March 4th, 2012
11:18 AM ET

900-year-old saint's heart vanishes from cathedral

By Richard Allen Greene and Peter Taggart, CNN

Police in Ireland are studying security camera footage from a cathedral in Dublin after the preserved heart of the city's patron saint was stolen over the weekend, they said Monday.

The 900-year-old heart of St. Laurence O'Toole was taken from the iron cage where it is normally kept in Christ Church Cathedral, police and the Cathedral said.

The bars were wrenched open, allowing access to the heart-shaped wooden box that held the relic bolted to a wall in Saint Lauds Chapel, Irish police said.

Security cameras cover the cathedral's welcome desk, but not the interior of the chapel or the cathedral, police said.
The heart disappeared between Friday evening and Saturday noon, police said.

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Cathedral staff called the disappearance of the relic "truly awful and strange" and said they were "shocked and saddened."

An empty cage once held the heart of 900-year-old saint.

Adding to the mystery, there was no sign of a break-in, police told CNN.

Nothing was taken from the chapel other than the heart, although Irish media said gold candesticks and other valuables were there.

Cathedral staff called the disappearance of the relic "truly awful and strange" and said they were "shocked and saddened."

St. Laurence O'Toole, an archbishop of Dublin in the 12th century, was born in 1128, lived until 1180, and was made a saint in 1225, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Christ Church is a Protestant Church of Ireland cathedral.

Catholics often preserve body parts from saints, believing they should be venerated. When Pope John Paul II was declared "blessed" - a step below sainthood - last year, a vial of his blood was displayed as a relic.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Ireland

soundoff (938 Responses)
  1. GodsPeople


    March 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Can I have your heart when you die?

      March 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • AGuest9

      My, how christian!

      March 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Randy

      He's no Christian.

      March 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • umm

      And that's why the sait took their heart back...

      March 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • TR6

      Threats of eternal damnation are just as empty and impotent as your imaginary god

      March 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • GoatBoy

      MEE too How bout you lite yourself up and get this Party started.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  2. Alien Orifice

    It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. I MUST have that heart!

    March 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  3. GodsPeople

    You atheists are disgusting. Stealing body parts now, not to mentioning continually blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I hate all of you. I can't wait until you all burn in hell.

    March 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      You might be falling out of favor with the dark lord. You speak in evil tongues, yet you serve the father. Since we will both be in hell, you should get your priorities straight. And bring some board games. Eterninty is a long time!

      March 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • TING

      If there were a hell, an Atheists certainly wouldn't want someone to burn there.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      You're the a-s-s-h-o-l-e serving satan, not me. I won't be in hell. I'll be laughing at you lying, thieving, amoral, blasphemous j-a-c-k-o-f-f-s while you burn

      March 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Athiests don't believe in Satan, hence it would quite impossible to "serve" that which does not exist. You have no common sense.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You know, you're not even believable as a troll.

      I suggest you stick to busing tables.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's funny to watch you post in answer to yourself.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • JohnR

      Ah, another loving Christian chortling at the prospect of souls tortured for eternity. Be careful what you wish for.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      But Tom Tom, I want to believe GodsPeople is real! It would be so funny.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's a troll. Probably herbie. Or you. Or anyone else.

      It doesn't believe what it's posting. It's just farting.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I can assure you it is not me. I am the Central Scrutinizer. However I did ask Godspeople some time ago if she was HS and he denied it saying that at one time he was something else I can't remember. A troll, yes. Herbie, most liklely.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Alien A-s-s-h-o-l-e: if you had any reading comprehension skills, you'd remember that I told you my previous username was GodIsTheWay. I tried being nice and respectful to you idiots, but all of you deserve to burn.

      March 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      godpeople.. is it natural gas that is used in hell? who supplies the gas or do they have to import all those propane cylinders. The reason i ask is that I live in Alberta and we have lots of natural gas capacity, so if you're talking to your dad at some point, ask him who we need to discuss this with..thanks.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Unevolved: my father's been dead for 6 years. died of cancer. Pray I never find you for that remark.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Marion

      To GodsPeople: are you for real? what Christian would say such a thing? If "they" burn in hell.....you will be right there beside them, won't you? Otherwise, how would you know they are in hell?
      Geez....don't know why I even answered you. You must be a teabagger. lol

      March 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Godspeople..you tell all of us that you want us to burn in hell ...and that that makes you feel good...by your "dad"I was referring to the god who you apparently are connected to in some manner. I had no idea of your personal life, and would not make a comment if i was aware of the situation. But I would still like to know, you being an expert on it apparently,l where the gas comes from in Hell...

      March 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Stevi


      March 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      GodsPeople has nothing to do with God. He or she is already in hell and don't even know it. In any case, a sad, pathetic imitation of a human being, looking for any kind of attention. Please check your meds and don't promise that, which you can not deliver. What a sorry excuse for a human being!

      March 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • GoatBoy

      @GODSPEOPLE well maybe if you weren't so ignorant (obviously i am as well as this comment will confirm) your father wouldn't have given up on life and let the cancer kill him. but if i had a child as stupendously deranged as you i too would pray for death from a ficitious god as I sometimes do just because i must share this beautiful planet with ego consumed destroyers such as yourself.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • GoatBoy

      4 the Record I too am Canadian! it's not only the Albertains you have a problem with cuz i dwell in Ontario. I enjoy hunting, we should go for a stroll in the bush sometime, if your up in my neck of the woods seeking your revenge. my favourite game; is the over populated species commonly refereed to as THE JACK ASS.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  4. Alien Orifice

    Hey, while we are on the subject, did they ever find St. Paul? Those damn kids stole his whole body!

    March 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  5. Alien Orifice

    Hey man, check this out man. Here, smoke this....
    What is this s.h.i.t man?
    Just smoke it man......
    Ok, if you say so man….
    (toke toke toke)
    This is good s.h.i.t man, what is this man?
    It is St. Laurence O'Toole's heart man! You just smoked a dead dude man! Ha ha ha
    Hey that's not funny man! Oh man I just smoked a dead dude. Damn man, that’s not cool!
    Chill out man…..this will help you to heaven and s.h.i.t man….
    Oh, yeah man….yeah I guess that’s cool. Pass that over here again man.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  6. Debra Barton

    What's truly "awful and strange" is having a BODY PART in the first place. The church is the sick one!

    March 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I think it was where the good father hid his stash.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  7. Portland tony

    Relics.....Sounds a little like Voodoo! And the Catholic church wants me to respect their childish beliefs. Go back to the stone age and worship fire. Amazing!

    March 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  8. GodsPeople

    This was obviously an atheist. I can't think of anyone else evil enough to do this.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Too Many Words


      You should have stopped with, "I can't think."

      March 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Exactly GP. It couldn't be a childish prank or anything. That Jesus hating evil demon that lives in a cave of fire recruiting an athiest too......wait, athiests don't belive in Satan. So how's that again?

      March 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Scotland Yard

      We have Celine Dion under surveillance.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • TING

      An obvious action of an "evil doer".

      March 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Sherlock Holmes

      Elementary, my dear dumbazz: a little urchin who has been forced to attend the church did it, out of curiosity as to what a heart looks like after 900 years.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Scotland Yard

      Joe Co'cker (Unchain My Heart) is also on our list to follow.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      March 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • GoatBoy

      @scotland yard you can arrest Celine Dion without a evidence and detain her indefinitely. she is the most dangerous terrorist to ever walk the earth. A drone strike would probably be the safest choice as her squeal can cause and cerebral aneurysm within 100km

      March 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  9. GodsPeople

    Again, you "people" show how disgusting you really are. This is theft, just like any other theft, except that this is of a very old, very fragile and personal treasure. The atheist who did this should be thrown into a vat of water with electricity running through it off and on for 1 minute intervals.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • momoya

      So you're another christian who follows god's example instead of his commandments. Love your enemies; I'm torturing mine in a pit of fire for all eternity.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, get a grip, Priscilla. Your hyperventilations are gassing everyone.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      I just intend on destroying my enemies. Whatever means it takes.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      This is a bowl of dust. Somebody did the church a favor, it was making everyone sneeze. Probably an inside job from the sound of it. Someone is laughing their a.s.s off over a pint. Wish it was me!

      March 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @tomtom: why don't you go kill yourself, you f-u-c-k-i-n-g w-h-o-r-e-

      March 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • momoya

      @ God's People

      So nonreligious people are your enemies? Are you sure it's not spiritual darkness?
      I do commend you, however, on being honest about your motives and not being a weak christian who insists on following god's commandments to christians. I am glad you seek to follow god's methods instead of his recommendations.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oooh, looks like I've hit a nerve!! Goody! I guess I must have done some damage to this brainless dreck of a poster at some point in its life and rendered it helpless to do anything but splutter.

      It's probably herbie the burbler again.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll bet you like to fart on kittens, don't you, herbie?

      March 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Herbie Get a Hand Job

      herbie get a hand job

      March 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Herbie

      There IS a herbie!

      March 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Herbie IS a hand job.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • TING

      Pray for the missing heart. I'd say there's a 40% chance God will answer. Of course the heart being stolen is all part of his plan anyway.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Holmes

      Elementary. The work of a jealous atheist Watson.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      It's Ground Hog Day!

      March 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Anya Khan

    The ghouls here who get joy from other suffering...shows how sad the world is

    March 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • momoya

      Who is suffering???

      March 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  12. carmen

    Please, DO respect other people´s belief.

    March 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Do be a do bee

      March 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • TING

      You know even though the Doobie Brothers aren't related, they do be brothers.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  13. Maryjo

    It's still a crime !

    March 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I know, they should never have taken that person's heart. It should have been buried with the rest of the body.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  14. Ungodly Discipline

    It's a miracle!

    March 4, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Not the missing heart, I mean it is a miracle this place had a 900 year old heart. Ick. I will have a pint please.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I will have a Boddingtons, and if you happen to have one, a 900 year old heart.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you will buy me a 900-year-old heart, I will gladly repay you next Tuesday!

      March 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Yea! The guy who loves hamburgers from Popeye reference!!

      March 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      Check the eBay.

      March 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  15. Lennox Raphael

    With all due respect to the power of miracles, maybe, just maybe, the saint returned for his heart.. I*m impressed. L

    March 4, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      The tell tale heart.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  16. Ufia

    Maybe ants got into it. Now they'll have to worship the ants.

    March 4, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  17. momoya

    How many days until the church claims it was a glorious, positive miracle?

    March 4, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • AGuest9

      Checking my list of biblical magic numbers, it could be 3, 6, 7, 12, or 40.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  18. Gusto

    Cult of death.

    March 4, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  19. Ray

    Maybe St. Laurence came and took it back. It's a miracle.

    March 4, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  20. AGuest9

    Anybody check eBay?

    March 4, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      March 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      No, as much as I would like to buy a bowl of dust, the shipping would be outrageous.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.