From April 10 to May 23, the public will have a chance to view the Holy Shroud, a 14-foot-long linen though by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, the Associated Press reported.
They said the cloth has a faded image of a bearded man on it and traces of writing. There were also patches that has been sewn on the cloth by nuns in the mid-1500s, but they were removed in order to smooth out creases, making for what might be better preservation, the Associated Press said Shroud Museum director Gian Maria Zaccone told them.
They said people can reserve a three- to five-minute viewing of the linen, and 1.5 million people- not including Pope Benedict XVI- have already reserved their spot to see the Shroud in Turin in northwest Italy.
Even though the public usually only gets to view the linen once every 25 years, the Associated Press said city officials are allowing the cloth to be shown as the "first showing of the new millennium." The cloth has also been shown recently in 1998, after a 20-year-wait, and in 2000 during Millennium celebration.
Scientific tests have been done to the cloth to see about its authenticity, the Press said. In 1998, John Paul II delicately called the cloth a powerful symbol within the church that recognized Christ's suffering, but he did not make any claims about its authenticity, the Associated Press reported.
There have been mixed results, the Associated Press said. First, a Vatican researcher said she proved through computer-enhanced images that the writing on the linen was used to wrap Jesus' body after he was crucified. Then when scraps of the cloth were carbon-dated, determining it was made in the 13th or 14th century through some sort of medieval forgery, the image on the cloth- of a man with wounds like Christ would have had- could not be explained.
Antonio Lambatti, a professor of Christian history, told the Associated Press he calls himself a skeptic. He said in his opinion, the Shroud isn't real, but he also said people's fascination with it goes beyond science and implies faith.
The Associated Press also mentioned that Hitler might have been after the Shroud during WWII as a symbol of power.