SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It is considered the single most studied artifact in human history. Now, a life-size replica of the shroud has made its way to Shreveport where it will stay.
"First of all, my eye is drawn to the face of Jesus himself," pointed Father Peter Mangum as he showed us this life-size replica of the Shroud of Turin.
It will soon be the centerpiece of a special public exhibit in mid-March at the Cathedral of Saint John Berchmans in Shreveport.
"Every aspect of it, is absolutely perfect," explained Father Peter.
Part of that exhibit is a negative of the shroud's image. It's getting framed just a few miles away, where gallery owner Margaret Nader says she's convinced the shroud is authentic.
"There's just too many, too many ways that it's proven it is original," said Nader.
One of the first questions people may ask is can I come and take a look at the replica right now? The answer is not quite yet.
That's because they still have to set up the whole display with a lot of the other replicas, not to mention the framed image of the shroud's negative.
Father Peter bristles at the conclusion of some critics that the shroud is a fraud from the Middle Ages.
He and others contend researchers conducted carbon-14 dating on the wrong area years ago, giving a false reading on its age.
So In April, he and his research partner, LSU Shreveport History Professor Dr. Cheryl White, will travel to the secretive Vatican archives, searching for historical evidence of the shroud's existence before it may have arrived in Europe to challenge the notion of a fraud.
"We believe the historical part of that missing, those missing years, that somewhere, it's somewhere. Someone will find it. And why not us," added Mangum.
Regardless of their findings, the shroud replica will become a permanent public display at the cathedral after Easter and the only one of its kind in the area.
That special exhibit at the Cathedral of Saint John Berchmans will take place on March 17 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and feature Barrie Schwortz.
He's been a leading researcher on the Shroud of Turin since the research project back in 1978.