Relic Containing Pope John Paul II's Blood Stolen From Italian Cathedral

Pope John Paul II
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It is unclear if the relic was stolen for ransom. In the past other relics have been taken for ransom in Italy where many are located.

A relic holding the blood of late Pope John Paul II has been stolen from an Italian Cathedral, the bishop of the church said last week. The priceless gold and crystal casing holding the blood of the late pontiff in the city of Spoleto was taken Wednesday from the altar.

Pope John Paul II died in 2005 after serving as the head of the Catholic Church for 27 years. He was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first from a Slavic country.

A person who works inside the church was closing up for the night and noticed it had been missing.

Pope John Paul II was canonized in 2014 and in the Catholic religion, a relic, is a sacred object which holds either the blood, hair, or clothing of a saint.

The relic holding the late Polish pope’s blood was in the Spoleto temporarily and was due to be moved in October to a new church in the Umbria region named after the late pope.

“Give the reliquary back to the cathedral and the faithful,” said Archbishop Renato Boccardo, who was a close aide to the late pope for years at the Vatican. “It would be the serious thing to do.”

It is unclear if the relic was stolen for ransom. Italian and Vatican police are investigating the case.