On Besancon and Other Plausible Theories for the Shroud During the Missing 150 Years, 1204 to 1355 by Daniel C. Scavone (email@example.com). Saturday, August 16, 4:15 p.m.–4:45 p.m.
History proceeds from documents, not arguments from silence. Besancon claimed to have the TS during the missing 150 years. No other hypothesis mentions a shroud. Templar scholars (KT) (Reinach; M.Barber; Parent; Frale; Rolland) deny their possession even of an idol — introduced into their trial by the inquisitors themselves. Every KT description was different. None said the idol was on cloth. Descriptions of an idol were given by brothers not present at secret KT meetings where the idol was allegedly worshiped. No path is documented for a shroud from Constantinople to the KT or from KT to Geoffroy de Charny.
The Smyrna hypothesis has been disproved as originating from the false transmission of Pingon (1581) by duTeil in 1902. Again, no Smyrna primary document mentions a shroud. See Shroud.com (Scavone).
The hypothesis that the TS was in Paris already in 1247 forgets that the object that came to Paris and mentioned in inventories until 1791 (!) was still in all that time called “sancta toella in tabula inserta” — while the TS had long been known everywhere as a full-length cloth.
Besancon alone claims to have had Jesus’ Shroud. Its claims rest on two documents from 1205 (Theodore of Epirus) and 1208 (Nicholas of Otranto) placing the Constantinople shroud with Othon de la Roche of Burgundy, who received it (1205) in the Fourth Crusade along with the fief of Athens. Another document of 1219 (DeGail; Longnon) provides an occasion when Othon’ s shroud may have been sent home to Burgundy with the trusted Pons de Chaponay, or Othon himself brought it when he returned home ca. 1225. The Besancon shroud was kept in St. Etienne church until it was thought to be lost in the fire of 1350.
Geoffroy de Charny, first owner of the Turin Shroud, did not have the Shroud when he founded the Lirey church in the 1340’s. In 1354 he received permission to place a cemetery by the church in Lirey and to be buried there. His possession of the Shroud may be the reason (Crispino; Chevalier). About that time he wed Jeanne de Vergy from Besancon. Note that Burgundy, whose sometime-capital was Besancon, straddled the German Holy Roman Empire and France. The Vergys were among the pro-French party. My hypothesis holds that Jeanne, descended from Othon, with a hereditary right to ownership, brought the Shroud, thought to be “lost” in the fire, to her marriage, thereby saving it for France. The king received it (Malijay) and gifted it back to her and her husband (already the king’s honored porte d’oriflamme) for his new church at Lirey. Besancon thus explains how the ever-silent Geoffroy acquired it and why he was silent about it.
At Lirey an artist did fashion a copy (as the d’Arcis Memorandum asserts), and this copy was sent to Besancon about 1377–78 (Chifflet) and foisted on the people as the return of the original. This was possible since by 1378 anyone who could recognize the original was dead. The present bishop, Guillaume de Vergy, relation of Jeanne (!), “proved” it was the original by placing it on a corpse and reviving it (!). This is suspicious as a possible family conspiracy. But still, believing the “miracle,” Besancon did not demand the return of its original Shroud, by now firmly embedded in Lirey. The copy was eight-feet long, frontal only, and obviously painted (See image in Chifflet.).
Sindonologists have spent pages to easily refute this copy made from the original Lirey Shroud (Vignon), but they have not refuted Besancon’s original, which ca. 1354 had gone to Lirey. Besancon’s entire ecclesiastical archive was burnt in the fire of 1350 and again by revolutionaries in 1794. Today, only inventories exist going back only to 1412 (Besancon archivist Gauthier). Nothing survives regarding the arrival of the Shroud from Athens, but the Shroud’s possible box (Bergeret) and Othon’s tomb, both in Besancon, reinforce my case.
Besancon alone has documents showing even an awareness of the Shroud in its mysterious 150 years, and it explains in the most economical way what happened to the Shroud after Robert de Clari says in 1204 that nobody knew what happened to it. A path of possession is thus documented for the Shroud from Constantinople to Geoffroy de Charny.
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