I have always been fascinated with the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. For those who need a biblical remembrance, this linen is supposedly the cloth that was placed on Jesus' body after he was taken down from the cross and placed in his tomb after his crucifixion. The image also shows, purportedly, nail wounds at a man's wrist and "pinpricks" on his brow, which would have come from the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head.

Is it real? Is it the image of Jesus of Nazereth? Could it withstand the test of over 2,000 years time?

There have been may attempts to disprove it's authenticity and several claim it's a fake. Now, the University of Padua in northern Italy have dated the shroud to ancient times, a few centuries before and after the life of Christ. This puts the Shroud of Turin within the time frame of Jesus' time on earth.

The tests will, no doubt, revive the debate about the true origins of one of Christianity's most prized and mysterious relics.

One of the Shroud of Turin's tests using radiocarbon 14 dating method revealed in 1988 concluded with 95% confidence that the shroud material dated to 1260–1390 AD. Too recent to be Jesus of Nazereth.

This most recent discovery published in a new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" or The Mystery of the Shroud, by Giulio Fanti, a professor at Padua University, suggests that the image of Christ in the linen is more likely to be from the actual time that Jesus walked the earth.

The book also states that the recent tests also supported earlier results claiming to have found traces of dust and pollen on that shroud that could only have come from the Holy Land.

Mr Fanti, a Catholic, said his findings were the results of 15 years of meticulous research.

Pope Francis provided an introduction when images of the shroud appeared on television Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday, which commemorates the resurrection. He called the Shroud of Turin an "icon" --not a relic.

it is also noteworthy that an app has been created, and sanctioned by the Catholic Church, called "Shroud 2.0", which features high definition photographs of the cloth and enables users to see details that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. The creators of the app say:

For the first time in history the most detailed image of the shroud ever achieved becomes available to the whole world, thanks to a streaming system which allows a close-up view of the cloth. Each detail of the cloth can be magnified and visualized in a way which would otherwise not be possible."

With the new dating discovery, if proved to be authentic, Christians around the world looking for another reason to celebrate the religious holiday may have found it here.

Source: The Telegraph, Wikipedia