The damage was discovered the morning of May 7 at the Monastery of the Holy Face in Alicante when a priest found the number 666 and an upside down cross on the shatter-proof glass that protects the relic of the Holy Face.
Several more upside down crosses on the Stations of the Cross were also discovered.
According to tradition, the Holy Face is the veil with which Veronica wiped the face of Christ during the Passion. The monastery has served as a pilgrimage site the second Sunday after Holy Week since the year 536.
According to El Mundo, security cameras showed the perpetrator to be a young woman, who apparently hid herself inside the church the night of Saturday, May 6. The suspect has already been identified and the police authorities aim to arrest her in the coming hours.
The perpetrator attempted to break the glass that protects the relic with a pointed instrument and scratched the number 666 on it. She also stole a liturgical prayer book and another one where the liturgical acts of the monastery are recorded.
The bishop of the diocese, Jesús Murgui, along with the vicar general visited the monastery after the robbery and met with the community of nuns who keep the Holy Face, who were shocked by the incident. The diocese reported the incident to the police who are currently investigating.
In a statement, the diocese said that it is looking into “increasing or improving” the security measures at the monastery after the acts of vandalism.
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.”
Sabotaje con signos satánicos en el monasterio de la Santa Faz https://t.co/otj7Rw3h7x
— INFORMACION.es (@informacion_es) May 8, 2017