A cross that former pope Benedict XVI used to wear on his chest has been stolen from a church in southern Germany where it was on display, police said Tuesday.
The pectoral cross was in a case in the wall of St. Oswald's church in Traunstein, in the state of Bavaria, where the late Benedict spent his adolescent years.
Thieves broke into the case and took the item, which the former pope had bequeathed to the parish, between 11:45 am (0945 GMT) and 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Monday.
"For the Catholic Church, the value of this sacred object cannot be quantified," Bavarian police said in a statement.
The perpetrators, whose identities are unknown, also broke into a cash register of a magazine stand and stole the money inside, the police said.
They are appealing for witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously around the church on Monday.
Benedict, who in 2013 became the first pontiff in six centuries to step down as head of the Catholic Church, died in December aged 95 after a long period of declining health.