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Relic of Pope John Paul II stolen

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Catholic slip art

A reliquary containing the blood of Blessed Pope John Paul II was stolen from a church in the Abuzzo region in Italy over the weekend. According to Zenit News Agency, thieves broke into San Pietro della lenca, a small church in the mountains east of Rome, taking the relic. The theft was discovered Sunday.

A major investigation has begun by local police including sniffer dogs to scour the area for clues. Pope John Paul II enjoyed skiing in the area and prayed in the church.

The Italian Catholic magazine Famialia Cristiana called it "a sacrilegious theft, that was probably commissioned by someone."

A broken window was discovered early Sunday morning by Franca Corrieri and she called the police. The police found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.

The relic was given to the church, by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz the Archbishop of Krakow, after a shrine was dedicated to John Paul in 2011. The relic was put into a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the church.