His Excellency the Most Reverend Mgr Paolo De Nicolò, Grand Magistral Prior of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy presided over the solemn Eucharistic celebration with the participation of a delegation of Knights and Dames led by Comm. Avv. Alfonso Marini Dettina, Delegate for Lazio. Among the high-ranking members of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy was the Deputy Head of Ceremonial and member of the Council, Gr. Uff. Avv.to Gualtiero Ventura.
On 4 May the Liturgical Feast of the Holy Shroud was celebrated in Rome in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. The feast was established on 9 May 1506 when Pope Julius II, accepting the request of Duke Charles II of Savoy, approved with the bull “Salubria vota” the public cult of the Shroud, setting the date of the feast on 4 May, with its own Holy Mass and liturgical office.
The solemn Eucharistic Concelebration, promoted by the Diocesan Sindonology Centre “Giulio Ricci”, by the “International Centre of Studies on the Shroud” in Turin and by the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, was presided by H.E. Monsignor Rev. Paolo De Nicolò, Grand Magistral Prior of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy. Among the concelebrants were the Rev. Don Ettore Capra, Knight of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, DP. Rafael Pascual LC and Fr. Joseph Spence ffm, respectively Director and professor of the university’s courses in sindonology.
The liturgical service was conducted by the seminarians of the Legionaries of Christ.
Among the participants were students and graduates of the Regina Apostolorum and a delegation of the Guard of Honour to the Royal Tombs of the Pantheon.
This year the Feast of the Shroud was particularly solemn because it was celebrated at the same time as the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Military and Religious Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, to which the Savoy family traditionally entrusted the honour of displaying the relic.
On 16 October 1572, Pope Gregory XIII, at the request of Duke Emanuele Filiberto, established the Military and Religious Order of St. Maurice with the Bull Cristiani Populi and on the following 13 November, with the Bull Pro Commissa, united it to the Order of St. Lazarus, declaring the Savoy Duke and his legitimate successors Grand Masters of the Order.
In his homily, the Grand Magistral Prior underlined with gratitude the merit of the House of Savoy in having guarded the Holy Shroud for more than five centuries, thus allowing the public to worship it, and recalled the generous and Christian decision of King Umberto II to donate the Shroud to the Pope.
After the communion, the Knights and Dames in church dress carried in procession a copy of the Shroud in front of the altar, to expose it for the participants to worship it. For the first time in Rome, a copy made with the linen cultivated in Val Gandino (Bergamo) in 2020, treated and woven according to ancient methods, on which the image was printed with advanced techniques, was exhibited. The other copy made with the same technique was placed a few days ago in the Biblical Museum in Washington. It is the most similar copy of the shroud in terms of touch and sight. The original is kept at Turin Cathedral.
The Bishop and the whole assembly recited the “Prayer before the Shroud”, and then incensed and kissed with devotion the image impressed on the Holy Linen.
The sacred notice bore an ancient representation of the ostension, in which Saint Carlo Borromeo and the Blessed Amedeo of Savoy, in royal clothes and with the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Holy Annunciation, hold the Shroud.
The ceremony was very heartfelt and well attended and it visibly and morally reaffirmed the centuries-old bond of the Savoy Knights with the Shroud.