Italian police find John Paul II relic discarded by thieves

Italian police find John Paul II relic discarded by thieves

Italian police have recovered part of a religious relic stained with Polish pope John Paul II's blood that was thrown away by thieves thinking it worthless, the Italian press reported on Saturday.

This handout picture released by the San Pietro della Ienca church shows a religious relic, a piece of cloth impregnated with the blood of Polish pope John Paul II, pictured on August 7, 2011

The relic was snatched a week ago along with a cross from a small church in Italy's central region of Abruzzo, sparking a region-wide search with police and sniffer dogs.

The three robbers, unaware that the small piece of framed cloth was valuable, threw it away in parts but could not remember where.

The relic consisted of a metal frame around a piece of blood-stained cloth, believed to be part of the robe the pontiff was wearing when he was shot in an assassination attempt in St Peter's Square in 1981.

The metal frame was recovered shortly after the robbery and on Saturday the Italian press said the golden-threaded cloth, albeit damaged, was found in a garage.

The loot was snatched from the San Pietro della Ienca church in the mountainous Abruzzo region in central Italy where the late pope loved to go on skiing holidays.

The relic was given to the small church in 2011 by Stanislaw Dziwisz, a cardinal who served as John Paul II's personal secretary until his death in 2005.

Following the robbery, some 50 police officers and sniffer dogs were deployed in the search for the missing relic in an area famed for its weathered stone houses and the little church where the head of the Roman Catholic Church once reportedly took refuge in a storm.

John Paul II and the Italian pope John XXIII, known as "Good Pope John", are set to become saints in a ceremony at the Vatican in April -- an event which will substantially increase the value of the stolen relic.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

Departing Trump gets his parade but little love

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, US: Donald Trump wanted a hero's send off Wednesday and the ceremony arranged for him at an Air Force Base outside Washington looked just like one. But one thing was missing: the big crowd he loves.

21:45

Police summon activist for false abduction report

Police summoned a political activist for falsifying a statement on Wednesday, after his claim that he was abducted stirred anger on social media and allegations of state harassment of government critics.

20:21

Foreign visitors to Japan plunge 87%, biggest since 1964

TOKYO: Foreign visitors to Japan in 2020 plunged 87.1% from a year earlier, the biggest drop since 1964 when comparable data became available, the Japan Tourism Agency said on Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic dented travel demand and entry restrictions were imposed.

19:46