Former church caretaker arrested for the Codex Calixtinus theft – manuscript recovered

The Codex Calixtinus, which was stolen last year from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, has been recovered from a garage in Santiago. Manuel Fernandez Castiñeiras, a former caretaker of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, along with his wife, son, and another women, have been arrested by Spanish police in connection with the theft of the important 12th-century manuscript.

The police have also recovered  €1.2m in cash, several other manuscripts (“of great value”) that had disappeared from the cathedral, including a Book of Hours, gold coins, silver trays and other church documents.


Manuel Fernandez Castiñeiras had worked as an electrician and caretaker at the cathedral for over 25 years but had been fired. Spanish newspapers add that he still attended mass at the church every day. Director General of Police, Ignacio Cosido, explains, “the amount of evidence to be found clearly indicate that he may be the perpetrator of the theft.”

Authorities believe that the large amount of money found in the various residences of the Castiñeiras family indicates that he may have been stealing from the cathedral for years or even decades, and the church officials had failed to realize that certain items were missing.


The Codex Calixtinus was stolen in July 2011 when the manuscript was removed from the cathedral’s safe. Dozens of police officers have been involved in the search of the manuscript, which contains a kind of travel guide to the famous pilgrimage way of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

Click here to read our earlier article Codex Calixtinus stolen from Santiago de Compostela

See also Relic Robbing: Church’s Medieval Treasures in Jeopardy?

Sources: The Guardian, Que


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