Logo Polskiego Radia

Three arrested over Pope John Paul II reliquary theft

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 31.01.2014 10:11
Three men have been arrested after a cross and a reliquary containing blood of Pope John Paul II were stolen from a highland church in central Italy on Saturday.
Italian Police (Carabinieri).Photo: wikipediaItalian Police (Carabinieri).Photo: wikipedia

Italian Police (Carabinieri).Photo: wikipedia

However, although the gold frame of the reliquary has been recovered, there is no sign of the blood-spotted material that had been inside it.

Police have told Italy's ANSA news agency that the three men did not grasp the value of the material, and in all likelihood they threw it away.

The suspects are all known to the police on account of previous convictions for petty theft, and the trio has been described as having problems with drug addiction.

The three men led police to a site near a centre for the treatment of drug addicts in the town of Collemagio, where the cross and the frame had been dumped.

Police have stressed that the objects were not stolen on commission for a particular buyer.

Earlier in the week, suggestions were made that the items had been stolen by Satanists, with the so called 'Satanic New Year' falling on 1 February.

The relic had been donated to the San Pietro della Ienca church in 2011 by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz (former personal secretary to the Pope), owing to the Polish pontiff's fondness for the region.

Since his early days as a priest in southern Poland, Karol Wojtyla had been an enthusiastic skier and hiker.

After his election to the papacy in 1978, Pope John Paul II often visited the mountains near the city of L'Aquila, and the little San Pietro della Ienca church was a cherished point on his walks.

The reliquary's frame contained a piece of material from the vestment that the pope was wearing on 13 May, 1981, when a Turkish assassin shot the pontiff on St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City.

This April, the late pontiff is due to be canonised, marking the final stage in his path to sainthood. (nh)

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us