Ecumenical catholic Church of Christ

Ecumenical catholic Church of Christ

Friday, December 25, 2009

Differences between Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches

We can classify the Church of Jesus Christ into three major groups as Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant. These churches are classified because they differ from each other in their origin, ecclesiastical structure, and the way that they interpret the holly scripture. Despite the efforts of many Saints and many other people who were in charge of the church, today there are many branches inside of the global church, which supposed to be a unique institution. According to historical and theological studies, these divisions are caused by many misunderstandings due to cultural differences and geographical distances. This means that lack of terminology and clear communication of their beliefs during centuries easily directed them to different branches that today we can see. Moreover, many years of separation effected also their ecclesiastical structure and of course the way of commenting and interpreting the Holy Scripture. Therefore, we can classify Christianity in three groups by their origin, their ecclesiastical structure, and the way that they interpret the Holy Scripture.
To begin with, these churches differ from each other in their origins. The Catholic Church was formed in the first century and it is known as the apostolic church because it was founded by the apostles of Christ. The Orthodox Church was formed in 1054, when the bishops of Eastern Europe and the Middle East didn’t accept the primacy o the Pope over them and they declared themselves as independent church. In the sixteenth century the Protestant movement started which was directed by Martin Luther. He led the Reformation, saying that the Catholic Church abused its divine power. Therefore, the study of the origins of these churches gives us a clear idea to classify them in different branches.
Another difference between these churches which allows us to classify them consists in their ecclesiastical structure. Many years of separation of churches caused many reforms which changed their appearance and their ecclesiastical structure. The Catholic Church has a hierarchical structure and there is common doctrine which all Catholic Churches and their primates respect. In contrast to this in the Orthodox Church there is no a centralized power or common doctrine which can guide it. Every prelacy has its autonomy and there is no obligation to obey any other ecclesiastical entity. The protestant Church has more authority, because every single church has its own policy and everything depends on its pastor. Therefore, different ecclesiastical structures allow them to classify these churches in different groups.
The other reason that makes me classify these churches in different branches is the way that they comment on the Holy Scripture. The Catholic Church comments on every single chapter and goes into deep the meaning of the whole chapter in order to understand what the writer wanted to communicate and they not stop in front of the appearance. As an illustration, the Gospel talks about Jesus' brothers. The Protestant Church believes that Jesus had brothers because it is written in Gospel, while the Catholic church by doing some studies on Jewish culture points out that the Jewfishes used to call brothers even their cousins, so statement that Jesus had brothers is not necessarily true. The Orthodox Church uses its classic way. They use their Saints' comments to understand each chapter and there is no innovation. They are very traditional people and are not open to new comments. The entire Protestant church, which generally are more than thousands branches, considers every single word of the Bible as the only real fact and don't accept as a complementary source the comments of Fathers of the Church. Therefore, the way of commenting on scripture is a good way to classify these churches.
In conclusion, due to many years of separation between these three major churches we can see many differences which allow us to classify them in different categories. Their origins, their different hierarchical styles, and the way they comment on the Holy Scripture, dived them into three different branches of Christianity and churches. Even though it is very hard for these churches to come to a unity due to many differences, hopefully it will become a goal for them in order to unify their population under a unified Christian flag of faith, hope, and love.
Edik Baroni

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Shroud of Turin

1. Introduction


The Shroud of Turin, also known as the Turin Shroud is a linen cloth preserved in Turin Cathedral, which is visible on the image of a man with signs of torture, abuse and crucifixion. The term "shroud" is derived from the greek σινδών (Shroud), which indicates a good quality linen fabric. The term has become synonymous with the shroud of Jesus. Tradition identifies the sheet as the one used to wrap the body of Jesus in the tomb. According to the gospels, after death of Jesus, his body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a shroud with bandages and laid in the tomb. The gospel mentions the tissues funeral even after the resurrection. Even though there are many serious reasons to believe in the shroud as the real shroud of Jesus, its authenticity is still under intense controversy. The history of the Shroud before its appearance in the hands of the knight Geoffrey de Charny and his wife Joan of Vergyin in the fourteenth century is not objectively documented. Even though wars, fires and natural disasters have destroyed many tests, there are many common points between what the Gospels tell about the passion of Christ and what appear on the figure of man of the shroud. Another secure date is 1578 which the shroud was brought to Turin, the capital of Savoy and remained there continuously until today. In 1898 the shroud was photographed for the first time and on that occasion it was discovered that the image imprinted on the sheet had the characteristics of a photographic negative. In 1983 Umberto II of Savoy, the last king of Italy given it to the Pope, who delegated the case to the Archbishop of Turin. Later after that with Republican Constitution in Italy (1 January 1948), the Shroud has become state property under the Italian provision XIII, paragraph 3, and the testament of Umberto II was aborted.

b-The sheet and its image:

The Shroud is a linen sheet of yellow ocher, rectangular in shape and size of about 442x113 cm. The thickness is about 0.34 millimeters, and weight is 2.450 kg. Scientists called "Man of the Shroud" that human figure visible on the sheet, to maintain a neutral position on the question of whether or not Jesus. The photographic negative shows an adult male with a beard and long hair. The Man of the Shroud has many wounds. The most obvious are the wounds on his wrists and the balls of feet, consistent with the hypothesis that there have been planted with big nails, and a large cut wound to the chest. The two images represent a human body from the front and the back separated by a space that does not bear traces of the body. They are darker than the cloth. It seems that the Man of the Shroud was placed on the lower half of the sheet (image ridge), and was covered with the other half folded over him (front view). The visible image of body on the Shroud is detailed, thermally and chemically stable and it has a yellowish color that differs from the background. It is a "negative" and it is more natural in the photographic negative than in positive. There are bloodstains on the sheet, which correspond to the correct location of the numerous injuries on the body. All these signs correspond to the traditional iconography of Jesus and the Gospel of the crucifixion
C-The debate over the authenticity:
The authenticity of the Shroud as the true shroud of Jesus has been debated. Discussions resumed in the late nineteenth century, when the first photograph of the Shroud revealed the special characteristics of the image and has attracted the interest of scientists on it. Numerous scientific studies conducted to clarify definitively the question. Many scholars believe that the Shroud is a relic and some others believe that is an icon or depiction Art. According to the theory advanced by Lillian Schwartz, advisor to the School of Visual Arts in New York , The Holy Shroud of Turin is a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. Schwartz eighties showed, using the computer, analogies between Leonardo's face and that of the Mona Lisa. She used the same program to superimpose the image of Leonardo with that of the Holy Shroud. The Catholic Church does not comment officially on the issue of authenticity, leaving science to examine pro and against evidences, but it authorize the cult as a relic or icon of Jesus' Passion. Several popes, from Pope Pius XI to Pope John Paul II, have also expressed their personal belief in favor of authenticity. Protestant churches consider the veneration of the Shroud and relics in general against Gospel message and do not accept it.

2-Different analysis on the Shroud:

A. Consideration of Carbon 14 :

Radiometric dating using the technique of carbon-14 was used simultaneously and independently in 1988 by laboratories in Oxford , Zurich and Tucson . They date the shroud between 1260 and 1390, which correspond to the period of the history of Shroud. Even though the result of carbon 14 clarified approximately the date of the Shroud, there are many hypotheses that the scientists use samples which were not from the original part of cloth.

B. Examination of the image:

It is believed that the Man of the Shroud is the image of a corpse. The image shows clear signs of rigor mortis. The head is bent forward (the neck is shorter in the image front, longer in the backbone), the left leg is flexed (it can be assumed that the left foot had been nailed above right), the buttocks are round and this is incompatible, assuming endorsing presumably on a flat surface (the stone of the tomb). Moreover, the visible wounds, especially the one at the ribs is definitely lethal. According to some scholars, the holes of the nails are in the wrists and not in the palms of hands. This is because the nails in the palm, typical of traditional paintings, would not allow the tissues to withstand a weight corresponding to that of a man. This is a strong argument against the hypothesis that the Shroud was made by a medieval forger, because in the Middle Ages there was no remembrance of the method of Roman crucifixion.

C. Blood test:

The first tests conducted in 1973 did not indicate the presence of blood on the Shroud, but further tests conducted since 1978 with more modern techniques gave positive results with presence of hemoglobin and other specific substances in the blood. The blood was subsequently identified as human blood group AB. Some researchers dispute these results and argue on the basis of their studies that the blood stains are actually painted with red ocher, vermilion alizarin. In contrast to this some others affirm that the spots were painted with real blood or blood was added to enliven the image over the centuries. However, according to some scholars painting with blood would not be a realistic theory because it would be matted hair making stains indistinct.


A-Catholic Church conclusion:

Pope John Paul II in his Homily regard Veneration of the Holy Shroud in May 24, 1998 stated that the Shroud was a challenge to our intelligence. It is not a matter of faith, and the Church has no specific competence to pronounce on it. It entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate in order to find adequate answers to the questions connected with this Sheet, which according to tradition, wrapped the body of Jesus when he was deposed from the cross. The Church urges that the Shroud be studied without pre-established positions that take for granted results. Moreover the Pope invited scientists to act with inner freedom and attentive respect for both scientific methodology and the sensibilities of believers. He affirmed also that what counts most for the believer is that the Shroud is a mirror of the Gospel. In fact, if people reflect on the sacred shroud, can not ignore the consideration that the image has such a profound relationship with what the Gospels tell of the passion and death of Jesus.

B-Scientific conclusion:

According to an article published in 3 parts in The Glyph, the journal of The Archaeological Institute of America in 1997, The Shroud of Turin is a genuine artifact Roman crucifixion of the first century of an adult Jewish male. The results of carbon 14 for the linen as a product of 14th century were not correct. This was due to C14 which was accumulated during centuries by smoke of candles and heat of the fire of 1532. This research confirmed that there is no paint on the linen of the shroud and is not the artifice of a forger.
Edik Baroni