Two men attempt to steal relics of Great Martyr Paraskeva from Zaporozhye church

September 20, 2017. Two men were detained early this morning at about 1:40 AM at St. Andrew’s Orthodox Cathedral in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye for attempted robbery, especially of the relics of the Great Martyr Paraskeva of Iconium which had been brought to the city the day before, reports the Melitopol-based Mestnie Novosti (Local News).

The two men were spotted scaling the church fence by a local resident who called the police. Two patrol crews arrived on the scene.

The police spotted a broken lattice on one of the windows, and the lights were on inside the church. The church guard helped the police get inside the church, where they found the two unknown men, born in 1993 and 1996, talking between themselves. The officers found damage to the reliquary containing the relics of St. Paraskeva. The relics themselves were found at the entrance of the church, where the thieves had thrown them when they noticed the police officers.

The relics of St. Paraskeva arrived from the Holy Protection-Theodosius Monastery in Balta to the Zaporozhye Diocese on June 26 in celebration of its 25th anniversary. They are scheduled to remain in the diocese until September 3.

500 hyrvnia ($19) stolen from the guard’s jacket was also found on the men, and they had found a donation box which they were planning to break into. After checking police databases, the police established that the men had previously been found guilty of breaking and entering and robbery.

An investigative task force from the Shevchenkovsky Regional Department later arrived on the scene for further inspections. All evidence was seized in the presence of witnesses.

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