Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/7/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Preserved heart of St. Laurence O'Toole, patron saint of Dublin stolen from cathedral

In one of the more bizarre cases of theft, the preserved heart of Saint Laurence O'Toole has been stolen from the Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The heart had been displayed in the cathedral since the 13th century, stored in a heart-shaped wooden box and secured in a small, square iron cage on the wall of a chapel.

Whoever stole the relic had to cut through two bars, pry the cage loose, and stealthily made off with the heart over the weekend.

Whoever stole the relic had to cut through two bars, pry the cage loose, and stealthily made off with the heart over the weekend.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

3/7/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Dublin, Saint Laurence O'Toole, preserved heart, theft

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Whoever stole the relic had to cut through two bars, pry the cage loose, and stealthily made off with it over the weekend.

"I am devastated that one of the treasured artifacts of the cathedral is stolen," the Most Rev. Dermot Dunne, the cathedral's dean says. "It has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links our present foundation with its founding father."

The Garda Siochana, Ireland's national police force say that detectives are studying hours of closed-circuit TV footage to try to identify the approximately 40 people who walked out the cathedral's front doors Saturday morning.

Investigators say the thief may have hidden overnight in the cathedral and fled with the heart when its doors opened Saturday. Worshippers didn't spot that the relic was missing until later that afternoon. No arrests have been made.

The Cathedral's Director of Operations Nuala Kavanagh said whoever stole it appeared to have no interest in financial gain, since several nearby objects made of gold and other precious materials were not touched.

"It's completely bizarre," she said. "They didn't touch anything else. They wanted the heart of St. Laurence O'Toole."

Church services went through as usual on Sunday. Tourists visiting the Viking-era cathedral weren't told of the theft. Many approached the O'Toole chapel and spent much time looking, confusedly, between their guide books and the pried-open box.

Ireland's churches have suffered a spate of such robberies of irreplaceable - and difficult to sell, religious artifacts.

Three relics believed to be fragments of the cross used to crucify Jesus were stolen last year from Holy Cross Abbey in County Tipperary. Police have since recovered those relics in January, without arrests.

In January, a thief stole the ornate container housing the jawbone of St. Brigid in a north side Dublin church. The container was bolted down to the altar. However and had just been cleaned. The jawbone of St. Brigid, one of Ireland's earliest and most venerated saints, wasn't inside.

O'Toole was Dublin's archbishop from 1162 to 1180 and gained a reputation as a skillful mediator between rival Gaelic and Norman factions then fighting for power in Ireland. He died aged 58 while traveling in Normandy on another peace mission. On his death bed he was said to have declined to make a will, claiming not to have a penny to his name.

Pope Honorius III canonized O'Toole in 1225 on the weight of many claims of miracles at his original grave site. O'Toole's heart had been the last surviving part of his remains.



Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Pope Francis: Jesus is weeping over a WORLD AT WAR

Image of Pope Francis mourns a world at war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading

Oxford to begin study of Catholic relics. Here are 5 macabre relics people venerate from around the world Watch

Image of The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas.


The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading

Nine bishops, one abbot, dine and dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading

Woman turns her cancer over to Jesus Christ - survives, thrives Watch

Image of Heather King shares her struggles in her new memoir,

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading

Top 5 ways to find joy Watch

Image of Find happiness in spite of the darkness.


It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent Watch

Image of What millions of Christians do a day after expressing thanks for what they already have.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading

Cardinal Sarah releases new book, 'God or Nothing,' on civilization's fall from grace Watch

Image of Without God, the cardinal said,

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading

Holy Door in St. Peter's basilica to open for first time in 15 years for Holy Year of Mercy Watch

Image of The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolically illustrate the idea that the Church's faithful are offered an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading

5 powerful Bible verses you need when fear and terror strike Watch

Image of


Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading

Pope Francis: World War III has begun - Third Secret of Fatima gives warning Watch

Image of Is the Church preparing us for the end? Our Lady calls us to penance.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has invoked World War III, saying that it has begun in a piecemeal fashion. The Third Secret of Fatima could provide Christians a framework for considering this terrifying new development. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In condemning the Nov. 13, ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 'We cannot succumb to fear': U.S. joins France in fight against ISIS
  • You won't believe what happened to these misguided teens joined ISIS
  • St. Patrick HD
  • St. John The Apostle HD
  • Clone livestock, racehorses, the family pet - China opens world's ...
  • St. Catherine of Alexandria: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November ...
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 2:31-45
31 'You have had a vision, Your Majesty; this is what you saw: a statue, ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61
57 Bless the Lord, all the Lord's creation: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 24th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew Dung Lac
November 24: Through the missionary efforts of various ... Read More