Crucifixion relics at Kerala church stolen

| November 30, 2010

KOCHI: Three holy relics were stolen from a church at Mapranam near Irinjalakkuda in Kerala's Thrissur district. The Holy Cross Church, believed to have been constructed in 928 AD, is considered one of the oldest in the country.

Speaking to TOI, vicar general of the Irinjalakkuda diocese, Mon Jose Irumpanam, said the relics included a part of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ 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. ''This is the only church in the country which has been preserving these three relics with the Vatican's permission,'' he said.

It is said that the relics were donated by the Vatican on the orders of Pope Leo XIII.

Dr Joji Kallingal, vicar of the parish, said the theft was noticed on Tuesday morning when the shrine was opened for morning prayers. No other property was lost. The offering collection box which was kept near the relics was found intact, he said.

Police said the robbers might have gained entry into the sacristy, where the relics were kept, after breaking open its doors.

Thrissur superintendent of police, M P Dineshan, said the holy relics were kept inside a box along with a brass cross. ''Both the box and the brass cross were stolen. A special team led by Irinjalakkuda ASP has been constituted to probe the case,'' he said.

A prayer procession and a meeting were held in the church to protest against the theft. The old church building has been declared a protected monument.

Read more: Crucifixion relics at Kerala church stolen – The Times of India

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