Last updated: 02:46 PM ET, Sun April 19 2015

Shroud of Turin Back on Display After 5-Year Break

Destination & Tourism | Michael Isenbek | April 19, 2015

Shroud of Turin Back on Display After 5-Year Break

Photo courtesy of the BBC's Twitter feed

Tourists have until June 24 to view the Shroud of Turin, now back on display at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin, Italy after a 5-year break, the BBC reported.

The 14-foot-long cloth, imprinted with the image of a man, is said to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. Scientists have not come to a consensus as to how the image came to be imprinted on the cloth, but in terms of its age, skeptics point to carbon dating that places the shroud’s creation in the 1300s, AD.

Visitors must book in advance to view for free, and 1 million have already signed up, and Pope Francis himself will be showing up this time around on June 21, according to the BBC. At the last viewing in 2010, a total of 2.5 million viewed the shroud.

The Church has not officially said that Christ was wrapped in the shroud, rather, they focus on what it means to the individual viewer.

"Whether you believe or don't believe, there is no doubt it is something special," an Italian man who was among the first visitors on Sunday told the AFP news agency via the BBC.

Earlier this week, Archbishop of Turin Cesare Nosiglia said to the BBC: "What counts the most is that this shroud... reflects in a clear and precise manner how the gospels describe the passion and death of Jesus … It is not a profession of faith because it is not an object of faith, nor of devotion, but it can help faith."

Nosiglia noted that many showing up in 2015 were repeat visitors. "That means there is a fundamental need in people's hearts to renew this incredible experience that they had the first time they saw it," he said to the BBC. "Even non-believers will come. It's an occasion that brings everybody together."

The shroud is on display in a climate-controlled case 12 hours out of the day at Turin's Cathedral of St John the Baptist.

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