Les chemins du Saint-Suaire - THE ROUTES OF THE HOLY SHROUD

history, art, traditions and … hiking


The Holy Shroud was recorded as having been kept in Constantinople in 1203. However, it vanished in 1204, when the town was raided. Crusader Othon de la Roche, a Burgundian nobleman from Rigney, is sus-
pected of stealing and concealing it. In 1357, Jeanne de Verny, one of his descendants, the wife of Geoffrey de Charny, ‘inherited’ the Shroud and entrusted it to the canons of the church of Lirey in order to allow its ‘ostension’. Jeanne de Verny’s granddaughter, Marguerite de Charny, kept it in the church of Saint-Hippolyte (Burgundy). In 1453, she passed it on to Louis I of Savoy. As soon as the Holy Shroud was acquired, the Savoy family placed themselves under its protection.


In 1536, as the troops of the French King Francis I were advancing on Savoy, and as reformists from Bern and Geneva, as well as the Vaudois of Piedmont, were exerting greater pressure on the Duke of Savoy, Charles III left Chambéry in haste with his family. The relic had been moved a few months earlier to safety. Charles III reached Turin over the Arnès Pass, and then travelled to Vercelli and finally Milan, where he asked his brother-in-law, Emperor Charles V, to protect him. In 1559, his son and successor, Duke Emmanuel-Philibert, nicknamed ‘Iron Head’, recovered almost all the states of Savoy under the terms of the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis In 1561, the Shroud was brought back to Chambéry. In 1563, Turin became the capital of the states of Savoy. In 1578, in order to be amenable to the Cardinal of Milan, Charles Borromeo, who vowed to go on foot to Chambéry to worship the Shroud once the ‘Great Plague’, or ‘Black Death’, was over, and in order to shorten the latter’s pilgrimage, Emmanuel-Philibert ‘translated’ the Holy Shroud to Turin, assuring the population of Chambéry that the relic would be returned. But it remained in Turin from then on. The diplomatic transfer was discreetly organised over the Autaret Pass and the Viù valley. Humbert II, the former king of Italy, donated the Holy Shroud to the Vatican in 1983. The Shroud is now kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist of Turin and from 2014, the diocese of Chambéry owns two full-scale replicas of the Holy Shroud.


From Chambéry through Bessans to the Averole valley, the routes go over two passes on the territory of the Duchy of Savoy, the Arnès pass (3,010 m), and its descent into the Ala valley, and the Autaret pass (3,072 m), which descends towards the Viù valley. Turin is reached through ‘Marguerite’s Lands’. This territory, the Lanzo valleys (Alà and Viù), ruled by the Laws of Marguerite written in the mid fourteenth century, remained faithful to the House of Savoy in the sixteenth century.

Itinerary across Savoy:
Chambéry, Myans, Montmélian, Arbin, Saint-Pierre-d’Albigny, Chamoux-sur-Gelon, Les Hurtières, La Chapelle, La Chambre, St-Jean-de-Maurienne, St-Michel-de-Maurienne, Modane, Bramans, Termignon, Lanslebourg, Lanslevillard, Bessans, La Goulaz, Vincendières, Avérole, and the Arnes and Autaret passes.

Itinerary across Piedmont in Italy:
– through the Alà Valley: Arnès Pass, Balme, Voragno, Lanzo, Ciriè, Nole, San Maurizio Canavese, Stura.
– through the Viù Valley: Autaret Pass, Usseglio, Venera (Fucine), Richiaglio, Biolaj, Portia Pass, Val della Torre-Brione, Lucento, Porte Palatine.
The Routes of the Holy Shroud itinerary follows old mule and mountain paths turned into walking trails. On occasion, there are detours enabling people to visit museums and sites of interest. At times, the itinerary follows tarmacked roads enabling people to drive directly to places of interest.


Percorsi Sindonici
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