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On the question of cotton repairs, he is sure that the textile experts would have picked up any discrepancy in material."I don't doubt that the sample has the same structure as the rest of the shroud.So you can ask 'Was that the moment of resurrection?' That has to be speculation." The Catholic church has always refused to take a position on the shroud's authenticity but it expects between 1.5 and two million people to visit and the Pope is due to attend on 2 May.Voicu, Los Angeles I think that the test must be done again, using samples from reasonably central areas of the cloth; then later tests can look further into what makes the imprint.Church objections to damaging a thread or two from the main areas can be answered by the major significance of the answer.

"It's true that thousands of people were crucified at the time of Jesus.

Having gone on public display for the first time in a decade, the debate over its authenticity is set to resume.

Numerous historical references to Christ's shroud exist but the only reliable records for the one today housed in Turin Cathedral begin in the 16th Century.

"Through no fault of the labs the 1988 sample was taken from the most inadvisable place - the top left hand corner," he says.

"Before 1840 the normal process of display was to have the cloth loose and held up by at least three bishops so the corners would have been contaminated." Another doubt raised was that the sample may have been repaired with cotton strands.

But one singular thing about the crucifixion of Christ is the crown of thorns and on the shroud there are a whole series of puncture wounds where the scalp has bled." And whereas every artist imagined Jesus crucified through the palms, the shroud indicates it was through the wrist, which is the only plausible way the body would have remained on the cross, he says.

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