Reliquary of Holy Face Desecrated in Spain

28299275_sA reliquary containing the veil believed to have been touched to the face of Christ by Veronica during the Passion was desecrated over the weekend.

CNA/EWTN News is reporting on the vandalism that was discovered on the morning of May 7 at the Monastery of the Holy Face in Alicante when a priest found the number 666 and an upside cross written on the glass protecting the relic.

Security cameras revealed the perpetrator, a young woman, who hid herself inside the Church on the night of May 6. She attempted to shatter the glass with a pointed instrument, then etched the number 666 on it. She was also seen stealing several books.

Police have since identified the woman and are planning to arrest her.

“According to tradition, the Holy Face is the veil with which Veronica wiped the face of Christ during the Passion,” CNA reports. “The monastery has served as a pilgrimage site the second Sunday after Holy Week since the year 536.”

Jesús Murgui, the bishop of the diocese, visited the monastery after the incident and met with the community of nuns who keep the sacred relic. The nuns were reportedly shocked by the incident.

The diocese said in a statement that they were looking into increasing or improving security measures at the monastery to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

The diocese also said that “we are praying to God, Our Lord, for whomever caused this damage” and asked the faithful of Alicante that “the deplorable circumstances not be to the detriment of the love and the devotion that we feel toward this age-old relic of the Holy Face.”

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