Relic was recovered undamaged by gardaí following lengthy investigation.

The heart of St Laurence O’Toole, Dublin’s patron saint, will be returned to Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday evening after it was stolen over six years ago.

The 800-year-old relic has been recovered undamaged.

Gardaí said no arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing. A spokesman declined to say where the relic was recovered.

It was stolen from the cathedral in March 2012 and will be presented by Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy to the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, at a service at 6pm.

The relic was kept in a wooden heart-shaped container sealed within a small iron-barred cage in St Laud’s chapel in the cathedral. The bars of the cage had been cut.

Mosaic medallion of St Lavrence O'Toole in St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.

It is believed the thief or thieves hid in the building overnight. A spokeswoman for the cathedral said after the theft there was no alarm or sign of any break-in. She said the culprit or culprits ignored valuable gold chalices and gold candlesticks in the chapel in favour of the relic. “It’s completely bizarre,” she said. “They didn’t touch anything else. They specifically targeted this, they wanted the heart of St Laurence O’Toole.”

She said the thieves would have needed a metal cutter to prise back the bars that protected the enclosed heart.

Archbishop Jackson said the return of the heart brings “great joy” to the people of Dublin.

“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 said.

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Article courtesy of:  Sarah Burns. Irish Times.

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