Stolen relics of 'true cross' returned to Tipperary abbey

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 09:10 hrs

Stolen relics, believed to be part of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified, have been returned to the Holy Cross Abbey in Co Tipperary in Ireland.

The three relics of the 'true cross' were stolen from the historic Cashel abbey in October 2011.

The items were recovered by gardai - members of the Ireland police - after searches in the midlands yesterday, and a police investigation is still going on.

The relics had been stolen by three men using an angle-grinder, hammer and screwdriver to forcibly open the steel display cabinet they were contained in.

Archbishop of Cashel and Emily Dermot Clifford said measures needed to be taken to protect the relics.

It was 'a mystery' why the items with little monetary value were stolen, he said.

He added that it was 'truly wonderful' that the 'precious relics' had been found 'relatively unharmed', the Irish Times reported.

Holy Cross parish priest Rev Tom J Breen said locals, clergy and the abbey's thousands of pilgrims would be 'overjoyed'. He said that the return of the items 'demonstrates the power of prayer'.

One of the relics, authenticated by the Vatican as a piece of the cross used in Christ's crucifixion, was handed over to the abbey in the 12th century by King Donal Mor O'Brien, while the other two were presented by St Peter's Basilica in Rome in 1977. (ANI)

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