A piece of cloth with a drop of blood from Pope Saint John Paul II has been stolen from Cologne Cathedral, German police said.

The cloth was a fragment of the cassock that John Paul was wearing on May 13, 1981 when he was shot in an assassination attempt.

Authorities said a visitor had observed that the relic was missing on Sunday morning and had alerted a church official. The relic had been contained in a glass container at the base of a statue of Pope Saint John Paul II which had been pried loose.

Police said the theft happened sometime in the night from Saturday until Sunday morning.

The cathedral’s provost Gerd Bachner said in the statement “The material value is small, much greater is the spiritual loss” and urged the thief to return the relic.

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