Relic of late pope's blood stolen in Italy

Relic of late pope's blood stolen in Italy

Credit: Getty Images

ROME - MARCH 6: Pope John Paul II appears at a window to greet pilgrims and the faithful gathered outside the Gemelli hospital at the end of the Sunday's Angelus prayers on March 6, 2005 in Rome, Italy. The pontiff is recovering from throat surgery and made a similar appearance last week, as of yet there has been no indication given of when he may be well enough to leave hospital to return to the Vatican. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

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by AP

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 1:35 PM

ROME (AP) --  Police are searching an Italian mountain area beloved by Pope John Paul II for a stolen relic bearing his blood.

Vatican Radio decried the "sacrilegious theft" from tiny San Pietro della Ienca church near the Gran Sasso part of the Apennine mountains, where John Paul used to hike and ski.

Carabinieri paramilitary police Col. Andrea Ronchey in nearby L'Aquila told The Associated Press Monday that the relic — a bit of blood-soaked cloth kept inside a painted metal cross — was last seen on Thursday in the church.

John Paul, who died in 2005 and will be made a saint April 27 during a Vatican ceremony, had celebrated Mass in the church.

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