Turin: The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Shroud of Turin and tomb of Blessed Pier Georgio
About the Cathedral (Duomo) of Saint John the Baptist in Turin:
There were actually three churches here in the 4th Century, and then this Cathedral, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, was built during 1491-1498.
The Cathedral in Turin is especially notable for two reasons:
1. The Chapel of the Holy Shroud is the current resting place of the Shroud of Turin, was added to the structure in 1668-1694. The Shroud is probably the most holy relic in the Church and certainly the most widely-known. Although the Church has never ruled on its authenticity, there is little doubt in most minds…one way or the other. Attempts to date it have proven unsuccessful….but this is because the fragment that was examined was most likely taken from a patch on the shroud dating from the Middle Ages rather than from the shroud itself. Also, the fact that it is a negative image from a time when photography had not been invented, cannot be explained. There are other points to be made in favor of its authenticity, but from our viewpoint, it truly is the burial shroud of Christ.
A devastating fire broke out in 1997, and destroyed much of the church. Fortunately, perhaps providentially, the Shroud had been moved from the chapel to the Cathedral choir prior to the fire, to allow for repairs that were being made to the roof of the Cathedral. Hence, the Shroud was spared any damage.
Re-building immediately began, using many of the materials from the same quarry that Guarino Guarini used in the 17th Century, and has been meticulously restored and can now be reached from inside the royal palace, while the Holy Shroud will remain in the cathedral.
It is not normally on display, rather it is locked in a silver casket within an iron box, inside a marble caseso, so don’t be disappointed. It is only displayed on certain occasions. But you can see an exact replica of the Shroud on display here.
The shroud was last displayed publicly in 2010 for a period of about two months. It will possibly be displayed again in 2020, since it has normally been displayed every 10 years. The exception was in 2015, when Pope Francis ordered it to be displayed for a period of two months.
Click here for a website featuring many photos of the Shroud of Turin.
Click here for the Shroud website based in the U.S. (in English–packed with information).
2. In addition to the Shroud, you will also find the tomb of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925), Turin native, fun-loving, avid athlete, devout Catholic and benefactor of the poor, called the “Saint for youth of the Third Millennium.”
Upon his death at the young age of 24, his parents were astonished at the huge turnout for his funeral. People from all walks of life, especially the poor and the outcast, turned up to bid him farewell.
In 1981, his body was found to be incorrupt when it was transferred to the Cathedral here in Turin. He was beatified by John Paul II in 1990. So revered is he as a Saint for young people, that his body was carried to World Youth Day Celebrations in Spain in 2011, again to World Youth day in 2013 in Brazil, and to Krakow in 2016.
Click here for the official USA website for Blessed Pier Giorgio. (lots of great information).
We recommend the book “A Man of Beatitudes” from Ignatius Press.
Traveling to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin:
Address: Piazza San Giovanni.
GPS coordinates: 45° 4′ 23.5992” N, 7° 41′ 9.2652” E
Tel: +39 (011) 436 1540
Click here for the official website of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin
Bl Pier Giorgio Photo © Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati, Rome. Used with permission.