Relic of True Cross stolen from cathedral recovered

BRAINTREE -- One of the Archdiocese of Boston's most cherished relics that had been missing from its mother church for over a month has been returned to the archdiocese.

The relic of the True Cross, which had been housed in a reliquary in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End, was turned in to the Vermont State Police. Officials from the cathedral retrieved the relic on Aug. 15.

According to an incident report released by the Vermont State Police, the relic was recovered on Aug. 9 after they received a call about a domestic argument that involved Earl Frost, 34. Frost turned the relic over to Vermont State Police, and claimed he got it from an "unidentified third party" in Rhode Island.

Because Vermont State Police did not have confirmation of the relic's authenticity at the time they received it from Frost, they did not have enough evidence to hold him on possession of stolen property charges.

According to the incident report, Frost has since "fled the area and his whereabouts is unknown at this time."

A warrant is being sought for his arrest.

"We are grateful for the great work of the Boston Police Department in their search for the relic," a statement by Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese, said.

"Their professional and diligent work made this effort successful. We also extend our appreciation to the Vermont State Police who assisted in the recovery effort," Donilon added.

The relic was believed to have been taken from the cathedral on June 30 or July 1. It was discovered missing by a staff member on the morning of July 1.

"God has blessed us with His love and capacity to forgive," Donilon's statement also said. "We prayerfully carry on His call for forgiveness for those responsible."

The relic, a splinter of wood believed to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified, will be placed in its original reliquary at a prayer service Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the cathedral.

"I think we're thankful it's been returned," said cathedral pastoral associate Bob Travers. "We want to get it back to where it was originally so people can venerate the cross and pause and reflect in prayer."