Christchurch victim of cold hearted theft

The preserved heart of Saint Laurence O’Toole was stolen from Christchurch Cathedral some time between the night of Friday 2nd and the afternoon of Saturday the 3rd of February.

“We think people hid when the church was closing and stayed overnight,” said Nuala Kavanagh, Director of Operations in Christchurch Cathedral.

According to Ms Kavanagh the robbers were not interested in financial gain.  The relic was enclosed in a wooden heart box and then in a metal cage, but the thieves took only the relic.

“The robbers lit candles, it was very ritualistic.  It is an ancient artefact; it has historic and religious value, but no economic value.  There were also other valuable items like gold candlesticks, which were not stolen,” said Ms Kavanagh.

“The story of the robbery has gone global now; it is even in the American news, so if the person wants to sell the relic it will be very difficult for them,” she added.

There has been a few of these types of robberies recently.  Relics were stolen from Holy Cross Abbey, Tipperary and Saint Brigid’s Church in Killester, Dublin.  “The crosses stolen in Tipperary were returned, we hope for the same here,” said Ms Kavanagh.

Nuala Kavanagh went on to say the relic was a huge attraction for the cathedral.  “We are tightening security as a result.  We already have CCTV on all doors, and there are some motion sensors.  We are keeping things behind bars, but we have to keep them out for the public to view,” she commented.

Saint Laurence O’Toole, the patron saint of Dublin, died in 1180 and his heart has been preserved in Christchurch Cathedral since the 13th century.

According to Ms Kavanagh the Gardaí have not gotten any more information and they are still looking at the CCTV footage.  The Garda press office said the investigation is ongoing

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