Medieval Saint’s relic stolen from Dublin church

The preserved heart of St Laurence O’Toole, Dublin’s patron saint has been stolen from the city’s Christ Church Cathedral. The theft occurred sometime between Friday night and noon on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the cathedral said it was opened at 9.30am this morning and there was no of a forced entry. She said the thieves did not take valuable gold chalices and gold candlesticks in the chapel, but only took the relic. “It’s completely bizarre,” she added. “They didn’t touch anything else. They specifically targeted this, they wanted the heart of St Laurence O’Toole.”

The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral and the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, the Most Reverend Dermot Dunne, commented that the relic “has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links our present foundation with its founding father, St Laurence O’Toole.”

Police are now reviewing CCTV footage of the forty people who visited the cathedral on Saturday morning. There were only about 40 visitors this morning. Church authorities say it is possible the thieves had hidden themselves in the building overnight and broke into the relic after the cathedral closed for the day.

Born Lorcán Ua Tuathail in Castledermot, County Kildare in 1128, he was known in English as Laurence O’Toole. He served as Dublin’s archbishop from 1162 to 1180 and gained a reputation as a skillful mediator between rival Gaelic and Norman factions then fighting for power in Ireland. He died aged 58 while traveling in Normandy. Pope Honorius III canonized O’Toole in 1225 after reports of miracles at his original grave site.

O’Toole’s heart had been the last surviving part of his remains. His bones were reinterred in an English church yard in 1442 but were dug up and disappeared during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.

Click here to see this video report from the BBC

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