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THE TRUE FACE OF CHRIST


THE SHROUD

 The Burial Linen of Christ



by:

Dom BASILIO MAGNO



BRIEF HISTORY


NO ONE TODAY REALLY KNOWS HOW ONE IS SCOURGED OR CRUCIFIED. When Cardinal Pacelli came to know about it, he said: “We did not know; nobody had ever told us that.” And he went away pale and in grief.

The Shroud tells us how. The greatest proof He died...and eventually rose from the dead.

The Shroud is the burial linen of Christ. It is believed that Thaddeus brought it to Edessa. As early as 436 A.D., it was enshrined in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Blachernae. In 631, St. Braulion, Bishop of Saragossa, wrote about it. The pilgrim Arculphus kissed it in 640. St. John Damascus included the “Sindon” as among the relics venerated by the Christians. As early as the 6th century, 20 known artists painted Christ according to the Shroud as evident in the Pantocrator in Greece, the Mandylion in Byzantium and the Templar image in England.

It seems to have been still in Jerusalem up to the 7th century, brought to Constantinople between the 9th and 12th century. By this time, the face of Christ was noticeable.

The Crusaders brought the Shroud to France where it stayed in the Cathedral of Saint Etienne up to 1349. It disappeared for a while and reappeared in 1357 in the possession of Count Geoffrey de Charny.

In 1452, the Shroud was gifted to Anne de Lusignan, the wife of the Duke of Savoy.

Five popes have given solemn pronouncements that the Shroud is indeed the burial linen of Christ. Unnoticed in the early times and mostly hidden in the last century, the image in the Shroud blasted from obscurity to prominence around 1898 with the science of photography, in an age that needs it most, our age...a continuous Divine Miracle.

 

 

THE SHROUD
An Analysis


FRONT IMAGE


Water stains from putting out 1532 fire.


SWELLING FROM BLOWS TO FACE

Crease in shroud

 

LARGE FLOW OF BLOOD AND FLUID FROM SIDE


 

BLOOD FROM WRIST WOUND DOWN ARM

BLOOD FROM NAIL WOUND IN THE WRIST

 

 

 

The 1532 fire burned an edge of the folded shroud; resulting holes patched in 1532.

 

Scorch along folds from 1532 fire


 

BLOOD FROM NAIL WOUNDS IN THE FEET

 

BACK IMAGE


 

BLOOD FROM PUNCTURE MARKS ON THE HEAD




SHOULDER ABRASIONS


Size of shroud is 14 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 7 inches



BLOOD FROM SIDE WOUND RUNNING TO THE BACK

 

 

Burns prior to 1532

SCOURGE MARKS




 

Narrow side strip attached on unknown date


 

 

Backing cloth; corner section of Shroud missing

 

BLOOD FROM NAIL WOUNDS IN THE FEET

THE BURIAL LINEN OF CHRIST WAS NOT WELL KNOWN. Because of the persecutions, heresies and wars, the Shroud was hidden most of the time. Besides, with the exception of bloodstains, the image was not clear.

The Shroud is 43 inches by 14-1/4 feet, of costly manufacture, made of excellent absorbent linen. There are two prints in the Shroud; firstly, the blood stains which sank deep into the linen and showing, thereby, every wound in Christ’s body. Secondly, the image of the body of Christ, front and back view, in negative form, which is blurred to the naked eye and invisible if viewed at close range. This did not sink deep but is very superficially imprinted; and this image is 3-dimensional. The negative image shows a photographic, not painted, form of a man, which is anatomically perfect. In spite of tortures and wounds, the face has a serene, astounding and adorable majesty exuding divinity.

It was Secondo Pia who first saw the image in its striking detail in a film negative; it showed in its excruciating detail the exact scenario of what happened to Him. A bearded man approximately 5’11” in height, Caucasian; the Shroud shows the front and back of a man, the linen being under Him and folded over the head and covering the front.

He is estimated to be 30-35 years old, about 175 lbs., well built, muscular and one accustomed to manual labor. The body markings show he died a brutal death. The hairstyle and beard are consistent with those of the Sephardic Jews or noble Arabs of the 1st century.

Aside from the Shroud, a piece of linen shut His jaws, thus parting the hair and the beard; also a piece of linen tied His wrists together and another tied His ankles together. His blood type is AB. And he was definitely DEAD. There are no color pigments or traces of brush strokes. Though the blood stains were made by the blood clots, the human image was made in a manner unknown even to modern science. Nature cannot produce that image. How come it is even 3-dimensional?

Frei discovered 49 different spores; 33 grew only in Palestine. And the overlay of the spores shows that the linen thread with traces of cotton puts the Shroud in the 1st century.

The image was caused by a discoloration of the topmost fibrils. Out of 100-200 fibers on each thread, only 2 to 3 were discolored. How did this discoloration happen?

What happened to the man in the Shroud is exactly what happened to the Biblical Christ, proof of which is shown in the conformity to and deviation from the usual manner of crucifixion.





THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN

THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST REALLY BEGINS AT THE NATIVITY; for He alone was born to suffer and die for others. The holocaust begins in the garden of Gethsemane. He is eager to get over the work of redeeming mankind. But His human nature “...began to fear and to be heavy.” He knows the physical torture that is coming.

His human nature would beg, “Father, if You wish, remove this chalice from Me.” Then He sets the example for us all, “...but not My will but Thine be done.” He is in agony. He looks around and sees His three faithful friends asleep. “He prayed longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.” Luke, the physician, has described it with the precision and conciseness of a good clinician.

Hematidrosa, a rare phenomenon, a very special condition experienced by one in utter dread and horror; “in agony”, a combination of struggle and anxiety. Capillaries all over the body burst; the blood mingles with the sweat. This mixture forms into beads, comes out of the pores of the body. The quantity is sufficient that it “trickled down upon the ground.”

The microscopic hemorrhage takes place over His entire body, making His flesh sore and tender. The coming scourging would now become more painful.

 

 

THE SCOURGING


 

The FLAGRUM is a short-handled whip usually with two thongs tipped with the ankle bone of a sheep or a dumbbell-shaped lead, meant to rip out the victim's flesh to pieces.



 

 

Christ is scourged in this position, which explains why His arms were spared.

 

The pelvic region is full of wounds, showing He was naked.

 

One of the two executioners aimed at the legs wherewith the thongs clearly went around the legs and lashed the front and back of the legs. The scourging appears most cruel on the legs.

 

THE DIAGRAM SHOWS HOW CHRIST WAS SCOURGED.

 

CHRIST IS ARRESTED AND SURRENDERED TO THE SOLDIERS. A soldier is Christ’s example of great faith and a soldier at Calvary would proclaim His Divinity. But these soldiers have Satan breathing hatred into them.

They remove His clothes and bind Him naked to a column. His arms are held up in the air with the wrists tied together.

The scourging is done with a flagrum, a whip with numerous thongs, at the end of which lead, in the form of a dumb-bell, is tied.

The strokes are limited to 39 by law but these soldiers go out of control. They want Him to faint. The marks crowd the back, the shoulders and the loins, calves and thighs. Both the thongs and the balls of lead cause a great deal of hemorrhages lowering His resistance.

From the angle of the scourging, there must have been two executioners of unequal height. They take turns in their strokes. At first the strokes leave merely red marks; then the marks turn blue. Then the skin, already tender, begins to break open. The blood pours out; the skin is detached and hangs down. As the scourging continues, the bloody furrows get deeper. The scourging is so severe He continues to bleed six hours later.

His body quivers at every stroke. But He remains silent, which redoubles the satanic rage of His executioners...it is the unchaining of demons. The strokes get more violent and His blood scatters like showers on those around. He should have fallen into His own pool of blood but His tied hands hold Him up. This cruel scourging would hasten His death.

The eyebrows and cheeks are swollen. His nose is broken. And there is swelling around both eyes.

Blood flows from the deep wounds caused by the thorns.

Blood accumulates here, held back by the tight band of plaited rushes.

The crown covers the entire head, top and side. Then a band of rushes goes around the nape up to the forehead to hold the crown together but pressing the thorns deep into the skull.



THE CROWNING WITH THORNS  

 

 

The eyebrows and cheeks are swollen. His nose is broken. And there is swelling around both eyes.

 

 

 

Blood flows from the deep wounds caused by the thorns.

Blood accumulates here, held back by the tight band of plaited rushes.   

 

 

The crown covers the entire head, top and side. Then a band of rushes goes around the nape up to the forehead to hold the crown together but pressing the thorns deep into the skull.

 

 

THEN A DIGRESSION FROM THE USUAL MANNER OF CRUCIFIXION - This Fool claims He is the King of the Jews. A robe, a scepter...and, of course, a CROWN. No crucified man had ever worn a crown, except Christ.

In a corner, there is a bundle of firewood, long flexible branches with long and sharp thorns. They plait this like the bottom of a basket and put it on His head. They press this crown and, with a band of twisted rushes, hold the crown together. The crown is like a cap covering the top and sides of His head; and the band runs around the nape and up to the forehead.

The scalp bleeds profusely. So blood clots form at the top of the head. Some blood streams down to the forehead, crawls under the band of rushes and soaks the hair and beard. The flow of blood, in fact, reveals the band that obstructed its flow.

The soldiers jeer, bow, and kneel, adoring and laughing. But there is nothing funny.

The face is especially cruelly struck. Was it when He was at the Sanhedrin or now with the Legionaries? His face is spat upon, struck with a stick, badly bruising His face, breaking the septum of His nose and twisting it, causing His nose to bleed. His right eye is nearly closed; His cheeks and chin are swollen. His face has haematomes and excoriations at the lower lips and below the right eye. Some hair of the beard has been plucked out.



THE CARRYING OF THE CROSS

The stipes were usually ready, standing in the place of execution.

 

Christ carries only the patibulum as is the usual procedure because the trial and execution are done so hastily that there is no time to make changes. 

 

Because Christ is not as unruly as the other two criminals, His hands are not tied to the patibulum, allowing Him to freely transfer it from one shoulder to the other. His right shoulder is more bruised than the left. There are no back wounds to show He carried the stipe. 

The Patibulum was about 110-125 lbs. It was heavy, even for a strong, healthy man. But superhuman effort is needed to carry it after a scourging.

THE SCOURGING AND THE CROWNING HAVE CAUSED BLOODY WOUNDS; the soldier's cloak used to sneer at His majesty stuck to His wounds.

Now they tear the cloak from Him, reopening all the wounds, and return His own clothes. Then they place the patibulum (i.e., the horizontal beam only) -- around 110-125 lbs. heavy, on His already wounded shoulders. The stipe, the vertical beam, is already planted at Golgotha, ready for any execution. The patibulum would worsen every wound on His shoulders.

Christ begins His journey, barefoot, along the rough roads strewn with loose stones. Two thieves follow Him, carrying their own patibulums. Fortunately, the road is only about 650 yards long.

Christ falls down, making both knees raw with wounds. The right knee is more damaged; and the left knee is badly cut.

The patibulum bruises His already wounded shoulders, forcing its weight into His back. The wounds get bigger and deeper with each stop. His seamless coat has a large patch of blood reaching down His back. The scourging and the carrying of the cross produced the largest excoriations on Christ’s body.

He falls again with the patibulum crushing His face on the rough pavement. It goes on this way. “This man won’t reach Golgotha alive,” the soldiers think. So they force Simon of Cyrene, a man destined to be a good Christian, to help.

Christ reaches Golgotha and the crucifixion begins.



THE NAILING OF THE HANDS

 

The nail enters the "Space of Destot," a tiny spot between three bones, well known to executioners of ancient times, which is strong enough to support the whole body.

The entry of the nail would damage the median nerve, causing the thumb to bend sharply.

 

 

The blood on the left hand is clearly on the wrist. The wound on the wrist of the right hand is covered.


 

Christ is laid down on the Patibulum which is resting at the foot of the stipe.


 

THE EXECUTIONERS ARE EXPERTS; they would do this in a few minutes.

First, Christ is stripped of His cloak that by now has stuck to His wounds. Ordinarily, because every linen fiber is attached to the nerve ends laid bare by the wounds, to remove this would require general anesthetic.

The executioners are in haste and are not gentle in handling the whole matter. It might as well be since every happening is a dictate of God’s will.

A soldier positions one arm with palms facing upward. Another soldier takes a long nail, square in shape and pointed, 1/3 inch thick near the head; he feels His wrist in that fold he knows by experience, aims the nail there and, with one blow, the nail is fixed on the wood.

Christ's thumb violently bends inward into His palm. His median nerve has been touched, causing inexpressible pain darting through His fingers, passing through the shoulders and bursting in His brain...the most unbearable pain man can experience--the wounding of the nervous system. One usually faints to escape the pain; Christ remains conscious. The median nerve is not destroyed; it remains alive and will rub on the nail for three hours, reviving the lightning pains through His body.

The other arm is pulled by the soldier -- the same procedure, the same pains. Now He is nailed to the patibulum.



RAISING OF THE PATIBULUM
AND NAILING OF THE FEET

 

The stipe is about 6 feet 8 inches high. This enables the soldiers to easily raise and affix the patibulum on it.

 

 

The cross is ordinarily low, as can be surmised from the angle of the lance-wound at the side. The executioners do not have to use ladders. Everything can be done at arms length.

Nail at the foot

 

 

The nailed foot is 1 foot 8 inches from the ground.

 

THE SOLDIERS PULL HIM UP TO A SITTING POSITION...rubbing on those median nerves. This has to be done quickly because it is heavy; they jerk the patibulum up on the top of the stipe and, with a skillful gesture, secure it there. For a moment, Christ hangs on His hands, pulling on those nerves without any support from His feet.

The wounds on His back are scratched by the rough wood behind. His crowned head bangs behind, driving the thorns deeper.

The soldiers then bend His knees and flatten His feet on the wood of the stipe. The left foot is first laid flat on the wood. The soldier drives a nail between the second and third matatarsal bones, but without nailing it to the wood. Then the other soldier brings this left nailed foot on top of the right foot and drives the same nail into the right foot and, with a few more blows, embeds the nail into the wood. There is not much bleeding; the blood would flow when the nail is removed. Everything is done in two minutes. Then the soldiers proceed to do the same to the two thieves.

Christ has refused the analgesic drink of wine mingled with myrrh and gall before lying on the patibulum. This would have deadened the pain but, no, He wished to suffer to the full.

He has neither eaten nor drunk since the evening before; His sweating, His fatigue and loss of blood have made Him very thirsty. His features are drawn; His face is pale and spotted with congealing blood. His mouth is half open and His lower lip is drooping. A little saliva mixed with blood from His nose is flowing down. His beard, His throat are dry and on fire; He can no longer swallow...but He thirsts.

This is Christ, the fairest of the children of men...bleeding, battered, deformed. He thirsts, yet a drink at this point is so painful He could faint. But He does not faint because He must suffer to the full.

Then a strange phenomenon occurs...this is what kills the crucified.



AGONY ON THE CROSS

 

The raised arms, which is the position for inhaling, make the sides immobile and make exhaling difficult. Thus the crucified gradually suffocate, making the heart work harder and making it weaker. The slow movement of the blood in the body eventually causes a tetanic condition of the whole body.

Cramps start in the forearm and spread towards the lower limbs. Breathing becomes difficult, the normal oxygenation of the blood does not occur, the victim is literally strangled. This happens in the "sagging" position, when the whole body weight is on the arms.    

 

 

To relieve the strangulation, the victim has to push up with his legs on the nail, thus relaxing the arms and enabling him to breathe (and speak). But after a while, he tires and sags again.

The Agony on the Cross is the alternation of "sagging" and "straightening up", of asphyxia and breathing.

To die, the victim simply abandons the struggle of "straightening up" (or if the executioners are in a hurry, they break the victim's legs) causing permanent asphyxiation, congestive heart failure and, eventually, death.

 

CHRIST'S ARMS NOW SUDDENLY STIFFEN; contraction of the muscles takes place. His deltoid and bicep begin to stand out. His fingers are drawn sharply inwards. CRAMPS!!! One must immediately relax the muscles by extending them.

His thighs and legs have become rigid bulges and His toes are bent...it's TETANUS!!! The stomach muscles tighten, then the intercostal; next, the muscles of the neck, then the respiratory muscles. Breathing becomes shorter and lighter. The solar plexus sinks inwards...the air enters His lungs but it cannot come out. He inhales but cannot exhale. His face turns flush, then violet purple, then blue. His forehead is covered with sweat; His eyes are rolling; pain is hammering in His head. He is ASPHYXIATING!!! He is going to die.

But this is the Son of God; He will die when He wills. And not just now. So Christ does what every crucified man would do to alleviate the cramps and prevent asphyxiation. Using the nail through His feet as support, He pushes, pressing on His wounds. His knees stretch bit by bit; His body gradually lifts up. This relieves the pressure on the arms, the asphyxiation recedes, the muscles relax, the lungs are unloaded and He exhales. He can only exhale in this position; He can only speak in this position. So every time He speaks, He must force Himself into this posture.

"Father, forgive them..." The wounds in His feet pain Him, so He begins to sink down once more...and the cramps and the asphyxiation come back again. And as He rises and sags, so to speak, those nails are working havoc on those median nerves in His wrists, the thorns working deeper as He bangs His head on the wood behind.

Crucifixion is strangulation, and then allowing the victim to come back to life but to be strangled again after a few minutes. With Christ, this would last for three hours.



CHRIST DIES ON THE CROSS

CHRIST'S POSITION AS HE EXPIRES

 

The double flow of blood from the wrist is caused by the movement of "sagging" and "straightening up". The angle of the flow is about 5-10 degrees.

None of the sufferings of Christ could have caused death except asphyxiation.

The "sagging" and "straightening up" also cause the banging of His crowned head on the wood behind, driving the thorns deeper.

Christ dies after three hours, which is ordinarily short. The thieves are still alive.

CHRIST PULLS HIMSELF UP AGAIN TO BREATHE AND SPEAK: "SON, BEHOLD THY MOTHER." Now, His wounds are infected. A light-colored lymph is oozing from them. On the earlier wounds, false membranes are forming which secrete a serum mixed with pus: "My sores are putrefied and corrupted," the psalm prophesied.

It's about 3:00 p.m. Jesus is holding out. Now he pulls Himself up, now He sags. All the pains, thirst and cramps, the asphyxiation, the torture brought about by the nails rubbing on the median nerves...and not a complaint from Him.

He raises Himself one last time; He knows it is over...that is, His work of Redemption. So He cries out, "Consummatum est," showing He is dying of His own free will and in His own time. "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit." Then He lets go; He sags. Tetanization and asphyxiation set in. He cannot breathe. With a last sigh, His head drops slowly, His chin above the breastbone. His face is now relaxed and calm; it is illuminated by the gentle majesty of God. He dies because He wills it.

Rigor mortis sets in; His legs become as hard as steel and very hot because of tetanic spasm. The earth quakes and the sun turns dark.



HISTORY

CRUCIFIXION WAS FIRST RECORDED AMONG THE PERSIANS. It went to Carthage where the Romans learned of it.

The Romans used it extensively against the Jews. Two thousand Jews were crucified by Varus. In the siege of Jerusalem, 500 Jews were crucified a day.

Crucifixion is death by slow asphyxiation...a grotesque thrill to perverts and the spectacle was meant as a deterrent.



A SOLDIER STABS CHRIST


The wound is below and to the outside of the nipple, the fifth inter-costal space on the right edge of the breastbone leading to the very thin wall of the right auricle. The auricle in a corpse is filled with blood while the ventricle has no blood. While the lance is on its way to the auricle, it passes through the pericardium which contains pericardial fluid in big amounts when a person is in agony. The accumulation of fluid here causes dreadful pain around the heart, fever, and intense difficulty in breathing.

 

The head wounds are antemortem but the chest wound is postmortem, proven by the fact that the blood does not spurt out, showing a non-beating breast.

 

 

 

       

Actual size of the wound

THE JEWS HAVE KILLED THE SON OF GOD AND NOW TRY TO PLEASE GOD THE FATHER WITH THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH. The crucified must be disposed of speedily so as not to defile tomorrow's feast. The soldiers break the legs of the two thieves with an iron bar. They now hang helplessly, unable to raise themselves up to breathe. Tetanization and asphyxiation will finish them soon.

Christ is already dead. Just to be sure, a soldier raises his lance and, with one well-studied and well-rehearsed blow, stabs Christ deep at the right side. In battle, this blow causes certain death. "And immediately there came out blood and water." A stream of dark liquid blood first gushes out; then slowly drips over the chest, coagulating in several layers. And then, noticeable at the edges of the blood, there is liquid as clear as water.

The blood comes from the punctured right auricle and the water comes from the pericardium.

The soldier has helped prove Christ resurrected by making sure He is dead.



CHRIST IS BROUGHT DOWN FROM THE CROSS AND CARRIED TO THE TOMB

 

1. The nails from the feet are removed.

2. The patibulum is lowered.  

 

 

3. Christ's lower part is covered with a sheet.

 

4. He is carried on the patibulum by five people. The fifth, holding His feet, stops the flow of blood from the heel.  

5. Christ's hands are removed from the patibulum and tied together in front. So are His feet bound together; a chin band, too, to keep the mouth closed.

6. The Shroud is folded to cover the back and front of the body. Then the body is left unfinished for burial because of the Sabbath.

 

CHRIST IS DEAD. His chest is expanded to the maximum; and His stomach is hollow.

A wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea, asks for Jesus' body and places it in his own new tomb. Joseph gives Jesus a personal burial, complete with the burial linens. But the burial process is hurried because of the approaching Sabbath. The burial preparations would not be complete.

Christ's wounds continue to exude infected lymph, like a live body. This dampens the clothes, making the body stick to the linen and leaving there traces of the wounds. His blood clots would stick to the linen.

The disciples, out of reverence, do not want to touch the body. In death, He is full of majesty and divinity. The blood clots remain untouched and unmoved; a little rough handling and these clots would have been gone.

Within three hours, Joseph has gone to Pilate, returned to Golgotha, looked for burial linens, taken the body from the cross and laid it in the tomb. By this time, the three hours are over. It is the Sabbath.

While being carried from the cross to the tomb, most of the blood flows down. By the time the body is laid on the Shroud, little blood is left. This explains why the Shroud is not drenched with blood.

Christ is dead, indeed, but His body would never reach corruption.



THE RESURRECTION


 

In the Shroud, the eyes of Christ are covered with coins, a Jewish burial practice to keep the eyes closed.

 

The coin used is a Leptum minted by Pontius Pilate in 31-32 A.D.

 

The 3-dimensional front image shows a swollen abdomen which is a sign of asphyxiation...the cause of death in a crucifixion.

 

 

If the Shroud, indeed, is the burial linen of Jesus Christ, it means: a) Christ died the way Scripture describes; b) He rose from the dead, as Scripture says; c) He is God, as Scripture claims; and, therefore, d) He demands obedience from us, otherwise we perish.

When Peter and John saw the burial linens-just the linens-"they believed" that Christ had resurrected.

The body could not have been stolen, as claimed by the Jews, because the bloodstains were not smeared; neither were the blood clots broken. The body was removed, but not in a natural way.

How did the resurrection take place? In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb, the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered with blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there was a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant, the blood dematerialized, dissolved, perhaps, by the flash of Divine light, while the image of the body became indelibly printed on the Shroud, preserving for posterity a snapshot of Jesus Christ at the precise moment of His resurrection.

Ironically, it was science that unveiled the miracle of the Shroud and, standing bewildered, leaves it to Faith to answer the last question: how the image was imprinted on the Shroud.

Science has always been accused of discrediting Faith. Today, science has shown that it is the last bastion of Faith, by pointing its finger on the linen of Christ, hoping, like Peter and John, that the linen alone can prove that Christ rose from the dead. Having expounded the miracle of the Shroud, science has also proven that the Catholic religion is the only true religion.

 

This is the most probable manner by which Christ's image was imprinted on the Shroud. The Shroud shows evidence of death and rigor mortis, and rightly so, because there is no Resurrection unless He was dead.

 

 

(updated 01-04-02)

 

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