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Stolen relic of Dublin’s patron saint recovered by police and returned to cathedral

04 May 2018


The heart is received by Dr Jackson, last week

The heart is received by Dr Jackson, last week

A RELIQUARY believed to contain the heart of Dublin’s patron saint, St Laurence O’Toole, who died in 1180, has been recovered by Gardaí six years after it was stolen from the city’s Anglican Christ Church Cathedral (News, 9 March 2012).

The 800-year-old wooden heart-shaped container was stolen from the chapel of St Laud after thieves, who are believed to have hidden in the cathedral overnight, cut the metal bars of the cage protecting the relic. They ignored valuable chalices and other precious metal artefacts, targeting only the heart.

Many believed that it had been taken out of the country, but, in fact, it never left Dublin, and is understood to have been found in the Phoenix Park area of the city by Gardaí after “credible information” was received.

Welcoming the return of the relic, the Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough, Dr Michael Jackson, said that the news would bring great joy to Dubliners: “For those of us associated with the life of the dioceses, it brings again to the fore the close relationship between Glendalough and Dublin — a relationship of more than 800 years.

“Laurence left the monastic city of Glendalough, of which he was Abbot, to become Archbishop of Dublin, hence cementing a vibrant relationship that continues unabated to this day.”

The undamaged relic was presented to Dr Jackson by the Garda Assistant Commissioner, Patrick Leahy, at a special service of thanksgiving on Thursday of last week.

Asstistant Commissioner Leahy praised the members of the investigating team, saying: “It is not very often that we get an opportunity to engage in such a positive activity that affects the citywide community, and, in that regard, I am acutely aware of the privilege that has been bestowed upon An Garda Síochána [the Gardaí] on this occasion.

“It is appropriate to acknowledge the great work of individual gardaí who kept their radars on, and their minds open, in this ongoing investigation, and I commend them for their commitment and diligence on this matter.”

The saint was appointed Abbot of the Glendalough monastery at the age of 25, and became Archbishop of Dublin in 1161.

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