Man Of The Shroud


The First Vancouver Exhibitions – A Personal Perspective

By Phillip Wiebe

The idea of having an Exhibition of the Shroud in the Vancouver area began with a brief visit to Vancouver of Karl Schulz from Montreal in 2002. Karl was involved with an organization in Eastern Canada that mounted a Shroud Exhibition in various venues and cities, including Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, one of which I saw. I took Karl to a White Rock restaurant to meet Carolyn Wharton, whom I knew to be interested in anything to do with the Shroud. She brought Hugh Buckley along, and the four of us talked about the feasibility of mounting the Exhibition from Eastern Canada. We soon realized that the task of safely moving it to Vancouver would be expensive, and wondered if anything would come of the idea.

Carolyn approached Fr. John Horgan, Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish in Vancouver, to consider helping form a committee, and Carolyn and Hugh brought their pastor, Father Stan Galvon, into the conversation. In six months time a standing committee of five people was formed, consisting of Frs. Stan and John, Carolyn, Hugh and myself (Phillip Wiebe). Our first meeting took place in the summer of 2003, after which we met regularly to identify suitable elements for an Exhibition.

Maximum Sized Exhibit | Good Shepherd ChurchMaximum Sized Exhibit | Good Shepherd Church
Photo © Robert Francis Studios

We agreed early on that a photographic replica of the Shroud would be needed, which was acquired with the generous assistance of a benefactor. We then decided that we would want museum boards on which the story of the Shroud might be told. When Barrie Schwortz from Los Angeles and Emanuela Marinelli from Rome, both internationally recognized experts on the Shroud, learned of our interest in mounting an exhibition, they immediately offered to come and give talks at the Exhibition. We decided to give the name “The Man of the Shroud” to the Exhibition, and have adopted it for our Association.

The first Exhibition took place in the Church of the Good Shepherd in White Rock, from March 31 – April 7, 2004. Many volunteers from that church gave of their time to provide security for the various objects on display, including icons on loan from St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church in Langley, BC, artifacts from the parish of Sts. Peter & Paul in Vancouver, the Shroud replica, and the museum boards. Other volunteers directed traffic, served coffee and refreshments, opened their homes to host guest speakers, and welcomed visitors to the exhibit who stayed to hear lectures on the Shroud, which were offered during various times during the day. The grand finale for the Exhibition was a beautiful concert of music. Admission to the Exhibition was free, but many people contributed to the costs with their gifts. More than ten thousand people visited during the eight days of that first Exhibition, and more than four thousand visitors came to the illustrated lectures that were presented. In 2005 a similar Exhibition was again held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in White Rock, followed by similar exhibitions at St. Stephen ’s parish church in North Vancouver, and at Sts. Peter & Paul parish church in Vancouver.

Students Viewing The Exhibit | Good Shepherd ChurchStudents Viewing The Exhibit | Good Shepherd Church
Photo © Robert Francis Studios

The museum boards are made of light material and are about 3 ft x 7 ft in size. The stands for the boards are made of aluminum, and are designed to provide a rigid structure for the boards. The Shroud replica is the largest object in the Exhibition, and is about 4 ft x 14 ft in size; it has its own frame for mounting. Other elements of the Exhibition include replicas of the instruments of crucifixion and a “map ” that informs visitors what to look for on the Shroud replica.

The Exhibition objects have been made for traveling, and the Association will respectfully entertain requests to mount an Exhibition in other cities or parishes. An exhibition can be mounted in various kinds of space, and the number of objects, including museum boards, can be reduced for spaces that are limited.

The replica of the Shroud itself is an object of importance to the Association, since all of us on the Committee consider the Shroud of Turin itself to be that which once wrapped the body of Jesus Christ in his tomb. Those who are interested in having an Exhibition are requested to mount the replica in such a way that the sentiments of those who believe the Shroud to be authentic are respected.

The objectives of the Association are both to inform people about the Shroud of Turin, and to encourage devotion to the Man whom it represents. Even if the Shroud of Turin is not “the real thing ”, it is so reminiscent of the One whom Christians worship that all who see it immediately wonder about its origin, and about the identity of the mysterious figure so clearly exhibited on it.

The Shroud Exhibit | Good Shepherd ChurchThe Shroud Exhibit | Good Shepherd Church
Photo © Robert Francis Studios

Founding Members of the Vancouver Shroud Association:

  • Hugh Buckley
  • Fr. Stan Galvon
  • Fr. John Horgan
  • Carolyn Wharton
  • Phillip Wiebe

Honorary Members:

  • Emanuela Marinelli
  • Barrie Schwortz