Shenandoah, Schuylkill County- St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Shenandoah has elaborate plans for the February 24 visit of the replica of the Shroud of Turin.
The Shroud is thought by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Recently the Greater Shenandoah Area Chamber of Commerce met to discuss plans for the exhibit. Monsignor Myron Grabowski, the pastor of St. Michael's Church announced there will be a parade on the day the Shroud arrives in Shenandoah.
Shenandoah Mayor Andrew Szczyglak, the Knights of Columbus and the Shenandoah Fire and Police departments will escort the Shroud to the church on Chestnut and Oak streets, where it will be available for viewing until March 9.
St. Michael parish is the first Ukrainian Catholic parish in America. The original church still stands along West Centre Street in Shenandoah.
Michael's, is the first Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in America to host this
Here are some interesting facts about the Shroud
The Shroud of Turin is a long linen cloth made of out flax and measures 14 feet long and 3.5 feet wide.
It bears the faint image of a bearded, crucified man with bloodstains that match the wounds of crucifixion suffered by Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in all four gospel narratives.
It has been in Turin, Italy since 1578, over 400 years. Prior to that it was in France for another 200 years beginning in 1356.
It has been preserved and revered for centuries as the actual burial shroud that wrapped Jesus as recorded in the bible.
It was owned from 1450 to 1982 by the royal Savoy family until the former King of Italy, Humberto II passed away and willed it to the Catholic Church.
The Shroud has been displayed for numerous public exhibitions over the past 650 years. While in Italy, the Catholic Church acted as custodian of the cloth even though it was officially owned by the Savoys.
The history prior to its arrival in France is not continuous and therefore critics have alleged it is the work of a medieval artist.
However the discovery of a key document in 1993 (Hungarian Pray Manuscript dated from 1192) confirms that the Shroud was in Constantinople and was stolen by Crusaders during the 4th Crusade. This bridges the gap between 1204 and 1356 when the Shroud's whereabouts was in question. Some say it was in possession of the Knights Templar who participated in the 4th Crusade and were said to venerate a mysterious image.
This finding is monumental because it validates a historical trail to at least to the year 544 when the "Image Not Made By Hands" was discovered in Edessa (southern Turkey) and became the genesis for all Byzantine and Orthodox icon images of Christ that followed. Many scholars now believe the Shroud and the Edessa Image are one and the same.
Two coins were minted in 692 under the reign of Emperor Justinian II. They were the first coins ever minted with an image of Christ and appear to be based on the Shroud image as indicated by 180 matching points of congruence between the Shroud image and the coin image.
In 944 the cloth was taken from Edessa to Constantinople. The sermon delivered by Gregory the archdeacon of the Hagia Sophia clearly describes a full body image on the linen.
In the 11th century, Greek chronicler John of Skylitzes painted a picture of the same event as part of an illustrated manuscript. It clearly shows the General of the Army presenting a long linen cloth with an image on it to Emperor Romanus I.
Following the 4th Crusade when troops from Venice and France looted and burned the city, a letter of protest was written to Pope Innocent III. The letter documents this horrific event and what was stolen including, "Most sacred of all, the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before his resurrection". These and other historical clues provide a history stretching nearly 1500 years.
There is also the Legend of King Abgar that may stretch the history all the way back to First Century. It is a story of how a cloth with an image on it was sent to Edessa from Israel at the time of Christ. Jude Thaddeus, one of the 70 Apostles was said to have taken it to him after Abgar's request for Jesus himself to come. Abgar was dying of leprosy and upon beholding a mysterious image he was healed, became a Christian and commanded that all pagan idols be burned.