By John Ensor •
Published: 20 Sep 2023 • 13:10
Virgin Mary and baby Jesus before the theft.
A recent theft from a church in Malaga has raised the question: Is nothing sacred anymore?
On the morning of Tuesday, September, 19, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Flores in Alora, Malaga, witnessed a shocking theft. This sanctuary, home to one of the most revered Marian devotions in the Malaga Diocese, was desecrated and robbed, according to Nuis Diario.
Around eight in the morning, the individual responsible for opening the sanctuary made a disturbing discovery. The statue of the Virgin appeared displaced, missing both its crown and cloak. Additionally, the tabernacle was out of place, resting atop the altar, its contents strewn about.
Upon closer inspection, several significant losses were identified. The baby Jesus, which the Virgin traditionally holds, was missing. The Virgin’s cloak, adorned with jewels given by devotees, was also gone. The ciborium (altar vessel) and funds intended for worship and charitable causes had also been taken. Fortunately, the Virgin’s statue itself seemed unharmed.
Local priest, Felipe M. Gallego, was immediately informed. He stated, ‘The perpetrators of the robbery have entered by cleanly forcing the grille of one of the sacristy windows, the access doors from the sacristy to the vestibule and from the vestibule to the temple and, later, the armoured glass that protected the Virgin’.
Three decades have passed since the last incident of theft at the church. It was after that particular event that the decision was made to encase the statue of the Virgin behind reinforced glass. Despite this, the church has always been a popular and revered place of worship.
The incident was posted on X (formerly Twitter) along with photographs of what the statue looked like prior to the theft. One indignant woman tellingly posted: ‘Unfortunate but the Lord sees everything and here we pay for our faults, Virgin forgive them and may life give them what they deserve!!!! AMEN.’
The theft of church artefacts is not a new phenomenon in Spain. Over the years, numerous churches have reported similar incidents, with sacred items being stolen, presumably for their material value or for illicit trade. Such acts not only result in financial loss but also deeply wound the religious and cultural sentiments of the community.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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