Shroud of Turin Nearly Burns in Italy
The Shroud of Turin narrowly escaped being destroyed when St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin, Italy, burned on April 14. The shroud is a cloth showing a photo-negative image of a man who appears to have been crucified, and has traditionally been honored by Roman Catholics as the burial cloth of Jesus.
Thousands of people waited anxiously outside the cathedral while five firefighters braved flames and falling marble to reach the shroud. A cathedral chapel which ordinarily houses the shroud was destroyed by the fire; the shroud, though, had been moved close to the cathedral's main altar during a renovation of the chapel. Firefighter Mario Trematore used a mallet to break through several layers of bullet-proof glass protecting the shroud. When he reached the reliquary holding the shroud, he later told Catholic News Service, "it was extraordinarily beautiful. I took it in my arms like you would do with a baby."
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson