Belfast Telegraph

Stolen relic returned to abbey

An ancient relic believed to be from the cross of Jesus that was stolen from an abbey four months ago has been returned.

The gold and bronze crucifix, containing what is thought to be a piece of the real cross on which Jesus died, was stolen from a display case in Holycross Abbey in Thurles, Co Tipperary in October.

Father Tom Breen said the relic, which is of little commercial value, had not been seriously damaged.

A separate 14th century silver cross containing two crosses and two dark stones that was taken in the raid has also been returned.

"The finding of the relics is a true answer to the enormous prayerful response to their theft," said Fr Breen.

"The thousands of prayers to the Lord by people all over Ireland and beyond, for their safe return, have been answered. It is brilliant news and once again demonstrates the power of prayer."

Fr Breen revealed at Christmas that he was optimistic the crosses would find their way back home.

The relic of the real cross has been in the abbey since 1180, after it was first consecrated by Cistercian monks, and attracts around 250,000 visitors a year.

It is understood it had been a gift from King of Munster Donal Mor O'Brien, who founded Holycross.

Gardai uncovered the relics in a search of a property in the Midlands area on Monday and a spokesman said the investigation is ongoing.

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