MADRID – The former electrician for Spain's famed cathedral in Santiago de Compostela has denied having ever seen the priceless 12th-century Codex Calixtinus that authorities found in his garage and says he doesn't remember confessing to stealing it.
Jose Manuel Fernandez Castineiras, who is in his 60s, made the declarations in court Tuesday on his trial's second day.
The richly-decorated Codex, which went missing in 2011, is considered the first guide for Christians making the pilgrimage to venerate St. James.
Authorities who searched the electrician's home in 2012 also found other valuable religious works and recovered more than 1 million euros ($1.2 million).
The popular pilgrimage across northern Spain to the cathedral in the northwestern Galicia region was inspired by the reputed discovery of the apostle's tomb around the year 800.