Relics stolen from Indian shrine
December 01, 2010
The Irinjalakkuda diocese in India’s southern Kerala state has been stunned by the theft of historic relics from an ancient church. The relics stolen from the Holy Cross shrine in Mapranam included a piece of the Holy Cross on which Jesus was believed to have been crucified, the blood stain of Christ and a piece of the towel with which his face was wiped during the journey of the Passion. These relics were brought to the shrine in 1887 with a letter from Pope Leo XIII confirming the authenticity of the relics. The relics are housed in an ancient church built in 928. Father Joji Kallingal, vicar of the parish that was elevated to the status of a shrine in 2008, said that the sacristan noticed the theft first when he opened the church early in the morning on November 30. As the news spread, hundreds of faithful along with media crews have been thronging the shrine, where continuous prayers have been offered—once the shrine was re-opened to the public, after police completed their work in gathering forensic evidence.
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