addition (20:15, Dec 24) : here’s a screen-grab of a comment from the pro-authenticity Angel.  It’s approx. comment No.200 on the final posting on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com.

angel comment 24 dec 2015 last post on shroudstory

Who says there’s a ponytail? Here’s an image of the dorsal head from Shroud Scope to which I’ve restored (yes, restored) contrast.

dorsal head

To be continued (under Comments)






About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
This entry was posted in Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to What happened to make Geoffroy de Charny’s humble chapel the first undisputed mid-14th century home of the Turin Shroud? A second ransom demand?

  1. Colin Berry says:

    If you ask me, one of those 5 or 6 chaplains exceeded his/their brief, possibly while his lord and master was being held captive in England for 18 long months. The brief was to make an imprint of the newly crucified Jesus in sweat and blood, as it might have appeared on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, to accompany Hugh Farey’s life-size recumbent wooden statue. But with ample time on his hands,he got carried away, and made the dual sweat/blood imprint look FAR TOO REALISTIC. The rest as they say is history. Like taking away the statue, leaving what for all the world (bar those tedious sceptics) looked like it might be THE genuine 1st century shroud.

  2. Colin Berry says:

    See the late addition to this posting, responding to a point raised by Angel on the shroudstory site, in which she claims that the man on the TS sports a ponytail.

    If that ‘ponytail’ really represents hair, then why is the tone in that contrast-restored Shroud Scope picture totally different from the hair that is on the scalp as distinct from the neck and back region. The first is greyish, the second is reddish-brown.

    One cannot assume the ‘ponytail’ represents imaging of hair, not in a medieval modelling scenario (I hesitate to use the term ‘forgery’ for reasons already alluded to). Why not? Because (a) one does not know what was used as subject (real person or effigy) and (b) one does not know the mechanism of imprinting or imprinting medium.

    Angel: you are making the common error of treating the TS image as it it were a photograph. It’s not.

  3. Hugh Farey says:

    A while ago you were pondering about the burn holes, and whether they might have been designed to hide the fact that the shoulders were broken, as the figure was originally a crucifix. I’ve come across this recently: https://digilib.phil.muni.cz/bitstream/handle/11222.digilib/115545/1_Theatralia_14-2011-1_5.pdf?sequence=1
    which includes some movable armed crucifixes from 1350. More grist to the mill!
    Happy Christmas!

  4. Colin Berry says:

    Thanks Hugh. I’ve only looked at the pictures so far. Interesting.
    Am looking forward to seeing your BSTS Newsletter 82! Merry Christmas.

  5. Colin Berry says:

    Next posting here? I think it will be necessary to grasp a certain nettle as to who actually had legal title, i.e. owned in crude parlance, the Lirey Shroud at the time of its first display and thereafter. Charles Freeman – never my favourite historian due to glossing over or ignoring crucial detail – is now making out on the last two or three comments threads on the shroudstory site that it was the Lirey canons who owned the Shroud – or at any rate considered themselves the owners – which if true would be convenient for his “just a painting, just a liturgical prop for an Easter ceremony” narrative.

    No, those canons were NOT the owners. They were given the duties and responsibilities of stewardship and display, certainly, but that is not the same as having legal ownership, as was duly established much later. Stewards would have been affronted at having the Shroud transferred physically from the Lirey church elsewhere, as happened decades later after Jeanne de Vergy becoming widowed in 1356, leaving them (or successors) with no key attraction to display. However, that is entirely different from signifying a loss of legal title if as seems likely they never had it in the first place.

    Nothing I’ve read so far, including ther Pierre d’Arcis memorandum that Freeman briefly cites in support of the canons as owners, suggests that those De Charny-appointed clerics and their successors were anything more than stewards.

  6. Colin Berry says:

    End of an era. Dan Porter finally closed up shop on his shroudstory site an hour ago. All comments threads have been closed (just as well since I had been planning an even-more surreal addition to that bizarre and dubiously-relevant insertion from piero on what has to be the ultimate conspiracy theory, namely that all pre-1100 history has been cleverly faked!).

    I had to go a googlin’ to find the meaning of Dan’s “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are” sign-off. It’s a reference to a catch-phrase made famous (in the US) by radio personality Jimmy Durante (1893-1980).


    Goodbye Dan. You will be missed. Thanks for the appreciative comment in your final posting, my patience over 4 long years having finally been rewarded!

    • piero says:

      Thank you about your intervention
      about the strange ideas by Fomenko…
      Yes, the New Chronology is terribly…

      B.T.W. in the blog by Dan we can read
      (an old argument):
      “What if, as the Russian mathematician Anotoly Fomenko
      believes, ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt were in
      inventions of the Renaissance and Jesus was was
      born in A.D. 1053 and crucified in 1086. … … ”
      — — —
      Instead, here what I wanted to add (before
      the “death of the blog”):
      >…still continuing in the review of the analytical tools now
      I would indicate what is the PALS …
      >Here an article:
      “Perspective of Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy in Polymers”
      Y. C. Jean, J. David Van Horn, Wei-Song Hung, Kuier-Rarn Lee
      published in “Macromolecules” (Impact Factor: 5.8). 08/2013; 46(18):7133–7145.

      Positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS) is a novel method that provides molecular-level information about complex macromolecular structure in a manner different from, but complementary to, conventional physical and chemical methodology. This paper presents a perspective of PAS in polymeric systems covering 12 aspects: historical, spacial, spherical quantum model, anisotropic structure, voids, positronium chemistry, time, positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy and data analysis, variable monoenergetic slow positron beam techniques and depth profiling, elemental analysis, multidimensional instrumentation advances in PAS, and free volume and free-volume theories.

      Perspective of Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy in Polymers. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263940629_Perspective_of_Positron_Annihilation_Spectroscopy_in_Polymers [accessed Dec 28, 2015].
      — — —
      Another thing:
      New York City English is one of the most recognizable of US dialects…
      Do you know that dialect? …

  7. Colin Berry says:

    Have just spotted this comment on Stephen Jones’s site (which I refuse to link to until I get a proper apology for his falsely accusing me a while ago of trolling his site under a pseudonym, and then proceeding to add further insult to injury):

    As far as I’m aware there are no medieval paintings or sculptures depicting a naked Jesus Christ,( His genitalia are always concealed by a subligacum) so this peculiar aspect of the image of the Man of the Shroud is no doubt one of the many pieces of evidence pointing towards authenticity.
    This is one point I usually highlight in my lectures about the Shroud.

    Antero de Frias Moreira
    Centro Português de Sindonologia

    December 28, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    This is a non-argument, Dr.Moreira. Nobody disputes that the image on the TS is that of a recumbent man who, from the tidied-up position of his hands, is or was DEAD. By the same token, the position of those hands means that few if any finer sensibilities are going to be offended re exposed genitalia. They are NOT exposed, the hands serving exatly the same function in that regard as would be the case if the subject had been clothed.

    Conclusion: one cannot cite the alleged “nakedness: as evidence against a medieval provenance, for the simple reason that the figure depicted is not that of a fully naked man, at least from the viewer’s perspective.

    Get real, you eternally wishful-thinking advocates of authenticity. Let’s be having some genuine arguments please instead of these limp self-serving excuses for arguments.

  8. Colin Berry says:

    Hello piero. Welcome to the site.

    I’m just a boring old biochemist by training, and don’t have a clue about all these gee whizz physical scanning techniques that you continue to discover.

    However, the big however, even if I did, I would not be very optimistic about scanning the Shroud with your new positronor even AFM technique, considering it unlikely to give immediate answers. Why not? Because one needs a theoretical model, maybe imperfect, but one that one can first model in the laboratory (or garage in my case) and scan using the same technique, in order to provide a baseline reference. Science operates best when it has reference models, even if they are highly simplified.

    New York dialect? What prompted that ? Yes, I know New York, having visited it a few times while living and working in nearby Philadelphia. That was back in the 70s mind you, but I have fond memories of NY, it then having a vibrancy that hit you as soon as you stepped off the train.

    London too, which I visit every couple of weeks for pleasure, is now vibrant, but in a different way, being so very international. It’s a lot more fun these days, exploring previously neglected streets and quarters, now packed with visitors, knowing there’s bound to be a good pub or restaurant close at hand, catering for the new influx. The Tube train is much better now too, with trains every 2 minutes on my regular routes.

    Italy: can you recommend a good tourist resort in the deep south? I’ve never been further south than the Bay of Naples, and would now like to visit the “toe” and “heel”.

    • piero says:

      PALS is a very interesting techniique.
      But, for the moment, I prefer AFM techniques…
      — —
      I am referring to the dialect of
      New York because of the type (the
      little man, perhaps a bit pathetic…
      Jimmy Durante…!) indicated by Dan Porter
      in his last message (…the final farewell
      to all, in his interesting blog).
      — — —
      I live in northern Italy.
      I have been visiting the city of Bari (Puglia) only once.
      Instead I went only once in Sicily (near Taormina and
      then, later, in Catania).
      I never went to Naples, but I know the famous story
      of Raimondo de Sangro, Prince of Sansevero …


      • piero says:

        As you can see I wrote too fast … and I have erred by writing:
        “very interesting techniique.”
        instead of
        “very interesting technique.”…
        … and it is obvious that it must be shown
        to be able to use the AFM techniques in a
        truly non-destructive manner… or certainly
        with minimum destructions!

        • piero says:

          I have found a vague reference about the
          blood and the use of the AFM techniques…


          In any case, in 1998,
          I had indicated the AFM techniques as
          useful way for determining the age of the
          lignocellulosic material (= determination
          of degree of polymerization of the cellulose
          by the use of AFM controls, etc.) …

          But, see also:
          the diffferent kind of operation
          (= another problem with respect the
          controls/evaluations about the cellulosic DP!):
          the measurement of Young’s modulus ([= elasticity modulus] through
          AFM bending tests, indentation tests, etc.)…

          • Colin Berry says:

            AFM? Atomic Force Microscopy? Or Annoyingly Futuristic Moonshine?

            Here’s some unsolicited but well-intentioned advice piero. If you can’t produce a detailed experimental protocol that has a reasonable chance of generating new insights, then make a New Year’s Resolution to stop cluttering up other people’s sites with your AFM mumbo-jumbo.

          • piero says:

            Dear Colin,
            You wrote:
            >AFM? Atomic Force Microscopy?
            >Or Annoyingly Futuristic Moonshine? … etc. …

            I appreciate your fair irony,
            sorry if I am boring.
            I think the Professor Engineer Giulio Fanti and
            the new Scientific Committee of Engineers
            [= CRIS. See under the address:
            http://www.unipd.it/ilbo/sites/unipd.it.ilbo/files/Giornata%20di%20studi%20sulla%20Sindone%20a%20PD3.pdf ] should consider
            what I have written several times about AFM techniques.
            Therefore I am also referring to what was not presented
            during the last conference in Bari (IEEE) on the Shroud …
            I think that you have to seriously consider the possibility
            to control linen fibrils with AFM techniques…
            And here it’s impossible to write (on few lines) a
            very detailed experimental protocol …

  9. Colin Berry says:

    I’m all in favour of non-destructive techniques, piero (assuming the Vatican allows a second “STURP” which I doubt will happen anytime soon). If or when it does, I’ll suggest a new protocol for testing the “blood”, considering the first was seriously mismanaged by Rogers, Heller and Adler, indeed botched. One has only to read Heller’s account in his book to see that is not an unfair accusation.The blood testing was indeed BOTCHED (the subject of my next posting).

    But new techniques must not only be non-destructive. They have also to be informative. That means the technique has to have been demonstrated to yield useful and interpretable data in situations more straightforward than the TS. Pardon my saying, but I doubt that is the case for your AFM technique – unless piloted first with known model systems – notably ‘scorches’ generated by each of the three known methods of thermal energy transfer – conduction, convection and radiation.

    My money is on conduction and/or convection. Radiation may appeal to those attempting to link the TS with biblical resurrection, but it has huge theoretical obstacles to overcome if wishing to be taken seriously as a scientific explanation.

    • piero says:

      First of all I beg your pardon because my poor answer
      was not very respectful of what was possible to read in
      your previous message.
      In fact I was in a hurry, as evidenced by the addition of
      a second message where I wanted to also mention that
      in the blog of Dan Porter I mentioned both the name of
      Dr. Marco Leona (the Metropolitan Museum in New York)
      and the SERS technique (a technique where he appears
      to be an interesting specialist, for several years!)…
      Dan Porter closed his blog without giving me a clear
      answer on that point and then this could be further
      cause for sadness in this end of year …
      Am I wrong?
      Even the year 2015 ended without a real analytic progress.
      I think on this subject your sensitivity of chemical
      analyst might help to deepen the issue.
      For what concern the question of scientific model
      I can agree with you. But the continuous search for
      a possible useful model should not reach the level
      of stop the analytical research (instrumental =
      AFM, CFM, Raman, SERS, etc.).
      Another (a pessimist/realist approach) little note:
      … A scientific model may really explain the Resurrection?
      of that idea I doubt enough … (that is, in a nutshell,
      I doubt even what seems to be strongly supported
      by Ing. Giulio Fanti. Maybe science can not really
      explain the Faith, as instead he claimed …).
      In any case what we can observe on linen fibrils
      could bypass our “very limited horizons”. That said
      I do not want to defend in a certain extremist way
      Mark Antonacci and Art Lind …
      they do not convince me yet (…but for sake of truth
      I have to say that, unfortunately, I have not yet bought
      the last book by Antonacci. B.T.W.: Have you read
      that new text?).

      Also, if you want my advice for your trips to South / Central
      Italy, then I invite you to go for a ride to:
      – Manoppello (but I never went there)
      – Lanciano (I went there instead [several years ago!])
      – San Giovanni Rotondo (St.
      Father Pio. Even there I have never gone)

    • piero says:

      I want to add that you could set up some interesting
      lab tests about the alleged reaction of alizarin (and purpurin)
      with blood (see the inherent study on Heme-Alizarin
      written by Adrie van der Hoeven and the control of
      reaction temperatures) and in so doing can then
      clarify what happens in reality…
      See also the behaviour of thin layers of
      starched-and-madder-dyed linen…

  10. Colin Berry says:

    Sorry, piero, but if it’s answers you seek from this simple soul, you will need to keep your questions simple and straightforward. Right now, your questions are making my head spin…

    • piero says:

      I was out of focus (because You indicated us
      an argument of History: “Geoffroy de Charny’s
      humble chapel”, etc. ) and then
      I am displeased for that!
      — — — —
      Here are a few words that I had forgotten to write:

      Unfortunately I avoided to remember a famous
      “scottish failure”…
      Otherwise : 136 years after a famous bridge disaster
      (= 28 December 1879) Dan closed the blog…
      The structural failure is also an interesting key
      to understand what can happen on linen fibrils
      (f.e.: submitted to radiations!)…

      Colin, Your words (in the blog by Dan) about the railway
      bridge over the Tay estuary remembered me the
      catastrophic failure that happened on the night of
      28 December 1879 : “the bridge collapsed after its central
      spans gave way during high winter gales…”
      All seventy-five passengers were lost!
      But the engine itself was salvaged from the river and restored…

      — — —
      I think we have to discuss something about
      Structural Mechanics and Materials Science…
      For example:
      – A gradient theory of crystals plasticity under and after irradiations.
      – The results from some controls on cellulose defects…
      – The birefringence of linen fibrils (linen treated or not)
      under strains…

  11. Colin Berry says:

    There are only two ground rules where this humble site of mine is concerned. First, I insist on civility (which does not preclude forthright criticism on condition that it addresses the issues, not the perceived character faults of the man).

    Second, I’m a firm believer in focus. Comments should be relevant to the posting. If one wishes to address an issue that is different from the latest posting, then please take the trouble to find a previous posting that is relevant, and attach one’s comment to that.

    Happy New Year, and happy blogging (respecting just two ground rules).

  12. Colin Berry says:

    Message received, piero, but still not understood. What kind of information would you expect to obtain from AFM? Would it allow you to identify the target molecule(s) for image reception, e.g. hemicelluloses, lignins, cellulose, pectins etc? If so, would it allow you to deduce the precise nature of the chemical modification (dehydration, oxidation, conjugated carbonyl bonding etc? Or as you assuming, perhaps mistakenly, that tables of figures and plotted graphs alone will lead you straight to answers, in the absence of any reference standards against which to make comparisons, e.g. thermal or other imprints from model systems? Or maybe you have chosen those reference standards already, but are keeping your cards close to your chest. If so, please be more open with us (this being the informal blogosphere) because endlessly holding up your gee-whizz AFM as the ultimate technology if in fact deployed in what looks suspiciously like a theoretical vacuum (from where I’m standing) is a research strategy that is hardly guaranteed to hold your readers’ attention for more that a few picoseconds at most. Sorry to be so candid, but it’s time to place those cards down on the table.

    • piero says:

      First of all :
      I want to recall that is impossible
      to write on few lines…
      Don’t try to make confusions mixing up all
      molecules/arguments (= hemicelluloses,
      lignins, cellulose, etc.)
      — — —
      I think that talking about the use of AFM techniques
      is no longer to argue about an idea in the field
      of “disruptive innovation” …
      In fact I, in 1998 (in Turin),
      I had indicated the use of AFM techniques as
      useful ways to improve our knowledge on the Shroud.

      For sake of clarity we must distinguish two problems:
      1 – discover the (probable) date of the material
      2 – discover which was the BIF (= Body Image Formation)

      Here you can read the following vague descriptions:

      To solve the problem to n. 1 I had indicated the way
      of the control with the use of AFM as possible in order
      to determine the degree of polymerization of the cellulose
      (and then to obtain an estimation of the epoch
      [more or less ancient, depending on the value of the
      “cellulosic DP” found during the controls. But we have
      to take into account the bacterial and fungal attacks!
      And this is only one side of the problems to solve…]
      which dates back to the material) …
      The Norm I did consider in 1998 was the UNI 8282
      (viscosimetry, viscosity-average degreeof
      polymerization = DP-v).
      The degradative scission of cellulosic chains can
      be regarded as the changes in the number of
      glucosidic bonds…
      Cellulosic degradation of linens caused by
      micro-organisms can be followed by DP
      measurements and related to changes in the
      number of glucosidic bands broken….

      Here a possible reference:
      => The intrinsic viscosity was determinedaccording to UNI 8282 …

      “Effect of thermal accelerated ageing on the properties
      of model canvas paintings”
      A.M. Seves, S. Sora, G. Scicolone, G. Testi,
      A.M. Bonfatti, E. Rossi, A. Seveso
      published in:
      Journal of Cultural Heritage 1 (2000)
      © 2000 Editions scientifiques el médieales Elsevier SAS.
      All rights reserved

      For problem n. 2 in addition to the AFM techniques
      (see also the CFM = Chemical Force Microscopy) we
      have to use the Raman techniques not only to find all
      the functional groups involved in the BIF, but to do the
      interesting comparisons with the Lab experiments (and
      the same is valid for the AFM/CFM controls.
      See also AFM-Raman controls, etc.)…

      In any case Raman techniques can be used to solve
      the problem n.1 (See f.e. what was done by Eng. G. Fanti & C.)

      • piero says:

        Obviously I had in mind to do checks with the AFM apparel
        (if possible …using AFM, CFM and AFM-Raman controls,..)
        on some linen samples obtained after laboratory works
        (= BIF simulations)! … Included the “Corona Discharge” treated
        linens and irradiated (with VUV = see f.e.: Paolo Di Lazzaro)
        linen samples…
        But we can also work on “more humble” linen samples…

        Remeber that moder linens are different with respect ancient materials…
        No Optical bleaching,
        No NaClO, etc….

        • Colin Berry says:

          Your pro-authenticity bias is now showing piero.
          Any kind of bias in science, if not based firmly on a secure foundation of fact, is not science at all, but pseudo-science.

          Be warned piero. Pseudo-science, no matter how well disguised, is not welcome on this site.

          • Colin Berry says:

            PS: I suddenly remembered we’ve been here before, piero, my having posted this (altered) cartoon to Dan Porter’s site in February last year:

            My views on your AFM obsession have hardened since then, now that your pro-authenticity bias, dare one say mission, has become all too apparent. Do you want me to spell them out? I shall if you continue to proselytize AFM (with or without a supporting cast of other) as promising a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You know and I know that is not the case.

  13. piero says:

    My AFM determinations wanted to improve
    what was indicated by prof. Diana and
    prof. Marinelli (but they indicated the viscosimetry,
    then see also the Norm UNI 8282 a way
    that I wanted to improve using the AFM
    [insterad of the viscosimetry]…)
    I forgot to write the following words:
    Happy New Year 2016 !!!

  14. Colin Berry says:

    Point 1: Cellulose depolymerization? Yet another chemical clock that is impossible to calibrate with certainty, along with lignin breakdown, fibre mechanical fragility etc. Who needs a unreliable chemical clock when there’s radiocarbon dating? If the objection to the latter is the limited sampling, then the answer is simple. Go back and sample a wider range of sites.

    Point 2 (image characteristics) : I’ll try addressing that later. First I have to figure out precisely what it is you are proposing, and whether it’s really AFM that is crucial and in the frame, or whether it’s really those other techniques (Raman etc) that have now suddenly crept in as reinforcements.

    Sorry piero. I’m frankly not impressed so far, and indeed am frankly underwhelmed, but I shall withhold judgement for a short while longer. Maybe there’s something I’m missing but I’ll be darned if I can see it. The expression “much ado about nothing” springs to mind.

    • piero says:

      I admit : it can be difficult to solve the problem
      of dating the material (…using only one parameter!),
      but I am not of your opinion about the impossibility
      of using the degree of depolymerization of cellulose
      in order to determine an interesting estimate (through
      the comparison of “cellulosic Dp” values) about the
      antiquity for that particular ancient textile material…
      — — —
      Here the old Norm (UNI)
      [Obviously this is the old standard and therefore
      does not apply to the possible new rule based
      on the use of the AFM techniques!]:
      Standard Number: UNI UNI 8282-1994
      Cellulose in dilute solutions. Determination of
      limiting viscosity number. Method in cupri-ethylene- diamine
      (CED) solution.

      Translated in Italian laguage:
      Cellulosa in soluzioni diluite. Determinazione
      dell’indice della viscosità limite. Metodo che
      usa una soluzione di cuprietilendiammina

      Language: Italian
      Publication Date: 1994/10/31
      Publisher: Unifica zione Italian no(UNI)


      But, see also under the address:

      >… nel 1998 avevo indicato l’uso delle tecniche AFM per poter ottenere il valore del grado della polimerizzazione della cellulosa. Purtroppo (finora) nessuno pare aver seguito quella indicazione. Il grado di polimerizzazione della cellulosa è uno dei parametri già indicati da Diana e Marinelli (però loro parlavano del controllo per via viscosimetrica che avrebbe richiesto una troppo grande quantità di materiale. Vedere anche quanto descriveva la Norma UNI 8282 …). Tale parametro è indubbiamente interessante e bisogna scegliere zone sicure, libere da effetti di deterioramento meccanico (pieghe, vedere anche la questione delle pieghe storiche, già indicata da John Jackson. Dopo il trattamento del 2002 però non sembrerebbe saggio entrare in quelle questioni) o degradazione biologica (da muffe, funghi, ecc.) oppure degradazione termica (incendio di Chambery del 1532).
      Secondo me occorrerebbe anche confrontare i valori del grado di polimerizzazione (della cellulosa) con le analisi ottenute dall’AFM “three-point bending test”.
      Ecco un possibile riferimento :

      Here a rough translation:
      >…in 1998 I had indicated the use of AFM techniques in order to obtain the value of the degree of polymerization of the cellulose. Unfortunately (intil now) no one seems to have followed this indication. The degree of polymerization of the cellulose is one of the parameters already set out by Diana and Marinelli (but they spoke about the viscosimetric control that would require too large amounts of material. See also what described the Norm “UNI 8282″…). This parameter is undoubtedly interesting and you have to choose safe areas, free from the effects of mechanical damage (folds, plies, see also the issue of historical folds, already indicated by Dr. John Jackson. After treatment of 2002, however, it would not seem wise to get into those issues) or biological degradation (mold, fungus, etc.) or thermal degradation (Chambery fire of 1532).
      In my opinion it should also compare the values ​​of the degree of polymerization (cellulose) obtained by the AFM analyses with the other analyses AFM : “AFM three-point bending test”.
      Here is a possible reference:

      Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 1603 (2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1651643 (3 pages)
      Physical properties of a single polymeric nanofiber by E. P. S. Tan and C. T. Lim Division of Bioengineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore
      The nanostructural and elastic properties of a single polymeric nanofiber extracted from a nanofibrous scaffold are investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM). AFM imaging of the nanofibers reveals a “shish-kebab” structure. A portion of the nanofiber is suspended over a microscale groove etched on a silicon wafer. A nanoscale three-point bend test is performed to obtain the elastic modulus. This elastic modulus is found to be … etc. … etc. … etc. …

      Then there is the elastic modulus [in Italian language = il modulo
      elastico (o modulo di Young)] as another physical clock to use in order to better arrive to the center the objective … the evaluation of the possible range of historical epoch.
      Here is the continuation of the message of two years ago:

      >… Oppure vedere all’indirizzo (translation = Or see under the address):
      > Nano-Scale Three-Point Bending Test in AFM where F is the maximum force applied, L is the suspended length, δis the deflection of the beam at midspan … etc. … etc. …
      >”A method for testing the elastic modulus of single cellulose fibrils via atomic force microscopy”
      Cheng, Qingzheng; Wang, Siqun
      Follow Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing , Volume 39 (12) Elsevier – Dec 1, 2008

      >…Così si avrebbe un quadro più completo di ciò che potrebbe esser la vera datazione del materiale. Inoltre vorrei poter aver più spazio per spiegare cosa intendo per esatta valutazione del materiale il controllo di altri parametri.
      Vedere ad esempio (quanto già da me riferito in questo blog) : il grado di carbossilazione della cellulosa e gli studi del prof. Luigi Campanella. … ecc. …

      Another rough translation:
      >…So you would have a more complete picture of what
      could be the real dating of linen material.
      Also I wish I could have more room to explain what I mean
      by exact evaluation of the material control other parameters.
      See for example (as I have already reported in this blog):
      the degree of carboxylation of cellulose and the studies of
      Professor. Luigi Campanella. … etc. …

      So, with the assessment of the degree of carboxylation
      (perhaps using the CFM = Chemical Force Microscopy…
      Link: http://www.parkafm.com/index.php/park-spm-modes/chemical-properties/224-chemical-force-microscopy-cfm-with-functionalized-tip ),
      we arrive at the number of three parameters and then
      we can try to better go to focus on the center of target to hit
      (with the “scientific bombardment”)…
      Then: the probability to find the true epoch should increase …
      …or not?

      Here another link:

      In any case, I think you could easily compare
      the chemical maps with the viscoelastic maps
      of linen fibrils (and then you should use
      these interesting data to guess something!…).
      — — —
      Sorry… I was a bit ‘too long in my message,
      but this is only a little part of what
      I wanted to say to you!

      • Colin Berry says:

        The radiocarbon dating is 1260-1390. Admittedly that is the answer for one subdivided corner only. Those who think there’s a substantial sampling error that could make the date seem 1300 years younger should be pressing for retest, not substituting , or attempting to substitute soft chemistry for hard nuclear physics.

        The medieval date given by radiocarbon dating, combined with the two-fold image of a crucified man, makes it near certain that the TS is/was an attempt to model the image that might have been left on linen by the crucified Jesus. At least three researchers, myself included, have deployed an oven-heating step to model the body image. So all those chemical clocks that rely on any kind of physical or chemical degradation of linen fibres (lignin degradation, mechanical weakness, cellulose depolymerization etc) are totally unscientific if they not only discard the radiocarbon dating, but acknowledgement too of the thermal technology that might and indeed probably was employed to produce the body image. That’s not counting the possible effects of the 1532 fire as well.

        This attempt on your part and others (Rogers, Fanti, Di Lazzaro etc) to sideline the radiocarbon dating – essentially to pretend it’s not there or has somehow been invalidated – and to substitute phoney chemical dating, or attempt to do so, may be acceptable in sindonology, piero. But is not acceptable in experimentally-based science, and more to the point is NOT ACCEPTABLE ON THIS SITE (see the blog title).

        I reserve the right to delete further comments from you or anyone else piero that I consider to be pseudoscience, aka mumbo jumbo.This site does not see itself as a substitute or successor to shroudstory.com (RIP).

        • piero says:

          It was not in my aim to completely discard
          the radiocarbon dating of the year 1988.
          What had been done it was done.
          Amen (and then: see also the lack of
          exact informations about the Raman analyses
          of the year 2002!!!).
          — — —
          I had simply seen there was a strange
          debate that was not able to solve the problem,
          then I indicated the AFM techniques as
          useful tools to try to solve the problem.

          Unfortunately, I see that you can not even follow me
          (or try to debate in a more decent manner, ie: not
          having to use the silly cartoons that do not reflect the truth)
          in my old idea of trying to identify a possible era [who
          can identify the age of the textile material] using
          chemical and physical analyses.
          Instead you invoke the result of a C14-1988 dating
          which has been questioned by many … By the way:
          we have never had the raw data obtained in 1988 !!!
          After this fact we have seen that has been developed
          by some “seekers of truth” the interesting conjecture
          about the likely “gradient of time” (see, for example,
          what has been written by researchers fiercely anchored
          in search of a possible satisfactory explanation about that “quiz”, even
          in the absence of special exact data [ie raw data that we lack]
          these researchers are: Ballabio, Fanti and others …), etc.
          Apart the presence of cotton, etc. in my opinion there is
          not yet a true proof (= an incontrovertible result) about
          a “corner of darning” as the solution of “the strange 14C result”.
          We still have to work (to work hard with nondestructive
          analyses) a lot in order to show the truth.

          Can “an uranium-contaminated water” [perhaps
          used during “the shutdown of the fire” in 1532]
          change the perspective ?
          I don’t know…
          This seems to be a mere new speculation.
          I am skeptic.
          What is your opinion?
          Have you tried to investigate this particular hypothesis?
          What we can investigate about the riserva of the “subdivided corner”?

          Thank you for your patience…
          Is this benevolence a sort of patience of an Indian holy man?
          Are you the new heir of the roasted Knights Templar?

  15. Colin Berry says:

    Back to piero and his AFM.

    Here’s the entry from wiki, slightly modified, to purchasing something on hire-purchase, or an instalment/installment plan as it’s known in the ex-Colonies and elsewhere.

    Hire purchase (colloquially called “buying on the never-never”) is the legal term for a contract, in which a purchaser agrees to pay for goods in parts or a percentage over a number of months or years. In the US and Canada, hire purchase is termed an installment plan although these may differ slightly as, strictly speaking, in a hire purchase agreement the ownership of the good remains with the seller until the last payment is made…
    The hire purchase agreement was developed in the UK in the 19th century to allow customers with a cash shortage to make an expensive purchase they otherwise would have to delay or forgo.

    So, you get the goods upfront, and then pay for them over an extended period.
    Now then: does anyone else here – apart from myself that is – notice the difference between hire-purchase as originally conceived and piero’s AFM credit scheme?

    When do you start paying in the piero scheme? When do you get the goods?

    What does “the never-never” refer to in piero’s scheme – when you finally finish paying, or when you finally get the goods, if ever?

  16. Colin Berry says:

    Readers of this posting might be interested to see its wider context, highlighted in this recent comment from Hugh Farey on the International Skeptics Forum site:


    Comment #2318

    Those who have very much enjoyed the intellectual cut-and-thrust of shroudstory.com have been upset by its recent closure, although with competent searching it remains an essential repository of primary sources and intelligent opinions. There was a time when I found internationalskeptics worthwhile, and indeed, followed chiefly mathematical arguments from an authenticist to a non-authenticist viewpoint. Since then, I have scrupulously examined every authenticist argument for discrediting the radiocarbon date, and found nearly all of them spurious, although there are still one or two grey areas. Many of the other evidences for a medieval date have also been scrutinised, in detail, with a view to determining their level of support. The d’Arcis memorandum is one of these.

    Over the years the weakness of the authenticist position on this site has resulted in some very slack counter-arguments from non-authenticists, with the result that, although Jabba is frequently blamed for the pointless continuation of this thread, which must surely for heading for the Guinness Book of World Records, it has really been maintained by his opponents. In more or less the same three words (“I’ll be back”), posted every month or so, Jabba has managed to keep a pack of hounds snarling at his heels, without achieving the slightest progress in denting his belief in the Shroud’s authenticity. Mostly, the site has become an increasingly inaccurate re-iteration of supposed non-authenticist arguments, to the edification of nobody.

    There may be an unrecognised worthwhile reason for the maintenance of this thread, which is to demonstrate the weakness of authenticist arguments, or the strength of non-authenticist ones, to readers who follow it, but never comment. For several years they have been largely disappointed, I fear.

    Neither the Pope, nor Bishop d’Arcis, nor Bishop Henri, nor anybody else, has left any record that they knew the painter responsible for the image of the Shroud. All we have is an unsigned, undated draft of a letter addressed to the Pope from d’Arcis, claiming that the Shroud being exhibited in Lirey in 1389 was not a true relic of Christ, but a deceitful fraud, and that the whole thing had been investigated by Henri of Poitiers, “the truth being attested by the artist who painted it,” after which it had been hidden for 34 years or so, a date so precise that it suggests some knowledge (or assumed knowledge) that the first time the Shroud was exhibited was in 1355 or so. (“Or so” perhaps being crucial, as we shall see. The Latin is “vel circa”)

    This is important. We do not have Bishop Henri’s report. What we do have is his signed, dated, effusive commendation of Geoffroi de Charny written on 28 May 1356, with no mention of a fraudulent Shroud. It seems unlikely that Bishop Henry would have been so kind if he had just condemned a fraudulent relic.

    Geoffroi de Charny died at the battle of Poitiers on 19 September 1356.

    Suppose, for a moment, that d’Arcis’ information, whether or not he actually sent his letter, was correct. An interpretation of the evidence could be that the Shroud began to be exhibited after de Charny’s death (‘vel circa’ being the operative words here), and Bishop Henri, having commended de Charney only the previous Spring, was shocked to discover that by the Autumn the canons at Lirey had exceeded their remit. This seems possible, and to me the most likely.

    It is sometimes claimed that since there is no proof that d’Arcis’ letter was sent, that no credence should be given to it. However, even if this particular complaint was not received by the Pope, he nevertheless commanded in 1389 that the Shroud could only be shown as a representation, and without all the ceremonial trappings of sanctity that might attend the display of the real thing, suggesting that at least somebody had complained. It is not obvious whether he personally thought the Shroud was genuine or not, but he certainly acted as if it wasn’t.

    On the other hand, if we decide that the “vel circa” is not adequate to reconcile the conflicting evidence from 1356, we could claim that Bishop Henri knew all about the Shroud and commended Geoffroi de Charney for building a chapel for its veneration. His commendation specifically states: “after scrupulous examination […] of the said knight’s sentiments of devotion, which he has hitherto manifested for the divine cult, and which he manifests ever more daily. And ourselves wishing to develop as much as possible a cult of this nature, we praise, ratify and approve the said letters in all their parts – a cult which is declared and reported to have been canonically and ritually prescribed, as we have been informed by legitimate documents.” What could this “cult” have been, if not that of the Holy Shroud? Well, the fact that the church is dedicated to St Mary may be related to that.

    It may be worth considering how we know about the two conflicting documents in this case. The d’Arcis memorandum has been researched twice, by the Catholic Historian Ulysse Chevalier, at the turn of the 19th/20th century, and by Hilda Leynen in the 90s. The document by Bishop Henri was discovered by Bruno Bonnet-Eymard, who is a fairly extreme fundamentalist Catholic and Shroud authenticist, who thinks that the radiocarbon date was falsified by Dr Tite and Cardinal Ballestrero in the sacristy of the Royal Chapel in Turin in 1988. Although his discovery of the Bishop Henri document was presented to the St Louis Shroud Symposium in 1991, it was not referred to at all by Luigi Fossati in his two articles for Shroud Spectrum International in 1992, or in Jack Markwardt’s ‘The Conspiracy Against the Shroud’ in 2001.

    Finally, Luigi Fossati draws our attention to an interesting change of phrase in successive communications from Pope Clement to Troyes, at around that time, beginning with “figura seu representatio” (July 1389) amending it to “pictura seu tabula” (January 1390), but reverting to “figura seu representatio” in May 1390.


    D’Arcis memorandum: https://archive.org/details/tudecritiquesur00chevgoog
    Bishop Henri commendation: “The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity” (google.books)
    Markwardt Discussion: http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n55part3.pdf
    Fossati Discussions: http://shroud.com/pdfs/ssi41part3.pdf and http://shroud.com/pdfs/ssi42part14.pdf
    Bruno Bonnet-Eymard: http://crc-internet.org/our-doctrine…-shroud-turin/

  17. Colin Berry says:

    There is no chemical method that can date the Shroud, either to the 14th or the 1st century. All a chemical method can do is tell you something about its present state. The various claims that these tests can serve as chemical clocks is moonshine, given the thermal insults to which the Shroud has been subject (1532) or to which it may have been subject in order to imprint a mid-14th century simulated body image, e.g. by the oven -roasting technology that I and others have proposed.

    So let’s be hearing no more about, at least not here, about your AFM or any other claimed alternatives to radiocarbon dating piero. This site exists to promote science, not pseudoscience.

    Those like yourself who distrust the radiocarbon dating are, needless to say, entitled to their opinion, and to express it once and once only if unsupported by hard data. They are not entitled to constantly undermine confidence in the radiocarbon dating on other people’s websites by constant repetition of their opinion, if there’s no supporting data. That’s not science. It’s propaganda, no matter how cunningly disguised with the language of science.

    If you’re determined to proselytize your AFM as a viable alternative (which it’s NOT) then there’s an alternative to constantly filling up the comments on other people’s websites, piero. Go create your own website. It takes only a few hours at most, minutes even if you’re not trying to win prizes for artistic merit. I can recommend either WordPress or Google’s Blogger, each having its pros and cons.

    You are of course at liberty to post comments here on other matters, but pseudoscientific AFM etc is no longer accepted.

    • piero says:

      Remember that I do not want to proselytize for anything,
      I just want to point out what seems to me obvious and
      that you seems strangely escape to you.
      Don’t You see much use for a way non-destructive or
      minimally destructive?

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