Photo Credit: Jennifer Boyer / Flickr
Thieves have stolen the head from an 800-year-old mummified body, known as “The Crusader” from the crypt of a church in the Irish capital Dublin. The vandals responsible also damaged other human remains in the attack on St Michan’s Church in Church Street, Dublin. The church is a popular tourist destination attracting visitors who come to see the mummified remains in the crypt. The vandalism was discovered shortly before lunchtime today (Monday) as volunteers were preparing to open the crypt for visitors.
In a statement, the Church of Ireland said that the body of The Crusader was overturned and its head taken. They say that the crypt was badly damaged and other remains, including the 400-year-old remains of a nun, were desecrated in the attack.
“I am shocked that someone would target this ancient burial place and desecrate the remains of those lying within it”, the Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, said. “Not only have these individuals desecrated the sacred crypt but they have destroyed these historic mummies which have been preserved in St Michan’s for hundreds of years.
“I would appeal to those responsible to examine their consciences and return the head of The Crusader to its rightful place.”
The crypt of St Michan’s was last vandalised in 1996. Archdeacon David Pierpoint, the Vicar of the Christ Church Cathedral Group of Parishes, which includes St Michan’s, said he was saddened by today’s attack.
“The actions of these people are devastating and sacrilegious”, he said. “We are upset at the amount of damage that has been caused. But also the crypt will have to close so tourists will not be able to visit. It is very frustrating”.
The Irish police - An Garda Síochána – is investigating the attack. “I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the Gardaí”, Archdeacon Pierpoint said.