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Italy church appeals to thieves to return John Paul blood relic

Published on Jan 29, 2014 6:05 AM
 
A statue of the late Pope John Paul II is seen in front of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L'Aquila, on Jan 28, 2014 .Thieves broke into the small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole the reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said on Jan 27. The Catholic Church has appealed to thieves to return John Paul II's blood relic that disappeared in what it called a "vile and sacrilegious theft". -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (REUTERS) - The Catholic Church has appealed to thieves to return a reliquary containing the blood of the late Pope John Paul II that disappeared in what it called a "vile and sacrilegious theft".

The gold reliquary was stolen at the weekend from a small stone church, San Pietro della Ienca, in the mountains east of Rome, where, in his younger days, the Pope would slip away secretly from the pressures of the Vatican to hike and ski.

"I appeal to the those who carried out this deplorable act," Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of the city of L'Aquila said in a letter to local Catholics on Monday night.

"Give it back," he said.

 
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