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Prószyński Kazimierz (1875–1945)

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Krzysztof Pilarczyk
Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

Polish engineer, mechanic, inventor and constructor of film apparatus, pioneer of world cinematography, murdered during World War II by the Germans in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp at the age of 69. In 1932, he published the first Polish pamphlet entitled The Unheard-of Scientific Discovery: How the True Photograph of the Lord Jesus and the Traces of His Entire Passion on the Shroud Has Been Preserved Until Our Time and Recently Revealed [Polish: Niesłychane odkrycie naukowe. W jaki sposób przechowała się do naszych czasów i jak się niedawno ujawniła prawdziwa fotografja Pana Jezusa i ślady całej męki Jego na Całunie] with the Imprimatur of the Warsaw Metropolitan Curia (Warsaw, 15 pp.). This work was previously printed in the Gazeta Świąteczna, but a considerable amount of additions and clarifications have been added to the present edition, as the author points out in the introduction (p. 3).

The immediate inspiration for K. Prószyński’s interest in the Shroud was the exposure of the cloth to the public in Turin Cathedral in 1931 and the taking of photographs of it by →Giuseppe Enrie, and earlier in 1898 by the amateur photographer →Secondo Pia, which revealed that the reflection of the human figure on the cloth was—to the surprise of all and the disbelief of some—a negative. Kazimierz Prószyński included five selected engravings of these photographs and a description of the Shroud and presented attempts to explain the origins of the negative reflection, following the scientific works of Arthur Loth (Le Portrait de N.-S. Jésus-Christ d’après le Saint-Suaire de Turin, avec reproductions photographiques, Paris ca. 1900) and Paul Vignon (Le Linceul du Christ, étude scientifique, 2e éd., Paris 1902). This is probably the first more extensive description of the Shroud published in Poland, leading to the conclusion that it can be said—more than 30 years after its first photograph was taken—that it is Christ’s Shroud rather than an artificial painting, as it was believed for years. A year after the Polish edition of the booklet, its translation was published in English in London under the title The Authentic ‘Photograph’ of Christ (1933).


Kubiatowski J., Prószyński Kazimierz (1875-1945), [in:] Polski słownik biograficzny, Vol. 28, Kraków [i in.] 1984–1985, pp. 560–563.

Pilarczyk K., Polscy syndonolodzy. Z dziejów badań Całunu Turyńskiego i ich popularyzacji, “Collectanea Theologica” 2018, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 20–21, https://doi.org/10.21697/ct.2018.88.2.02.

Source of Image

Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kazimierz_Prószyński_1909.jpg (public domain)

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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