Archbishop Clifford appeals for the return of the Relic of the True Cross

12 Oct 2011

Archbishop Clifford appeals for the return of the Relic of the True Cross

Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, has appealed to those who stole the Relic of the True Cross from Holy Cross Abbey to return it immediately.  This precious Relic was taken yesterday evening from the Abbey near Thurles, Co Tipperary, by two people who cut through a steel door of a display cabinet.

Archbishop Clifford said “The sacred Relic is a portion of the True Cross upon which Our Lord was crucified.  The high profile of Holy Cross Abbey rests primarily on its possession of this Relic.  The Relic has attracted many pilgrims and other visitors to the Abbey down the centuries and is still a source of attraction to the present day.  The unlawful removal of this Relic is regarded as an outrage by the people of faith who  value its spiritual and historic importance.”

“The faithful are extremely upset at the loss of this irreplaceable and sacred Relic.  While it is not of great material value, it holds significant spiritual meaning for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly and beyond.  Holy Cross Abbey will never be the same again unless and until the Relic is returned.

“I strongly appeal to the people who stole this sacred Relic to return it to any church or religious house without delay.  I urge anyone with information on this theft, regardless of how small, to report it to An Garda Síochána.  I ask the faithful everywhere to pray for the safe return of this Relic of the Holy Cross.”


Notes for Editors

  • Pope Paschal II gave this Relic of the True Cross to the O’Brien Kings of Thomond in recognition for their support for the Catholic Church.  The O’Brien Kings gave the Relic to the Benedictine Monastery of Thurles, Co Tipperary.  The Cistercian Order took over the monastery in 1180AD and the Order protected the Relic until the monastery was supressed during the Reformation.  In 1801 the Relic was given to the Ursuline Sisters in Blackrock, Co Cork, by Bishop Francis Moylan.  This relic and its case were presented to Holy Cross Abbey at the time of its restoration by the late Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Archbishop Thomas Morris, in 1975.
  • The faithful adore Our Lord but venerate the Holy Cross.  Pilgrims – since the beginning of the 12th Century – have come from all over the country to venerate the Relic.  It would appear that possession of the relic motivated the 15th Century reconstruction of the Abbey.