The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ

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What are the Poker Holes and why are they significant?

Poker Holes on the Shroud of TurinIn 1532, the Shroud was almost destroyed by a fire in a church in the French town of  Chambéry. There are many scorch marks and large burn holes in the fabric.  But there are some other burns that are not from that fire. These existed on the cloth before 1532. How do we know the Poker Holes existed before 1532?

The holes are arranged in four L-shaped patterns of four holes each. They are often called poker holes because of speculation that they may have been caused by someone thrusting a hot poker into the cloth as some sort of ordeal by fire.  There is no basis whatsoever for imagining that this is how the holes were made. It is more likely that the burn holes were caused by spilled burning incense, oil from an oil lamp or embers from a brazier.

Poker Holes drawn on the Hungarian Pray ManuscriptThe poker holes are very significant because they are clearly drawn into an illustration in a document known as the Hungarian Pray Codex. This document dates to 1192, while the Image of Edessa was still in Constantinople; to a time before the earliest possible date determined by carbon dating.   

See: Illustration from the Pray Codex

 


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