The ceremony, which was presided over by His Most Reverend Eminence Card. Enrico Feroci, was held on 4 May 2021 at the Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
Promoted by the Diocesan Centre for Sindonology “Giulio Ricci”, in collaboration with the Rome Vicariate, the “International Centre of Studies on the Shroud” in Turin and the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum, the Liturgical Feast of the Shroud was celebrated on 4 May in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.
The solemn Eucharistic celebration was presided over by His Eminence the Most Rev. Cardinal Enrico Feroci and concelebrated by the many priests present. The liturgical service was overseen by the seminarians of the Legionaries of Christ.
The Liturgical Feast dates back to 1506 when Pope Julius II – accepting a request by the young Duke Charles II of Savoy and his mother Duchess Claudine, which he received in Rome through a delegation formed by the Bishop of Maurienne Mgr. Luigi di Gorrevod, Manfredo di Saluzzo, Andrea Provana and Filippo Chevrier – approved on 9 May with the bull “Salubriavota” the public cult of the Shroud and instituted the feast with its own Holy Mass and liturgical office and set the date on 4 May, the day following the one in which the Church remembered the finding of the Cross, which occurred in Jerusalem in the year 320 thanks to Empress St. Helena Augusta, the mother of Emperor Constantine.
As is now tradition in the centuries-old history that has seen the Royal House of Savoy involved in the defence, care and devotion of the Shroud, a delegation of Knights and Dames of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus and of the Order of Civil Merit of Savoy, led by the Delegate for Roma Capitale and Lazio, Comm. Alfonso Marini Dettina, participated in the Ceremony.
After communion, while the Choir of the Basilica sang the chorale “O Haupt vollBlut und Wunden” from the Passion according to St. Matthew by Johannes Sebastian Bach, the Knights in church vestments carried a copy of the Shroud in procession to the altar to expose it to the devotion of the worshippers.
In the meditative atmosphere of the moment, the Cardinal read the “Prayer before the Holy Shroud” while venerating the Holy Image.
Contemplating the image impressed on the Holy Shroud, we are inspired to meditate on the love of Christ, who was crucified and rose from the dead for our salvation.
In these long months during which the whole of mankind has been suffering deeply and often felt lost in the face of the spread of the virus and the loss of many certainties, let us rediscover the values of solidarity, sharing, respect for others and for nature.
In this time, which seems to recall, for those who have faith, the silence and expectation of Holy Saturday, let us return to contemplate the image of the Lord impressed on the Shroud, allowing ourselves to be looked upon by Him with confidence and hope for our future.
The ceremony was evocative and deeply felt by those present. It served to reaffirm the closeness of the Savoy Knights to the Shroud, which has been preserved throughout the centuries at each display, as the ancient engravings testify, when the Sovereigns – Duke Emanuele Filibertobeing first among them – removed their royal robes as a sign of humility, worshipped the Shroud and showed it to the believers as they wore the vestments of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
For this reason, at the end of the Celebration the wish that the liturgical Feast of the Holy Shroud may continue to be a moment of prayer for all the Knights and Dames of the Dynastic Orders every year emerged strongly among the participants.