A vial of Pope John Paul II’s blood was stolen from a church in Italy’s Abruzzo region, authorities said Monday.
Italian investigators believe the theft was commissioned because thieves took only the relic and left many other church valuables.
John Paul II left behind three relics that contained his blood. While they are of great religious value, resale would be very difficult. Italian police say the thieves may want to use it in Satanic rituals.
The late pope will be canonized in April, making the vial even more valuable as the blood of a saint.
More than 50 police officers and sniffer dogs were deployed in Abruzzo. The area was a favorite skiing holiday location of Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.