Jesuit Priest Who Studied Shroud Of Turin Dies
CHICAGO (AP) _ The Rev. Francis L. Filas, a Jesuit priest and theology professor who gained international recognition for his study of the Shroud of Turin, has died of a heart attack. He was 69.
Filas, a Loyola University faculty member for 35 years, was pronounced dead Friday at Edgewater Hospital, said the Rev. Paul Clifford, a superior at the Loyola University Jesuit Community.
For 35 years, Filas studied the shroud, traditionally venerated as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, Clifford said.
But in 1981, Filas was criticized when he said an impression on the shroud matched a rare Roman coin dating back to around A.D. 30. He said the match proved that the shroud was used to bury a crucified Jew in Palestine around that time, making it a mathematical probability that it was used by Jesus.
Some scientists who have studied the shroud, kept at Turin, Italy, say it is a fake, created by artisans much later.
Filas also was an expert on the Roman Catholic theology of St. Joseph, the father of Jesus, and wrote seven of his 10 books on the subject.
A memorial Mass will be said Monday night at St. Ignatius Church for Filas, who donated his body to science.