Expert presents the mystery of the Shroud of Turin Saturday at St. James Church

Expert presents the mystery of the Shroud of Turin Saturday at St. James Church

Russ Breault, who has been studying the Shroud of Turin for more than 30 years, will make a presentation to St. James Church in Lincoln on Saturday, March 8, explaining the mystery and controversy surrounding the centuries-old cloth that some believe was used to wrap the body of Jesus Christ.

LINCOLN - The Shroud of Turin - is it a burial cloth used to wrap the body of Jesus Christ, or a medieval hoax that has persisted for centuries?

An expert on what he calls "one of the world's top 10 mysteries" will present both sides of the argument at St. James Church, 33 Division St. in Manville, on Saturday, March 8, at 7 p.m.

Russ Breault has been studying the shroud for more than 30 years, ever since he was a writer for his college newspaper in Georgia.

He has followed the developments in theory and scientific discoveries since the late 1970s, and has since appeared in several nationally televised documentaries including "Mysteries of the Ancient World" on CBS and "The Real Face of Jesus?" on The History Channel. He has also been interviewed on "Good Morning America" and "World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer."

Breault is a longtime member of the Shroud Science Group, an international consortium of scientists and scholars dedicated to further research, and president and founder of the Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., whose mission is "to advance the knowledge of the Shroud to a new generation."

But even he cannot explain the shroud with exact certainty.

"The biggest thing about the shroud is that it's the most analyzed artifact in the world and yet it remains an unsolved mystery," Breault said.

Scientists have tried to authenticate the shroud - or prove it the work of an artist - for years, he explained, to no definitive avail.

The image of a man, created from human blood, shows wounds that "match up perfectly with the gospel account" of Jesus' death, Breault said, with a crown of thorns, nails in his wrists and feet, and a wound on his side.

But the blood is not soaked into the fabric, he explained. Rather, it is "a purely superficial phenomenon," he said, where the blood affects only the top two micro fibers of the cloth. With each thread having 200 micro fibers, that means the blood has only sunk into the outer 1 percent of the fabric, and is not visible on the back, he said.

"That's the big mystery; how was the image formed?" Breault said, adding that there is no evidence of paint, ink or dye. "If it's a hoax, it's the greatest one ever perpetrated."

The presentation, "Shroud Encounter," includes the viewing of 200 images and a museum-quality replica of the 14-foot shroud, which is under lock and key in Turin, Italy. Breault will cover an overview of the science and the history of the mystery and controversy.

"It's going to be soup to nuts" and "a lot more in depth than a typical documentary," he said. "It's very fast moving, very visual."

Breault said most people ask the wrong question about the shroud: What if it is not authentic? He said the real question is, what if it is authentic and no one does anything about it?

Breault said it is his mission to explore the middle path.

"Science can only take you so far," he said, "and faith will take you the rest of the way."

Admission to the presentation is $10. For more information, call Claudette Lussier, parish secretary, at 401-766-1558. Visit to learn more.