A sacrilegious robbery took place at Prophet Elias Monastery in the village of Agion Pneuma in Serres, Greece.
According to Romfea.gr, during Sunday services this morning (02/06/2011), while the nuns were worshipping in the church, unknowns broke into the east-wing of the convent, in which is the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. They broke the protective glass covering the icon and damaged the frame in order to steal the valuable tributes posted on the icon by the faithful in gratitude for answered prayers.
The nuns immediately noticed the theft and informed police officers who were in attendance at the Divine Liturgy. The Holy Metropolis of Serres was also informed.
This is an ongoing investigation, though suspects are currently in custody.
Among the tributes stolen were three hierarchical amulets dedicated by Metropolitan Maximos of Serres on the day a presidential decree was issued to establish the monastery, as well as a hierarchical cross given by Archimandrite Chrysostomos of Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos who helped establish the monastery.
The miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary has been housed in the monastery for the past two decades. It is the work of painter George Karpontinis and decorated with the care of Archimandrite Chrysostomos Katsoulieris in 1982. Since 1990 she has been the patron of the village of Agion Pneuma and been the source of many answered prayers and miraculous healings. In thanksgiving for this, the faithful have poured in tributes which the thieves have now taken advantage of.
A great feast of the monastery is celebrated on September 24th in which thousands of faithful from around the world gather, including the sick, the childless, and the hurting, in order to partake of the grace of the Holy Virgin Theotokos.