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'Relics of true cross' returned to abbey after being stolen

The parish priest of Holy Cross Abbey in Tipperary said the relics’ return “demonstrates the power of prayer”.

The relics before they were stolen
The relics before they were stolen
Image: An Garda Síochána

Updated, 7.06pm

RELIGIOUS RELICS STOLEN from Holy Cross Abbey in Co Tipperary last year have been returned safe and sound, the parish priest has said.

The relics – said to contain a fragment of the ‘True Cross’ on which Jesus was crucified – were retrieved after a garda operation. Gardaí said the items were recovered in searches carried out yesterday.

The parish priest Fr Tom J Breen said he was shown the relics by gardaí last night, and was able to positively identify them as the ones which had been stolen in November. He said their return “once again demonstrates the power of prayer”, adding:

It is wonderful that the relics have been recovered and have not been seriously damaged. The finding of the relics is a true answer to the enormous prayerful response to their theft.

According to a statement, the relics are undamaged but will require cleaning. Fr Breen said the church near Thurles would now display them in a more secure installation.

Even though the Relics have no monetary value, they are of enormous devotional importance and must be protected.

One relic was a silver cross dating from the 14th century, while the other was a cross made of gold and bronze. Their safe return has also been hailed by Dermot Clifford, the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, who expressed his thanks to the gardaí for their efforts saying:

It is truly wonderful that the precious Relics of the one True Cross from Holy Cross Abbey have been found, relatively unharmed, through the sterling efforts of the Garda Síochána.

It is not known whether any arrests have been made as part of the garda investigation, which is ongoing.

More: Archbishop appeals for return of relics of ‘True Cross’>

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Michael Freeman

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