The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ

the shroud draws you in, doesn't let go, and reveals itself gradually

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What is the significance of two flower images on the Shroud?

To the left (your left), above the face on the Shroud of Turin, at about a forty-five degree angle, you will find a very faint image that looks like a flower with petals. A similar shaped flower image can tentatively be seen to the right. It is about the same shape and size but it is a bit farther out from the center line of the face but at the same height above the face.

The Christ Pantocrator icon from St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai (ca 550 AD) also has distinctive flower images in the precisely same relative positions. If the Shroud of Turin (the Image of Edessa), was the source for this icon, as it seems to have been, then it is highly probable that the flower motif was also taken from the Shroud.

Flower images on Shroud of Turin Flower images on Christ Pantocrator icon
Flower images on Shroud of Turin Flower images on Christ Pantocrator icon
from St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai


Are they really flowers? Probably not! Most scholars who study the Shroud extensively doubt that there are really flower images on the Shroud of Turin. Others, however, believe the images are really there. But this is unimportant to this question: If there are images that look like flowers, even if they are anomalies, and these images are in the same relative places on the Shroud and the Pantocrator icon, is it reasonable to assume that the icon was sourced from the Image of Edessa, given all the other similarities?

Moreover, the flower motif developed in various ways, as adornments for images of Christ, particularly in the Byzantine culture. Notice the extensive use of flower images on this Epitaphios, that seems inspired by the whole frontal image on the Shroud of Turin.

* Please note that the image is as it is on the cloth and not as it is commonly depicted: as a mirror image with a distinctive 3-shaped bloodstain on the right side of the forehead.

 

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