5 Mar 2012

Relic of saint stolen from cathedral in Dublin

5:22 am on 5 March 2012

The preserved heart of the patron saint of Dublin has been stolen from a cathedral in the city.

The relic belonged to a 12th century saint, Laurence O'Toole.

The BBC reports metal cutters would have been needed to prise open the iron bars protecting the wooden heart-shaped box holding the object. Gold chalices and gold candlesticks were ignored.

Police believe the theft happened some time between Friday night and about midday on Saturday.

The heart has been a major pilgrimage site since the medieval period.

St Laurence O'Toole was born Lorcan Ua Tuathail in Castledermot, Co Kildare, in 1128. He was appointed Archbishop of Dublin after the death of Archbishop Gregory in 1162.

He died in November 1180 in Normandy, France, and was canonised in 1225 because of miracles said to have happened at his tomb.

Each Lent he returned to Glendalough, in Co Wicklow, where he lived in St Kevin's Cell, a sort of cave, for 40 days.