In 1983, King Umberto II of Italy, the claimant king of Jerusalem and head of the royal House of Savoy, died. He had been in sole guardianship of the Shroud of Turin, the cloth Jesus of Nazareth was purportedly buried in. In the King’s last will and testament he officially transferred custodial stewardship of the Shroud to the Catholic Pope and his successors, thus ending the centuries old private ownership of the foundational archeological relic of Christianity.

The Silent Gospel - History of the Shroud of Turin, is a docudrama script that tells the story of the Shroud in the context of its position amidst an epic age old struggle between two giant forces that came to sculpt Western culture – the Templars and the Roman Catholic Church.

There were many forms of Christianity in it's early years, and five main geo-political centers that eventually came to govern the growing spiritual movement. By the third century, these hubs were located in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Rome. Each wing preached their unique version of Christianity. The Greek center of Constantinople held the most power and influence due to it being the seat of the Emperor and center of governance for the Roman Empire.

This center of power radically shifted in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, where the Latin armies ransacked this Greek capital of the Christian world. It was one of the most destructive pillaging the world had experienced since the fall of Jerusalem in 68 AD. During this war, the burial Shroud of Jesus was secreted away from Constantinople. This war created the great and final schism between the Greek and Latin sects of Christianity, and the beginning of what would come to be an epic struggle over Christian truth that lasts to the present day.

What lies at the heart of that battle is encoded in a wordless testament known by the elite Protectors of Truth, as the Silent Gospel – the burial shroud that is today housed in a chapel in Turin, Italy.

In the twelfth century, what would become one of the Church’s main rivalries was the organization called the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, known today simply as the Templars. They were the world’s first multinational organization and were at the peak of their power and influence during the Fourth Crusade (1190-1204). The Templars began activity by 1119 and were endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church only in 1129, some ten years after the fact. To describe this organization as any one thing is a simplification with broad inherent dangers. They were a complex organization with many interests and agenda’s. To simply look at the military side or the monastic side fails to recognize the business and political aspects, which in its heyday were extraordinary. It was a highly hierarchical venture with many levels of operation, and can be broadly defined as having four pillars – spiritual, political, military and business. Originally chartered as a spiritual organization with a military policing mandate, its function rapidly morphed, as did its influence. On the business side, it was a diverse multinational association with massive landholdings. Operations were divided into banking, insurance, transportation, and commodities divisions. It loaned sovereigns needed cash, and insured transported goods and information. Politically it had relationships with all the wealthy and royal houses of Europe and the Mediterranean and a spy network to rival all. It worked both sides like any of today’s multinational corporation. Because of the multi-sided political associations, it developed a broad underground network of spies and safe houses to fulfill its obligations. As such, it developed some of the most secure encryption methodologies as well as recognition rituals. An example might be a specific handshake and greeting. It built up the largest naval fleet and carried out some of the most secure operations of its day. It became a state within a state with its own standing army. It's growing power and wealth began to make it a target of the monarchies and royal families they served so honorably.

Prior to the wars of the Fourth Crusade, the Roman Catholic Church had suppressed its opposition through proclamations of heresy, ecclesiastical proscription or imprisonment, and rarely resorted to the torture and executions it had imposed on it by Roman early in the history of Christianity. But the Church’s approach to its enemies (other forms of teach the teachings of Jesus) would eventually shift back to its earlier forms of punishment. Between 1184 and 1230, the Roman Catholic Church, specifically the Pope and the Prefect of the Curia orchestrated a form of ecclesiastical tribunals, historically seen as expurgation movements against heresy. The Prefect rules the Roman Catholic Court and is second in command to the Pope himself. The main job is to see to it that the Churches dictates are followed by the flock (sheep) to the letter. In short, the tribunal was an institutionalized strategy by the Roman Catholic Church to gain wealth and power. The suppression, using this method, began in what is today southern France and northern Italy. It centered on the spiritual movements called the Cathars and Waldensians. The tribunal’s extreme success prompted the same kind of activity to follow throughout Europe. At the same time plans were under way to return the seat of power from Constantinople back to Rome.
This newly institutionalized method was to be honed over the next 100 years into the perfection that was used to bring about the betrayal and dissolution of the Templars.

The legal basis for some of the inquisitorial activity came from Pope Innocent IV papal bull, Ad exstirpanda, of 1252. He authorized and outlined the use of torture in investigating heresy, thereby institutionalizing it to this day. By 1300 the “inquisitional system” had become a well-honed vehicle of control. And between 1307-1314 it was used extensively by the Roman Catholic Church, with the support and prodding of the then French King Philip, to effectively dismember and dismantle the Templar Organization. Like the Cathars or the Greek Orthodox Christian Church before them, the Temporal powers of the Roman Church and its Court diminished opposition and consolidated its control of its preferred version of the truth; truth about the teaching, the history and the Popes inalienable right as the voice of Jesus on this planet.

This dismantling forced the massive organization of the Templars to restructure and go underground, resulting in the development of secret societies whose members were a select group of royals with family allegiances to the early Burgundian elite. They developed new mandates and a new set of goals for these Secret Orders. One directive, an imperative, was to diminish the “temporal power of the Roman Catholic Church and castrate the Curia of its source of power”; this being the Office of the Inquisition.

From its inception, the elite of the Templar organization had always been those descendants of a specific lineage of Franks known in the early days as the Merovingian Dynasty, later called the Franks, and a tribe from the Burgundian regions. The Burgundian lineage would after the fall of the Franks produce the longest ruling royal house on the planet, the House of Savoy. This royal house gained considerable prestige and power when it became the stewards in charge of the protection of the burial shroud of Jesus the Christ.
There are several theories on how the shroud came into the possession of Geoffroi de Charny but it is clear that Geoffroi was the nephew of one of the key leaders of the Templars in France. In fact he was named after him.

Historical documents show that on 20 June, 1353, Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Savoisy and Lirey, nephew of the Templar leader burnt alive at the stake alongside the last Templar Grandmaster, founded a collegiate church with six canonries in Lirey, in honor of the Annunciation. In this church he exposed for veneration the Holy Winding Sheet we today call the Shroud of Turin. Again there are two Geoffrey de Charneys, one was a leading French Templar burnt at the stake next to the Templar Grand Master in 1314 by the King and the other is the nephew and famous celebrity knight, author and scholar that ends up with the Shroud. It is not a stretch to imagine how he might have been given the Shroud for safe keeping during the demise of the Templars in France.
In 1418 during the civil wars in France, the granddaughter of Geoffrey the author and scholar, Margaret de Charny married Count de La Roche, Lord of Lirey, and brought the treasured Shroud with her to her new residence. In the year 1452, Margaret, now the childless widow of Humbert, face excommunication from the Church for not returning her possession, the Shroud, back to the cannons at Lirey. She cut a deal with the Duke of Savoy in order to protect it from the church. She transferred possession of the Shroud to the Duke of Savoy by handing it over to the Duke new wife Anne de Lusignan – Anne of Cyprus- heiress of Cyprus and Jerusalem. It has remained in this ruling family’s hands until the 1983 transfer to the papacy on the death of King Umberto II King of Italy.

This begs the question, why? Why after all these many years did the House of Savoy give this holiest of relics to its sworn archenemy?

Historical documents have recorded this perennial struggle between these two organized forces – the Catholic Church and the descendants of the Templar royalty – the ruling house of the Burgundian regions. Their conflict seemingly heated up with two major political events in the 1900’s. The Vatican State was created in 1929, where, for the first time, the Church was subject to international law. Additionally, in 1947, the Italian Constitution legalized the expulsion of male heirs of the house of Savoy from Italy, whereby The Italian Republic barred all male heirs to the defunct Italian throne from setting foot on Italian soil in life or death. Female members of the Savoy family were not barred except consort queens.

The 980-year reign of the royal house of Savoy ended with the death of King Umberto, March 18, 1983. No representative of the Italian government attended his funeral at his death in the family’s geographic heartland, Geneva.
Coincidently, March 18 was the same date the King burnt Geoffrey de Charney, the Preceptor of Normandy of the Knights Templar the stake along with the Templar’s Grandmaster Jacques de Molay in 1314. March 18 was also the first official day of the establishment of new Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946), which the royal house of Savoy created. It was later to become the modern day Republic of Italy with the creation of the Constitution in 1946.

The Pope is Bishop of Rome, as such he is the head of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. He is considered unofficially the “white pope”.
The Roman Curia has two Prefects, of the Papal Household and the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Roman Catholic Church. The Pope and the Prefect are the governing heads of this organization. The Curia and its offices coordinates and provides the necessary central organization for the correct functioning of the Church and the achievement of its goals. The power to fore fill its goals comes from one specific congregation or office.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei), previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, and before that the Holy Office of the Inquisition or sometimes simply called the Holy Office. It is the oldest of the nine congregations (Offices) of the Roman Curia and is among the most active of these major Curial departments. It oversees and enforces Catholic doctrine at all levels. It is the discipline and enforcement office for insuring the secular and temporal directive of the court and Pope (Holy See) are adhered to. The CDF as it is known is the modern name for what used to be the Holy Office of the Inquisition.
The Prefect or unofficially the “red” pope has authority over all territories within the Curia (court) of the Roman Catholic Church, including the Holy Office of the Inquisition or now the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), so renamed in 1965.

This Office has played a major role in Western history.

Pope Benedict XVI previously Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger was the Perfect of the Curia and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith from 1981 until he the day he was elected Pope. He was also the Dean of the College of Cardinals, plus he served as the primus inter pares or first among equals, first among peers.
He has overseen, from at the very least, all things having to do with the Shroud since his appointment by the pope as Prefect of the Curia in 1981.
The Shroud was officially headed over in 1983 with the death of king Umberto II.

The question is why? Why now, after over 800 years of struggles to keep it safe from the Roman Churches hands, why now hand it over?

James Andrew Barrett
Nevada City, Ca.

The script is complete and ready for review.

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