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The ark that contains the Sudarium of Oviedo.

The Sudarium of Oviedo, or Shroud of Oviedo, is a bloodstained cloth, measuring c. 84 x 53 cm, kept in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo, Spain.[1] The Sudarium (Latin for sweat cloth) is claimed to be the cloth wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after he died, as mentioned in the Gospel of John (20:6-7).[2] The small chapel housing it was built specifically for the cloth by King Alfonso II of Asturias in AD 840. The Sudarium is displayed to the public three times a year: Good Friday, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on 14 September, and its octave on 21 September.


Background and history

The Sudarium is severely soiled and crumpled, with dark flecks that are symmetrically arranged but form no image, unlike the markings on the Shroud of Turin. It is not mentioned in accounts of the actual burial of Christ, but is mentioned as having been present in the empty tomb later.

According to believers, the Sudarium and the Shroud took different routes. There is no reference of the Sudarium for the first several hundred years after the Crucifixion, until its mention in 570 in an account by Antoninus of Piacenza, who wrote that the Sudarium was being cared for in a cave near the monastery of Saint Mark, in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

The Sudarium was apparently taken from Palestine in 614, after the invasion of the Byzantine provinces by the Sassanide Persian King Chosroes II, was carried through northern Africa in 616 and arrived in Spain shortly thereafter.

The cloth was at one point dated to the 7th century by the radio carbon method However, it has been argued that the determination was quite unreliable and other indications must be considered as well.[3]

The Sudarium and the Shroud

Many of the stains on the Sudarium match those on the head portion of the Shroud. Though the Shroud had been carbon-dated (1988) to the 14th century, subsequent studies in 2005 suggest that the segment of the cloth used in the 1988 carbon dating may have been from a patch repaired during the Middle Ages[4]. Many believe that both cloths covered the same man. In 1998, blood tests done on both the Sudarium and the Shroud confirmed that the blood stains on both cloths were of the same type: AB, a common blood type among Middle Eastern people but fairly rare among medieval Europeans.

Pollen residues on both the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium provide strong evidence that both were at one point in the Palestine area.[5]

The most important physical evidence of a connection between the two relics is that the material of the cloth is identical, although there are differences in the manner of weaving.

Skeptics point out that the match with the Shroud is based on a polarized image overlay technique, the results of which are regarded by some scientists as subjective and unreliable.


  1. ^ Michael McDonnell, 2007 Lost Treasures of the Bible ISBN 1847533167 page 31
  2. ^ Bible gateway John:20:6 [1]
  3. ^ Baima Bollone, 1994, Book of Acts of the 1st International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo, 428-429
  4. ^ Archaeological Study Bible by Zondervan
  5. ^ James W. Dees, 2008 Reconciliation ISBN 1435711629 page

See also


  • Bennett, Janice (2001). Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo, New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. ISBN 0970568207.  

External links



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