If we beleive that the shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Christ we can see that the nails were placed in his wrists so why do the saints who claim to have the stigmata do the nail holes appear in the palms of their hands?

I was always curious about this. Any thoughts?

“If we believe…” That’s a very big if.

An alternative thought is that Jesus was lashed to the crossbeam of the cross by ropes as the main support, with nails driven through his hands. That’s also a possibility. After all, the New York Times official photographer was not there to take a picture. It is all conjecture.

I don’t believe that the exact replication of the crucifixion in the stigmata is a necessary factor in it being a gift/sign, whatever you want to call it. It’s the relative location of the wounds that is important.

One other thought on the crucifixion. That method of execution was death by slow suffocation. It took many hours, sometimes days for the victim to die. Christ died in three hours, and at the end, he cried out in a loud voice. People suffocating don’t cry out in a loud voice. My opinion, Jesus died of exsanguination, or bleeding out. The scourging he received was brutal, and that combined with the nails led to that end. I add this because like you, I’ve always been curious about it. I think a lot of the artistic representations don’t capture the reality of Christ’s suffering on Good Friday. Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” probably captured it in better (if not perfect) detail.



…it is interesting that you profess to being Catholic and start a discussion about the Shroud of Turin with “if we believe…”

Do you Believe that Christ Resurrected from the Dead that First Day of the week as Scriptures tells us?

…working from the assumption that you do (as must all Christians) then lets see what we can find out about the Shroud…

It can’t be duplicated… no matter how much they try, scholars and today’s tech cannot duplicate the Shroud.

It is said to be in 3D–the front and back of a male about 30 something who seems to have experienced what Scriptures depict as the Passion and Death (by Crucifixion).

It is said that it must have taken an extreme energy release to have superimposed the 3D image… overlaid on the material (no actual impregnation of the material by paints/stains/oils…).

It is said that the image must have taken place as the body was laid on a flat and elevated position.

It is said that, from the findings, the person bled into the Shroud from various flagging and from a crown of thorns (I cannot recall, but I think it also mentions the piercing of the side)… and that the thumbs seemed to have disappeared (depiction only shows the four fingers) as a result of the nails on the wrists cutting off the cluster of nerves…

It seems that this last issue is what you are contesting…

What did people believe?

Scriptures do not state that Jesus was nailed through His Wrists but through the hands.

Why the disparity?

a) The findings could be wrong; unless a specific scientific model can prove that the reaction of the thumbs could only be due to the nailing through the wrists and that similar reaction could not take place by the nailing through the palm of the hand and/or the experience of “x” number of hours hanging while nailed through the palm of the hands on a cross.

b) The Stigmata is based on Faith. Since throughout history it has been depicted and understood as Jesus being nailed through the palm of the hands, could the phenomenon not have generated from the faithful’s understanding of the Crucifixion (palm vs. wrist)?

Maran atha!


First off as I recall one examiner noted too that there the entry or exit (I forget) -one was more towards the palm and the other in the wrist.

For the palms would not hold up a person on the a cross…

That being noted.

Do I believe humanly that the Shroud is authentic? Yes. It rather seems so to me. And it is consistent with crucifixion.

So then what about the Saints etc who received authentic Stigmata- but purely in the palms?

Would it be perhaps disconcerting for a person to receive the stigmata in a way that is contrary to their understanding at the time of the crucifixion?

Yes I think that could be so.

Keep in mind with art and popular devotion over the centuries depicting it only in the palms…it is understandable that the stigmata would appear so (the person and others might be quite confused otherwise).

No Catholic is ever required to believe that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Christ. You can make up your own mind upon analysis of the available evidence.

I do not believe the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Christ. There have many threads on this.

St Padre Pio had stigma, all 5 wounds + shoulder

Galatians 6:17(NRSVCE)

From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.

Such does not per se mean that Saint Paul bore the “stigmata”. Sure some have suggested such over the years but it does not mean that he did.

It’s possible that the nails were driven into the palm of the hand near the base of the thumb on a diagonal and therefore exited through the wrist.

Well, there’s the whole issue of whether the Shroud of Turin is authentic or not, and if it is authentic (i.e. a real burial cloth from antiquity as opposed to some manufactured item), whether the person it originally belonged to is Jesus or not. I believe it is, but of course not everyone does; it’s not really an article of faith, and even if I do, I don’t really put much stock in it.

(To be frank, I do think the Shroud is a little overrated. Seriously, people are using it uncritically to determine how crucifixions were performed in antiquity, when (1) its authenticity is still an open question, and, even if it is authentic and is Jesus’, (2) it only tells us how Jesus was crucified; we cannot just assume the other people crucified throughout the history of the Roman Empire were executed in the exact same way as He was.)

Here’s the thing: the Shroud really shows just one arm, and where the nail would have exited - not where it was driven in. In other words, it only shows us that in one arm, the nail exited through the wrist area. We don’t know where the nail entered, and we don’t know about what happened to the other arm.

Secondly, as the other posters have said, the stigmata are not meant to be a historically-accurate recreation of how Jesus was nailed to the cross anyway.

Does Scripture say our Lord suffocated?


Hi, Faith!


…that’s another unknown/not (pardon the graphics) nailed-down factor–it could well be that the nail was driven from the palm of the hand through the wrist or simply that the term “hand,” during Jesus’ time, was inclusive of the wrist.

However, as a sign of Faith, the Stigmata would have to be reconciled (in the mind and experience of the person receiving it) with the understanding of the Faithful.

Further, the Stigmata could very well emanate from the Believer’s own mind and body… replicating, as it were, what was understood about Jesus’ Crucifixion.

Maran atha!


I started my post that way because Rome has not definitively called the Shroud a relic. I beleive it is the burial cloth of Christ.

I think it is, too.

I don’t and there is no proof it is authentic.

Also a person’s faith should not be so weak they get fanatic about things like this.

There have been about 500 reported cases of stigmata, but you are aware that pretty much every stigmatic has been unique in one way or another, right? So should we not believe in stigmatics because this person’s manifestation of stigmata doesn’t match that person’s stigmata?

For example—

  • St. Francis never bled from his hands and feet; only his side. He was the only stigmatic to have nails appear in his wounds, but they were nails made of his flesh.
  • Juana of the Cross’ wounds gave forth the smell of perfume
  • St. Christina of Stommeln had wounds in her hand, feet, forehead, and side. They bled ever Easter.
  • Maria Domenica Lazzeri would receive the stigmata every Thursday evening to Friday afternoon, but would recover completely by Friday evening.
  • Catherine of Siena had hers, but prayed that they become invisible. They later became visible once again upon her deathbed.
  • Rita of Cascia had a forehead wound. People would sometimes observe a light coming from it.
  • Bl. Osanna of Mantua received her stigmata, but they were very faint during her life. They became very distinct after her death.
  • Padre Pio’s stigmata disappeared without a scar in the last few days of his death.
  • Teresa of Avila had a transverberation, which is a stigmata of the heart, like a puncture.
  • St. Catherine d’Ricci had the stigmata all the time, but relived the Passion every Thursday/Friday.
  • Ven. Catherine Anne Emmerich had an external wound over her heart, and an internal 3-inch wound upon her heart in the shape of a cross.
  • Marie-Rose Ferron had stigmata, including the shoulder stigmata, which manifested as a red blotch, whereas the others were more like scars.
  • Therese Neumann had 45 distinguishable marks from the Passion, and suffered the Passion an estimated 750 times during her life.
  • Passitea of Siena had the usual stigmata, and then received an invisible heart stigmata. She said that her heart had been removed during the course of this mystical union. 23 years later, after her death, her critical bishop asked for an autopsy. Her heart had the outer wall, but the inner bits were only a bit of dried muscle.

So, if you sort of look at it from the perspective that we’re dealing with spiritual truths, which is much bigger/far less limited than mere medical truth, or scientific truth, or historic truth. The whole point of the Shroud, and of Stigmatics in general, are to call to mind the Passion and Suffering of Jesus, in order to save souls. Few of us have the spiritual chops to deal with what a genuine mystic experiences. If you’re looking at the Shroud, and mentally comparing it to stigmatics A, B, and C, and deciding that none of the four match, so they all must be fake… Or even that, “Hey, medical truth sez blood doesn’t smell like flowers, so this stigmatic is obviously a fake” or “Hey, scientific truth sez he should bleed to death, and he hasn’t, so he’s fake, too”… it’s missing the point.

And for what it’s worth, I looked up the word “wrist” in my Cassell’s. It says “prima palmae pars (Cels.)”. Presumably, that’s an attribution to the 2nd. c. author, Celsus (Kelsos/Κέλσος), who was famous for Origen’s rebuttal to his work, in “Contra Celsum”. I’ve read that during the time the Gospels were composed (1st c., around 70-80-90) that they didn’t actually have a word for “wrist” in Latin/Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic. The word “hand” (“manus”) covered pretty much everything that a cubit measured-- from the forefinger to the elbow. (They did have a distinction between fingers and thumbs, though.) The Latin “carpus” comes from the Greek “karpos”, which seems to usually mean “fruit” during our period, but may possibly have come from the Indo-European base “kwerp-” which means “to turn”. But according to the etymology I’m reading, you don’t get “carpus” as “wrist” until the 17th century. So it took about 1500 years between Celsus identifying the wrist as “prima palmae pars” and modern anatomists to say, “Hey, let’s call this a carpus.” I don’t have sufficient Greek to sift through the fruit vs. wrist meanings of καρπός, but someone with better linguistics than I have can probably find the first cited usage of καρπός in an anatomical sense. But the second point is, I’m 99.9% sure you’re reading your Bible in translation, and first-century authors didn’t really have the same nuance of vocabulary that you and I have with 21st-c. English…

tl;dr: #1: Spiritual truth. #2: Etymology.

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