(RNS1-april24) The Pope John Paull II prayer card, which was designed and printed by Pilot Bulletins in recognition of this weekend's canonizations. For use with RNS-PRAYER-CARDS, transmitted on April 24, 2014, Photo courtesy of Pilot Bulletins

Pope John Paul II relic stolen from Cologne Cathedral

BERLIN - A cloth with a drop of blood from former Pope John Paul II has been stolen from Cologne Cathedral, German police said.

Police said a visitor had noticed that the relic was missing on Sunday morning (June 5) and had alerted a church official.

The relic was contained in a glass container at the base of a statue of Pope John Paul II, who was leader of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005.

Police said the container had been prised from the sculpture's base in the night from Saturday until Sunday morning.

"Although the material value is low, the spiritual value is a lot bigger," the cathedral's provost Gerd Bachner said in the police statement and urged the thief to return the relic.