Michael Hesemann

Religious historian

Michael Hesemann has become one of the most important religious historians in the world. Accredited as a journalist by the Holy See Press Office, he is one of few academic historians who have been granted access to the Vatican Secret Archives for research.

Born in Duesseldorf, Germany, he studied history, cultural anthropology and journalism at Germany’s Goettingen University.

In the late 1990s, Hesemann began researching the “titulus Crucis,” a relic reported to be the inscription of Jesus’ cross. Seven Israeli experts on comparative palaeography dated the relic into the first century AD, and Blessed Pope John Paul II personally received Hesemann in a Dec. 17, 1998, audience where he presented the Holy Father with his findings.

In 2000, Hesemann published “Die stummen Zeugen von Golgota” (The Silent Witness of Golgota), considered to be the first complete study on the relics of Christ’s Passion.

After extensive research into the “Santo Caliz” (Holy Chalice), which is venerated in the Cathedral of Valencia, Spain, Hesemann in 2003 wrote “Die Entdeckung des Heiligen Grals” (The Discovery of the Holy Grail), in which he reports his findings that the relic is, indeed, the Holy Grail – the chalice Jesus used at the Last Supper.

Also in 2003, Hesemann and the late historian Prof. Eva-Maria Jung-Inglessis wrote “Der erste Papst” (The First Pope), an archaeological biography of St. Peter following the discovery of his tomb beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

He published a similar biography of St. Paul in 2008 on the occasion of the “Pauline Year” of 2008-09.

Hesemann also has extensively researched the Shroud of Turin and the Sudario (blood cloth) of Oviedo, Spain.

Hesemann has written more than 30 books, and has been involved in the production of a number of documentaries throughout his career.

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