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Relic of Pope John Paul II stolen from Cologne Cathedral

A nun prays in front of a painting depicting Pope John Paul II inside St. Sprit in Sassia church in Rome, April 24, 2014. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

BERLIN (Reuters) - A cloth with a drop of blood from former Pope John Paul II has been stolen from Cologne Cathedral, German police said on Sunday.

Police said a visitor had noticed that the relic was missing on Sunday morning and had alerted a church official.

The relic was contained in a glass container at the base of a statue of Pope John Paul II, who was leader of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005.

Police said the container had been priced from the sculpture’s base in the night from Saturday until Sunday morning.

“Although the material value is low, the spiritual value is a lot bigger,” the cathedral’s provost Gerd Bachner said in the police statement and urged the thief to return the relic.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Stephen Powell