The heart was housed in a wooden box surrounded by an iron cage. (BBC)
Thieves used metal cutters to pry open a cage protecting St. Lawrence O’Toole’s heart from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The villains took off with the 12th century relic.
The BBC reported:
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The preserved heart of Dublin’s patron saint has been stolen from the city’s Christ Church Cathedral, officials say.
The thief would have needed metal cutters to prise open the iron bars protecting the wooden heart-shaped box holding St Laurence O’Toole’s heart.
Police believe it happened some time between Friday night and about 12.30 GMT on Saturday.
“They specifically targeted this, they wanted the heart of St Laurence O’Toole,” a church spokeswoman said.
“It’s completely bizarre,” she said, adding that valuable gold chalices and gold candlesticks were ignored by the thief.
The heart has been a major pilgrimage site at Christ Church since the medieval period.
The dean of Christ Church Cathedral and the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, the Rev Dermot Dunne, said he was “devastated” by the theft of the 12th Century relic.
“It has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links our present foundation with its founding father, St Laurence O’Toole,” he added.
The church received about 40 visitors between 09:30 GMT and 12:30 GMT when the theft was discovered, but church officials said the thief could have hidden in the building overnight.
This was not an isolated incident.
RTE News reported:
Last year, relics were stolen from Holycross Abbey in Co Tipperary, but were later returned.
In January, a shrine for a relic of St Brigid was stolen from a church in Dublin.