Rare Spanish codex found in garage after handyman arrested

MADRID Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:49pm IST

MADRID (Reuters) - A medieval text stolen from the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in northwest Spain last year was found in a nearby garage on Wednesday, after police arrested a handyman - fired after 25 years at the cathedral - and three members of his family.

The Codex Calixtinus, a 12th century collection of sermons and liturgical passages, vanished last July from a safe deposit box in the cathedral, the end of the ancient pilgrimage route the Camino de Santiago.

Police said they had found the elaborately illustrated manuscript, a treasured part of Spain's cultural and religious heritage, in a garage near the Galician town.

The cathedral is the reputed burial place of Saint James the Greater, one of Jesus's twelve apostles who, according to tradition, went to Spain to preach Christianity.

The Codex tells the story of how the apostle's remains were transferred to Santiago de Compostela and details the various routes to the town - effectively a guide for early pilgrims.

Earlier dawn raids on properties connected to the detained former church handyman, his wife, son and another woman had led police to the discovery of at least 1.2 million euros, eight copies of the Codex and other ancient books that had also been stolen from the cathedral.

Officers also found documents and correspondence related to senior church figures and keys to various outbuildings. The cathedral's book of hours, a popular type of devotional book in the Middle Ages, was also recovered.

The main suspect, whom police have not named, is a man who was sacked after working for the cathedral as a freelance handyman and electrician for more than 25 years, police said in a statement.

He was made redundant after faking a work contract to make it look like he had permanent job, and claimed he was owed 40,000 euros for unfair dismissal, the police said.

(Reporting by Teresa Larraz Mora and Teresa Medrano; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Art World

REUTERS SHOWCASE

A Minute With

A Minute With

Shailene Woodley on teen sex, violence and Marvel.  Full Article 

Music Chart

Music Chart

U2 album stumbles in Billboard chart after free iTunes debut.  Full Article 

Snowden Documentary

Snowden Documentary

Filming in fear: Edward Snowden as 'Citizenfour' .  Full Article 

Sax and the City

Sax and the City

Kenny G hits sour note in China with Hong Kong visit .  Full Article 

More Content

More Content

Alibaba looking to expand Hollywood content offering - Bloomberg.  Full Article 

The Savage Mountain

The Savage Mountain

Photographer Wolfgang Rattay travelled to northern Pakistan to trek the K2 base camp trail.  Slideshow 

Humane Filmmaker

Humane Filmmaker

Animal rights group honors 'Noah' director avoiding animal use in film.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage