A trio of thieves in Italy is believed to have stolen a backpack containing a vial of the late Pope John Paul II’s blood from a priest traveling by train in Italy. The vial was thankfully recovered within a matter of hours by Italian police.

The Daily Mail reports on the Italian robbery and the quick recovery of the now precious artifact.

The priest was travelling via train from Rome to a sanctuary north of the capital in order to deliver the relic of the late Pope’s blood to be put on display for admirers.

The priest believes his bag was snatched by a trio of men who had stopped him on the train looking for directions. He notified police as soon as he realized his backpack and the vial were missing when he disembarked at Civitavecchia.

Domenico Ponziani, state railway police official, said the vial was located the same day it was stolen. Within a few hours of the theft, Italian police located the vial of the late Pope’s blood in a stand of reeds and grass near the railway station in the town Marina di Cerveteri.

It is not clear whether the thieves were going to come back to retrieve the vial or not.

The precious vial was en route to be put on display at a sanctuary for his admirers. The relic is described as a tiny glass vial containing the blood which was inserted into a reliquary in the form of an open book with gilded pages.

The Pope, who died in 2005, is in line for sainthood after he was beatified by incumbent Pope Benedict XVI last year.

The letter was signed by Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland