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WEDNESDAY, 23 APR 2014
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Tube of John Paul II's blood stolen in Italy
Agence France Presse
FILE - A Thursday, Oct. 16, 2003 photo from files showing Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz as he arrives in the Paul VI hall to hear a "Message from the College of Cardinals to the Holy Father" at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri, File)
FILE - A Thursday, Oct. 16, 2003 photo from files showing Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz as he arrives in the Paul VI hall to hear a "Message from the College of Cardinals to the Holy Father" at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri, File)
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ROME: A tube containing Polish pope John Paul II's blood has been stolen from a church in Italy, sparking a region-wide search involving sniffer dogs and 50 police officers, Italian media reports said Monday.

The vial was stolen on Saturday from the San Pietro della Ienca church in the mountainous Abruzzo region in central Italy where the pope, who died in 2005, loved to go on skiing holidays, according to the Repubblica daily.

Police and sniffer dogs are sweeping the area, famed for its weathered stone houses and the little church where the head of the Catholic Church once reportedly took refuge in a storm.

Pasquale Corriere, head of the "San Pietro della Ienca" association, said there are only three vials in the world containing the former pontiff's blood.

John Paul II and the Italian pope John XXIII -- known as the "good pope" -- are set to become saints in a ceremony at the Vatican in April expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.

 
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Story Summary
A tube containing Polish pope John Paul II's blood has been stolen from a church in Italy, sparking a region-wide search involving sniffer dogs and 50 police officers, Italian media reports said Monday.

John Paul II and the Italian pope John XXIII -- known as the "good pope" -- are set to become saints in a ceremony at the Vatican in April expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
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