The Catholic Church in Turin, Italy, will exhibit the Shroud of Turin, a linen relic millions have believed to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ, from April 10 through May 23, the fifth public exposition since 1898 and the longest in the shroud’s modern history.

The official website created by the Archdiocese of Turin for this year’s exhibition estimates 2 million people will travel to Turin to view the shroud.

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit the shroud May 2.

The burial cloth of Jesus Christ?

The Shroud of Turin bears the full-body, back-and-front image of a crucified man that very closely resembles the New Testament description of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

Even after the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project subjected the shroud to scientific analysis, how the image was formed on the 14-foot-long linen cloth remains a subject of debate.

Photographic analysis has shown the reddish-brown image on the Shroud of Turin to be a negative that is best seen when the process of photography reverses it.

The photographic negative of the face of the man in the Shroud of Turin demonstrates how a photographic negative makes the image of the crucified man more clearly visible to the naked eye.

In 1988, the Vatican permitted laboratories at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich to subject small samples cut from the shroud to radiocarbon-dating analysis.

The conclusions of the three laboratories that the shroud dated from A.D. 1260 to 1390 led many to believe it is a medieval forgery.

However, Raymond Rogers, a chemist from the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory who was a participant in the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project, published a paper in a scientific journal arguing the sample of the shroud selected for the 1988 radiocarbon testing was contaminated by expert medieval reweaving undertaken to repair it after a disastrous fire in 1532.

WND reporter and columnist Jerome R. Corsi has written a novel on the Shroud of Turin, “The Shroud Codex,” scheduled for publication by Simon and Schuster April 13.

In February, Corsi traveled to Turin, where he obtained press credentials to attend the Shroud Exhibition as a journalist.

From Turin, Corsi traveled to the Vatican in Rome where he met with the Vatican press office and with a representative of the Pope’s Cultural Council to inform the Vatican of WND’s plans to cover the Shroud Exhibition in Turin.

WND plans over the next month to publish a series of articles exploring the history and the science of the Shroud of Turin.

The Archdiocese of Turin has created an Internet website to allow those wishing to attend the Shroud of Turin Exposition to obtain reservations electronically.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.