© Stephen E. Jones
This is part #2, "Second century," of my "Chronology of the Turin Shroud: AD 30 to the present" series. See part #1, "First century" and index, for more information about this series.
2nd century (101-200)
c. 150 Several second century Christian writings record that the Shroud had been saved from Jesus' tomb: the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Acts of Pilate / Acts of Nicodemus, the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Gamaliel. This shows that second century writers knew the Shroud existed in their day. They disagree about who saved it from the tomb, but they agree that it had been saved.
177 Accession of Edessa's king Abgar VIII, the Great. Abgar VIII (r. 177-212), also counted as Abgar IX. His full name was Lucius Aelius Septimius Megas Abgarus. He was a ruler of Osroene, a Syriac-speaking kingdom in Upper Mesopotamia, whose capital city was Edessa. Abgar VIII was Edessa's (and presumably the world's) first Christian king, as is evident from some of his coins which were the first to feature a Christian symbol: a prominent Christian cross on his crown (see below).
[Above (enlarge): Second century Edessan coin, one side with Abgar VIII wearing a crown bearing a Christian cross (right), and on the other side the head of the Roman emperor Commodus (r. 180-192) (left).]
c. 180 Abgar VIII has inserted into Edessa's archives fictitious correspondence between Abgar V and Jesus. This "pious fraud" [see "50"] became the basis of the "Legend of Abgar" which, as we shall see, was added to and modified over subsequent centuries as more information about the Shroud became known.
c. 183 During the tolerant reign of Roman Emperor Commodus (r. 180-192) Abgar VIII asked Pope Eleutherus (175-189) to send missionaries to Edessa. In Abgar VIII's reign Edessa became a Christian city [see "201"], as evidenced by this stone Christian cross over a lion's head in a former fountain in modern Sanliurfa (ancient Edessa) [Right (enlarge)], which has survived the almost complete eradication of Edessa's Christian history since the Muslim conquest in 1144. The lion was the symbol of the Abgar dynasty, which ceased ruling over Edessa after Abgar VIII's death in 212 [see "212"].
190 Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215) in his Outlines, listed the burial places of Jesus's disciples, including that Thaddaeus/Addai was with that of Thomas "in the Britio of the Edessans," that is Edessa's birtha, or citadel [see "205"].
194 Abgar VIII supported Parthia in its war against Rome, leading Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (r. 193-211) to take Edessa's rule from him and give it to a procurator, until 197-198 when Abgar VIII assisted Rome in its defeat of Parthia [see "202"].
Continued in part #3, "3rd century," of this series.
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to quote from any part of this post (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. "Jewish Origins of the Cross: Kingdom of Edessa, Commodus & Abgar VIII (179-214)," VCoins, 2016. [return]
3. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.146G. [return]
Posted: 5 August 2016. Updated: 10 November 2016.