The Spanish daily La Razon reported this week that a relic of the Holy Cross was stolen from the Benedictine Monastery of the Valley of the Fallen, which had been in possession of the precious relic since 1960.
The paper reported the incident occurred on September 15.
The day before, which was the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Benedictine monks exposed the reliquary that contains the relic for veneration, as has been the custom for decades. The relic of the true Cross was given as a gift to the monks by Pope John XXIII in 1960.
As the monks were returning the liturgical vestments to the sacristy after Mass on September 15, they noticed that the reliquary had been opened and that the relic was no longer inside. The thief had apparently donned one of the monk’s habits in order to sneak the relic out of the monastery.
La Razon said the monks were upset at the discovery and are hoping the police will be able to recover the relic.
The Spanish daily recalled that “architect and archeologist Charles Rohault de Fleury wrote a book in 1870 in which he inventoried every known relic of the true Cross and that all together they would form less than one-third of the whole Cross.
“When she was almost 80 years old, in 326, St. Helena ordered an excavation on Calvary. She found three crosses in a quarry underneath a pagan temple. According to tradition, a woman who was ill was cured immediately when she touched one of the crosses, thus pointing out which one was the true Cross,” the newspaper recounted.