Tuesday 15 October 2019

800-year-old heart of St Laurence O'Toole recovered by gardai

The 12th century heart of Saint Laurence O Toole has been stolen from Saint Lauds Chapel within Christ Church cathedral, Dublin
The 12th century heart of Saint Laurence O Toole has been stolen from Saint Lauds Chapel within Christ Church cathedral, Dublin
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The preserved heart of Dublin's patron saint has been recovered by gardai after it was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral six years ago.

The heart of St Laurence O'Toole, which had been in the cathedral for 800 years , was kept in a wooden container sealed within a small iron-barred case.

The relic was stolen from Saint Laud's Chapel in Christ Church Cathedral in October 2012.

A long running investigation by An Garda Síochána led to the recovery of the heart. It was found undamaged. That investigation is ongoing.

The relic will be presented to Christ Church Cathedral this evening by Assistant Commissoner Pat Leahy to the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson.

Archbishop Jackson said that the return of the heart is of huge significance to the people of Dublin.

“The return of the heart of Laurence O’Toole to Christ Church Cathedral brings great joy to the people of Dublin as 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,” he stated.

“Our deep thanks and warm appreciation go to all who have worked tirelessly to make this day of restoration possible, particularly the Garda Síochána,” he added.

The cathedral’s Dean, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne, said he was delighted that the relic had been recovered.

“I am delighted that the heart will be back in the cathedral. I am grateful to the Gardaí for all the work they have done in recovering it. I said at the time it was stolen that the relic has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links the cathedral’s present foundation with its founding father, St Laurence O’Toole.

"It gives joy to my heart that the heart has been returned to the city,” the Dean stated.

A spokesperson for Christ Church Cathedral said a proper shrine to St Laurence will be instituted in the cathedral where the people of Dublin can come to honour the memory of the patron saint of the city.

Following the theft of the heart, security at the cathedral was reviewed and regular security reviews continue.

Laurence O’Toole is the Patron Saint of Dublin and is closely associated with the early years of Christ Church Cathedral. His feast day falls on November 14.

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