Turin Shroud to be exhibited for first time in a decade

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Vatican officials say they expect two million people to view the Turin Shroud, the cloth said to have covered the body of Christ, when it goes on display next month.

The linen sheet bearing the image of Jesus has captivated the imagination of historians, church chiefs, sceptics and Catholics for more than 500 years.

It is due to go on display for six weeks after Easter and among those who are due to view it are Pope Benedict XVI.

Vatican officials have stressed the event was "spiritual" and not "religious tourism".

The shroud will be displayed at Turin Cathedral, where it has been kept for more than 500 years, and where it was last on display to the public ten years ago for the Church's Jubilee Millennium celebration.

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