'True cross' relics returned to Tipperary

Tue, Jan 17, 2012, 00:00

Stolen relics of the 'true cross' were today returned by gardaí to the Holy Cross Abbey in Co Tipperary.

The three relics, believed to be part of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified, were stolen from the historic Cashel abbey last October.

The items were recovered by gardaí after searches in the midlands yesterday. The Garda investigation is ongoing.

The relics had been stolen by three men using an angle-grinder, hammer and screwdriver to forcibly open the steel display cabinet they were contained in.

Archbishop of Cashel and Emily Dermot Clifford said measures needed to be taken to protect the relics. It was “a mystery” why the items with little monetary value were stolen, he said.

It was “truly wonderful” that the “precious relics” had been found “relatively unharmed” he added.

Holy Cross parish priest Rev Tom J. Breen said locals, clergy and the abbey’s thousands pilgrims would be “overjoyed”. The return of the items “demonstrates the power of prayer,” he added.

One of the relics, authenticated by the Vatican as a piece of the cross used in Christ’s crucifixion, was handed over to the abbey in the 12th century by King Donal Mór O’Brien, while the other two were presented by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 1977.