The « Treasure » of the Tournai Cathedral looted


Byzance, VIIIe-IXth century
Cross
Tournai, Cathedral (stolen 19/2/08)

22/02/08 — Theft — Tournai, Cathedral — The “tresor” of the Tournai Cathedral was the victim of a major theft on Tuesday 19 February.
In broad daylight, three men using baseball bats broke the glass display cases and stole, despite the attempts of several by-standers, thirteen objects including a famous Byzantine cross (ill.). This reliquary which holds a piece of the Cross and probably dates back to the VIIIth-IXth centuries was most likely brought to Tournai from Constantinople in 1205 by a Crusader [1]. One can only hope that the object will not be dismounted in order to sell off the precious stones ornating it.
Looting of religious buildings has become a serious problem for European artistic heritage. This latest incident proves that no church is vandal-proof since the objects were kept in the “trésor”, under locked cases and protected by an alarm system.

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Didier Rykner, vendredi 22 février 2008



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