A Vatican scholar claims to have deciphered Jesus Christ's 'death certificate' on the Turin Shroud, or Holy Shroud.
It is a linen cloth revered by Christians and held by many to bear the image of the crucified Jesus.
Dr Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican secret archives, said "I think I have managed to read the burial certificate of Jesus the Nazarene, or Jesus of Nazareth."
The expert at the secret Vatican archive said she has found the words "Jesus Nazarene" on the shroud, proving it was the linen cloth which was wrapped around Christ's body.
She said computer analysis of photographs of the shroud revealed extremely faint words written in Greek, Aramaic and Latin which attested to its authenticity, reports The Times.
However, her claims were instantly challenged by scholars who said that radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 showed the shroud, kept in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral, to be a medieval forgery.
But Frale, who is to publish her findings in a new book, La Sindone di Gesu Nazareno (The Shroud of Jesus of Nazareth) said that the inscription provided "historical date consistent with the Gospels account".
She claimed she had been able to decipher a jumble of phrases written in three languages, including the Greek words (I)esou(s) Nnazarennos, or Jesus the Nazarene, and (T)iber(iou), which she interprets as Tiberius, the Roman emperor at the time of Christ's crucifixion.
The text also mentions that the man who was wrapped in the shroud had been condemned to death, she believes. The hidden text was in effect the "burial certificate" for Jesus Christ, Frale said.