Pope John Paul II's blood has been stolen from a small church in Italy. Thieves stole one reliquary which contained the blood of the former pontiff. The incident took place in the eastern part of Rome on Sunday.
According to Famiglia Cristiana, a Catholic magazine in Italy, the theft was "sacrilegious" and was assumed to have been "commissioned," Reuters reported. Franca Corrieri claimed that she had discovered that a window was broken in the church on Sunday morning, after which she informed the police. The police found out a gold reliquary, as well as a crucifix, was missing.
The church is situated in the Abruzzo mountains which used to be a favourite of the late Pope who passed away in 2005. He apparently had secret visits to the place for hiking or skiing. He also used to pray in the small stone church. John Paul, born in Poland, is scheduled to be given sainthood in May by the Roman Catholic Church. This will makes the relic even more valuable and noteworthy.
Back in 2011 when Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz was the private secretary of John Paul, he gave an amount of the deceased Pope's blood to the local community of Abruzzo. It was given as a token, as the Pope had a soft corner for the locality during his lifetime. The blood was kept in a circular case made of glass and gold. The Pope's blood samples were stored after there had been an assassination attempt on him in 1981.
Ms Corrieri, who belongs to the association in charge of taking care of the church, described the incident less like a theft than a kidnapping. She told Reuters over the phone that it felt as if a person had been stolen. Even though she compared the incident to kidnapping, she was unsure if the thieves would ask for any ransom in lieu of the stolen blood. Interestingly, nothing else in the church was touched except the crucifix and the reliquary.