Spain: Calixtinus Codex back in Santiago Cathedral

12th century manuscript stolen by electrician

05 July, 12:12

The facsimile edition of the Calixtinus Codex The facsimile edition of the Calixtinus Codex

(ANSAmed) - MADRID - After a year of investigations over the mysterious theft of the 12th century Calixtinus Code from the Cathedral of Santiago de Campostela, the Liber Sancti Jacobi considered the first pilgrimage guide of the Santiago apostle has been found and is back in the cathedral.

The code disappeared exactly a year ago from the cathedral's safe of which only three people had the key.

Yesterday police arrested an electrician who had worked at the cathedral for 25 years before being fired, José Manuel Fernandez Castiñeiras, his wife and son, and the son's girlfriend on charges they had stolen the precious manuscript which includes sermons and liturgical texts associated with Saint James and polyphonic musical pieces.

Police found the manuscript yesterday afternoon after questioning Castiñeiras and immediately brought it back to the cathedral and left it in the care of the Archbishop of Santiago, Julian Barrio.

Investigators believe the electrician stole the code as a revenge for being fired in 2009 following job cuts at the cathedral. The man, who was self-employed, first forged a job contract to demand 40,000 euros as compensation for being laid off. When his attempt to get money from his former employers failed, he planned the theft.

In the past few months the man had reportedly returned several times to the cathedral to follow the investigations. He is now detained along with his wife Maria Remedio Nieto Mayo, son Jesus Fernandez Nieto and his girlfriend Maria Jesus Quinteiro Seoane.

The code was found in good condition hidden in a garage in Milladoiro near Santiago which investigators were unaware belonged to the electrician. The electrician revealed the hiding place during questioning by prosecutor José Antonio Vazquez Tain.

Police also found another eight copies of the Liber Sancti Jacobi, money and art objects stolen from the cathedral along with 1.2 million euros in cash after searching the suspects' apartments. Investigators also found a highly valuable Book of Hours which had been reported missing.

The first pilgrimage guide of Santiago is composed of several documents from different historic periods united in 1139 by Aymeric Pacaud, a man of the church from Parthenay-le-Vieux (Poitou, France), baptized Calixtinus after Pope Callixtus II, who penned the introduction and commissioned the book.

After the theft, the cathedral's archive where the manuscript is held will be protected by an alarm system.(ANSAmed).

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