John Paul II, Popiełuszko relics stolen in Italy
PR dla Zagranicy
Relics of St. Pope John Paul II and the Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, an icon of Poland's Solidarity movement, have been stolen from a church in northern Italy.
Pope John Paul II's tomb. Photo: Wikipedia/Paweł Rosiak/CC BY-SA 3.0Photo: Wikipedia/Paweł Rosiak/CC BY-SA 3.0
The pope's blood and Popiełuszko's bone fragments were stolen from the Montecastello Sanctuary in Tignale, near Brescia, church officials said.
Giuseppe Mattanza, a priest at the church, appealed for the relics to be returned anonymously, adding that they had been catalogued and could not be sold.
Karol Wojtyła was born near Kraków, southern Poland, in 1920. He became the leader of the Catholic Church on 16 October, 1978.
Pope John Paul II's first papal visit to communist Poland in June 1979 was seen as paving the way for the Solidarity movement.
He died in 2005 and was named a saint nine years later.
Popiełuszko, a chaplain for the Solidarity movement, was a beacon of hope following the communist regime’s crackdown on Poland’s pro-democracy opposition and the imposition of martial law in December 1981.
On 19 October 1984, he was abducted by three secret police officers on his way back to Warsaw from the northern town of Bydgoszcz and subsequently murdered.
In 2010, he was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church and declared a martyr. (vb/pk)