London: Pope Francis has drawn an explicit link between Christ and the ghostly image imprinted on the Turin Shroud but stopped short of declaring it the true burial cloth of Jesus.
The current pope made his first remarks on the mysterious cloth since being elected Pope in a special video message as the shroud was shown live on television for only the second time in its history.
His remarks came on Holy Saturday, which falls between the commemoration of Christ`s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday, the Telegraph reported.
"This face has eyes that are closed, it is the face of one who is dead, and yet mysteriously he is watching us, and in silence he speaks to us," he said.
However his observations did not go beyond the non-committal approach taken by the Catholic Church on the question of the shroud`s authenticity.
Observers noted that his use of the word "icon" fell short of the claim by some that the shroud is a "relic" of the crucifixion.
He likened the look of suffering on the face of the man to the pain and horrors endured by the victims of modern war and conflict.
The Vatican has never pronounced one way or the other whether it believes the shroud to be genuine.