MOSCOW – MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian news agency is reporting that three ancient icons, one of which contained relics of Russia's most venerated saint, have been stolen.
RIA Novosti said Sunday that clerics at the St. Trinity church in a Moscow suburb discovered the theft after a service Saturday.
It said one of the icons contained fragments of relics of St. Sergiy of Radonezh.
The 14th-century Orthodox monk helped consolidate the Russian church in the time of Mongol rule and was later canonized as Moscow's patron saint.
Theft of icons from poorly guarded churches has become widespread since tens of thousands of churches reopened in Russia following the Soviet collapse.
The Russian Orthodox Church counts two-thirds of Russia's population of 142 million as members.