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Chmiel Jerzy (1936–2016)

Home » People » Chmiel Jerzy (1936–2016)

Krzysztof Pilarczyk
Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

Polish Catholic priest, theologian, biblical scholar, graduate of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, lecturer and assistant professor at the Pontifical Academy of Theology (now the Pontifical John Paul II University in Krakow), multiple dean of the university’s Faculty of Theology, long-time editor of the quarterly “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” [English: Biblical and Liturgical Movement], founder of the Syndonological Studies at the Polish Theological Society, established at the request of John Paul II in 1981. The aim of the Study was—as stated in its regulations—the coordination of the scientific research of Polish sindonologists, the coordination of information and popularisation activities concerning the Shroud among the society along with maintaining contacts with similar institutions domestically and abroad. Jerzy Chmiel cooperated with →Stanisław Waliszewski, →Władysław Fenrych and →Jerzy Dołęga-Chodasiewicz. As part of the Study, scientific conferences and popular science lectures were organised in churches and church buildings in various places in Poland.

The period of martial law in Poland (1981–1983) was not initially conducive to the conduct of statutory activities, but as early as 1984 J. Chmiel organised a syndonological session at the Higher Seminary of the Archdiocese of Cracow, where he gave a lecture on the Theology of the Shroud of Turin – an Outline. A similar session was held a year later. This time the theme of his talk was The Testimony of the Fourth Gospel—New Exegetical Proposals. On his initiative, members of the Study participated in many conferences abroad in the following years and spoke on the controversial results of the study of the Shroud announced in 1988, defending its antiquity. Over time, the Study, thanks to the kindness of Dr Emanuela Marinelli, maintained regular contact with the Roman Collegamento pro Sindone and completed the documentation of two international syndonological congresses (Turin—1998 and Orvieto—2000).

J. Chmiel’s views on the Shroud of Turin have evolved. In the beginning, he, like many historians and biblical scholars, was sceptic. As he explored the issue more deeply, he became convinced, as it were, and converted to it (Chmiel 1984). For him, the Shroud became a sign of the passion and resurrection of Jesus, although he consciously provided this statement with a question mark in order to make the Shroud a hermeneutical challenge for everyone who approaches it in different ways, a hermeneutical challenge disturbing to the human being who demands his own answer to the question of how to perceive it. J. Chmiel’s syndonological activity has not been completely researched, and the wealth of writings he left behind in this field is only a small reflection of it. One of his most important achievements in the area of sindonology was to inculcate this subject matter into an entire generation of clergy and laity, to whom the Shroud of Turin became known as a precious Christian relic, which, although not a source of faith, deepened it.


Dołęga-Chodasiewicz J., Najnowsze doniesienia [o Całunie], rozm. przepr. K. Urban, “Nasza Arka. Miesięcznik Rodzin Katolickich” 2010, No. 4.

Pilarczyk K., Polska bibliografia syndonologiczna (1900-2020), [in:] idem, Studia z biblistyki, apokryfistyki, judaistyki i syndonologii, Warszawa 2020, pp. 475–504, Rozprawy i Studia Biblijne, Vol. 54.

Pilarczyk K., Polscy syndonolodzy. Z dziejów badań Całunu Turyńskiego i ich popularyzacji, “Collectanea Theologica” 2018, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 29–31, https://doi.org/10.21697/ct.2018.88.2.02.

Syndonological Bibliography

Chmiel J., Całun Turyński znakiem męki i zmartwychwstania Jezusa?, “Tygodnik Powszechny” 1980, Vol. 34, No. 15, pp. 3, 7.

Chmiel J., Polskie badania nad Całunem Turyńskim, “Tygodnik Powszechny” 1984, Vol. 38, No. 16, p. 7.

Chmiel J., Wokół Całunu turyńskiego, “Źródło” 1992, No. 33, p. 10.

Chmiel J., 15-lecie istnienia Studium Syndonologicznego, “Ruch Bib­lijny i Liturgiczny” 1996, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 201–206, https://doi.org/10.21906/rbl.866.

Chmiel J., Tajemni­ca Całunu, “Przekrój” 1998, No. 15(2755), pp. 9–11, with illustrations.

Chmiel J., Całun Turyński Anno Domini 1998, “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 1998, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 47–50, https://doi.org/10.21906/rbl.636.

Chmiel J., „Szukam, o Panie, Twojego oblicza” (Ps 27, 8). Refleksja syndonologiczna, “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 1999, Vol. 52, No. 1, pp. 49–50 (also: “Jezus Żyje” [Mogilany]), https://doi.org/10.21906/rbl.1781.

Chmiel J., La semiotica della Sindone di Torino, [in:] Worldwide Congress “Sindone 2000”: Proceedings of the Congress, Orvieto, August 27-29, 2000 [CD].

Chmiel J., Jan Paweł II i Całun Turyński, [in:] Servo veritatis. Materiały międzynarodowej konferencji dla uczczenia 25-lecia pontyfikatu Jego Świątobliwości Jana Pawła II, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, 9-11 października 2003 r., red. S. Koperek, S. Szczur, Kraków 2003, pp. 763–766.

[translation] Jan Paweł II, Homilia Ojca Świętego (…) podczas liturgii słowa przed wystawionym w katedrze turyńskiej w dniu 24 maja 1998 r., przeł. J. Chmiel, “Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 1998, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 218–221, https://doi.org/10.21906/rbl.678.

Source of Image

Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chmielfoto.JPG (Paweł Piotrowski, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Krzysztof Pilarczyk

Staff member at the Institute of Religious Studies of the Jagiellonian University, head of the Center of the History of Christian-Jewish Relations, associate at the Polish Syndonological Centre in Krakow. His interests focus on the history of Judaism, biblical and apocryphal literature, the origins of Christianity, interreligious dialogue, sindonology, Jewish book culture and religious tourism (Middle East). He publishes his scholarly activity on his website. Author of more than 300 scientific publications.

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