Knights Templar may have secretly held shroud, Vatican expert says
Published: April 6, 2009
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican researcher has found evidence that the Knights Templar, the medieval crusading order, held secret custody of the Shroud of Turin during the 13th and 14th centuries. The shroud, which bears the image of a man and is believed by many to have been the burial cloth of Jesus, was probably used in a secret Templar ritual to underline Christ's humanity in the face of popular heresies of the time, the expert said. The researcher, Barbara Frale, made the comments in an article published April 5 by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. The article anticipated evidence the author presents in an upcoming book on the Templars and the shroud. Frale, who works in the Vatican Secret Archives, said documents that came to light during research on the 14th-century trial of the Templars contained a description of a Templar initiation ceremony. The document recounts how a Templar leader, after guiding a young initiate into a hidden room, "showed him a long linen cloth that bore the impressed figure of a man, and ordered him to worship it, kissing the feet three times," Frale said.
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