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    The Holy Shroud’s relic, a very important religious object, has been in Santiago del Estero for more than 400 years. It is a piece of cloth with Jesus’s body shape in the front and in the back. This represents how Jesus’s body was wrapped after his death. Its length is 4.34 m and its width is 1.03 m.

    This is a replica of the original Holy Shroud, which is located in Turin, Italy.

    Nowadays, there are no documents that certify the date when the Holy Shroud was brought to Santiago del Estero and the circumstances. The first mention of this piece in the provincial and national is in an inventory which dates from the times the Jesuits left were expelled in 1767.

    The Junta de Temporalidades, an organization that took care of Jesuits’ properties, and Diaz Gallo family protected to the Santiaguenian Holy Shroud. Later, the Dominican Order took care of its custody and devotion when they moved it to the old Jesuit installations.

    For the following years, the Holy Shroud was an object of devotion for the Christian people and a historical religious heritage for Santiaguenian community.

    Nowadays, we can find it on the “Santiaguenian Church”, the Santo Domingo temple, together with other religious images from the 17th century, such as “Amo Jesus” and “Inmaculada Concepción”. We can also find here the image of Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, also known as Mama Antula, made by for the plastic artist Alfonso Touriño.

    The Santiaguenian Holy Shroud is one of the most reliable replicas in the world, because Jesus thumbs are omitted and the shape of the nails are represented just as in Chambery o Xabregas replicas. Other replicas, such as the Besancon replica, show the thumbs and the ulcers on the palm.

    Probably, this is one of the first replicas that had been made because its characteristics and materials are more than 4 centuries old. You can also see the darning marks by the fire in Chambery Cathedral, France, in 1532, the place where the original cloth piece was protected.

    The Holy Shroud has been here since before 1767 and we have no doubt that it is an important historical religious Santiaguenian heritage. It is also very valuable for the Christianity community due to its spiritual and devotional symbolism.

    In “Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en la provincia del Paraguay” (History of the Society of Jesus in Paraguay), Section IV, written in 1754 by Father Pedro Lozano, we can find some important information as to know where the Shroud comes from. Father Lozano says on his book that Father Diego de Torres Bollo ordered a copy of the Holy Shroud when he was in Turin. Later, the same publication says that Torres Bello lived in Santiago del Estero when he got the chance of being the first provincial in the Jesuit province of Paraguay. The first branch if this Paraguayan province was Santiago del Estero. Perhaps Father Torres Bollo brought the Holy Shroud with him.

    The fidelity and date of reproduction, and what the Father Lozano said make us believe that the Santiaguenian Holy Shroud was in touch with the original one when it was painted in Turin. For this reason, we can affirm that it is a “Third Class Relic” for having been so close to a holy piece.

    Santiaguenian historians believed that the Holy Shroud was a high quality painting whose author is unknown. But Santiaguenian oral Christian tradition says that this cloth piece was inside a chest in a little French church.  The Holy Shroud was damaged after the 1532 fire These damages were fixed and the shroud was put again inside the chest wrapped in two cloths. Some years later, the chest was open and they could see the holy image got impregnated on the two cloths. One of these cloths was sent to the Spanish King, who sent it to in America during the colonization for preaching purposes.

    Holy Shroud characteristics

    The Dominical Order, in 2014, with the support of the Santiaguenian, community hired experts to analyze and study the Holy Shroud.  They repaired it properly to be kept. In this way we could know more about its history.

      According to the results of the analyses performed, the Holy Shroud is a European cloth piece from 1600.

    This unknown author’s painting was wrapped and wafted. The Holy Shroud is made of linen and is sewed with silk thread. Its cloth ligament is made of balanced taffeta, while the original one, in Turin, is made of serged ligament.

    It is believed that it was painted with watercolors, also knowns as gouache technique. This technique comes from old techniques similar to the wash, a very used technology in the Mid Age.

    In a side we can read: “VERUM SACRAE SINDONIS EXEMPLAR ASSERVATAE TAVRINI”. It means: “True replica of the Turin Holy Shroud”

    This seems to be written with ferrogalic ink. This is consistent with the time when the painting was done.

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