The theft of a vial of blood from Pope John Paul II has been linked to satanism by Italian observers.

The Italian Anti-Plagiarism Observatory made the claim after the robbery of a reliquary containing the blood of the late pontiff.

The Irish Times reports that the claim was made in the wake of reports of the theft of a gold reliquary and a crucifix from a church in San Pietro della Ienca, at the foot of the Gran Sasso mountain in Abruzzo.

Giovanni Panunzio, head of the Anti-Plagiarism Observatory, suggested that the theft might be linked to satanism given that the end of January represents a key moment in the satanic calendar.

The report says some satanic cults see the period of January 20-27 as a time for the ‘abduction, ceremonial preparation and holding of a sacrificial victim for Candlemas’, a feast day celebrated along with other ‘satanic revels’ on February 2nd.

The Irish Times report says that since 2011, the church of San Pietro della Ienca has become a sanctuary dedicated to the memory of the late Pope John Paul II.

The little church is situated right in the heart of a mountainous region much loved by the late pope.
The report suggests that in the early days of his pontificate, John Paul II would occasionally slip out of the Vatican during the winter months to go skiing on the Gran Sasso.

He continued to visit the area later in life when he restricted himself to long walks in the hills.

In 2011, the pope’s long time private secretary and the current Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, donated a gold reliquary containing a small amount of the late pope’s blood to the church of San Pietro della Ienca.

Last Sunday morning a custodian discovered that the church had been broken into and that both the reliquary and a crucifix were missing.

Commentators have suggested that the fact that nothing other than the crucifix and reliquary were stolen from the little mountainside church might mean that this was a ‘commissioned’ robbery as there are only three such reliquaries in existence.

It has also been argued that any reliquary linked to John Paul II will increase greatly in value when he is canonized in April.