Thieves Steal Late Pope’s Blood

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 27 2014 6:06 PM

Thieves Steal Late Pope’s Blood

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Pope John Paul II blesses the pilgrims gathered on St Peters square at the Vatican in March 2004.

Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

Over the weekend, thieves apparently not-too-concerned about booking a place in heaven, stole a relic that contained a piece of gauze that was once soaked with the blood of late Pope John Paul II. Church officials at the isolated San Pietro della Ienca church in the Abruzzo region of Italy reported the burglary. The small church housed the relic that is one of only three in the world. 

Here’s more on the relic from Reuters:

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In 2011, John Paul’s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff’s blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area. It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L’Aquila.

According to the BBC, the relic was not heavily guarded, as the thieves were able to break through the iron bars and a window protecting the display. The burglars also took a crucifix, but left the church’s collection box untouched.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.