July 2011 | Jonathan Shipley

The Codex Calixtinus Manuscript Stolen

It is one of the most important texts of the Middle Ages. It has incalculable value. It's the Codex Calixtinus. It's been taken from a Spanish cathedral.

From a piece in Time Magazine...

On Thursday, July 7, church authorities in the Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela publicly confirmed that the priceless 12th century manuscript had been stolen from a safe in the cathedral vault. According to the local press, when the theft was discovered, the keys to the safe were still hanging in the lock.

The illuminated Codex was apparently removed from the cathedral archives on July 5 and reported missing to police the following day. At a press conference on Thursday, the cathedral deacon, José María Díaz, said that only he and two other archivists had access to the manuscript and that one of them had last seen the document on June 30 or July 1. Although the Codex was taken without signs of forced entry, Díaz said, "We have been victims of a terrible attack."

Written in the mid-1100s under the auspices of Pope Calixtus II, the Codex is about the apostle St. James, whose remains are believed to have miraculously washed up on the coast of northwestern Spain. The town that houses his tomb, which became known as Santiago de Compostela (Santiago means "St. James" in Spanish), was transformed in the Middle Ages into a major pilgrimage site -- the third most important, after Jerusalem and Rome -- for Christians from all over Europe.