THE Shroud of Turin is coming to Somerset. Well, sort of...

A full-size copy of the world-famous shroud will be All Saints’ Church, in Rockwell Green, Wellington from tomorrow (September 11).

It will be on display to the public from until Monday (September 13) and will be available to view outside of service times.

The Shroud of Turin exhibition includes a 15-foot replica image, which is a photograph printed onto cotton by an American photographer, Barrie Schwortz, the official photographer at the STuRP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) examination of the Shroud in 1978.

Somerset County Gazette:

The genuine Shroud of Turin, which shows the image of a man who has been crucified, is preserved with great reverence in the Cathedral of Turin and the full-length replica is very rare. 

The exhibition has travelled widely and has been on display at Westminster Cathedral, Dublin Pro-Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Pam Moon, curator of the exhibition, said: "It is possible to get an idea of the Shroud from television pictures, books, magazines and newspapers articles, but seeing it in its entirety is very challenging and moving."  

One of the purposes of the exhibition is to show how brutal crucifixion really was and to tell the story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The exhibition includes original Roman nails, a replica whip and a spear. 

And there are information boards about art, history and the latest research on the Shroud.

No-one understands how the image appears on the Shroud.

Somerset County Gazette:

The STuRP team discovered it is not a painting; not a photograph and not a scorch but they could not determine the cause of the image. 

In December 2011, Italian scientists attempted to "identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a colour similar to that of the image on the Shroud" by using short bursts of ultra violet light, using lasers. 

They managed to re-create a small section of cloth with some of the properties of the Shroud (at least at a microscopic level) by this method, and concluded that "some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength)" created the image on the Shroud of Turin.

As ultra violet lasers were not available to medieval forgers, it opens the possibility that the Shroud is actually Jesus’ burial cloth, with the image being created at the point of resurrection.

One of the scientists, Prof Paolo Di Lazzaro, the head of the team, said: "When one talks about a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things like miracles and resurrection.

"But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes. We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate but we will leave the conclusions to the experts, and ultimately to the conscience of individuals."

The Italian team’s research follows on from the work of other scientists like Dr Ray Rogers who was able to show that the area of the Shroud taken for radiocarbon dating was highly contaminated by cotton additions and dye.

All Saints’ welcomes visitors to see the exhibition and make up their own minds about the Shroud of Turin.

Refreshments will be available throughout.