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Danes help nab ‘Swedish church plunderer’

Spanish National Police said on Monday that with the help of Danish authorities they had nabbed a man accused of snatching dozens of religious objects from Swedish churches.

Danes help nab 'Swedish church plunderer'
Photo: Spanish National Police.
A 63-year-old Spanish man in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, was arrested and charged for a “crime against historic heritage” after police found 43 religious objects from Swedish churches in his home.
 
The man had previously served five years in Swedish prison for similar crimes and was known by the nickname el expoliador de iglesias suecas, or “the plunderer of Swedish churches”.
 
 
Swedish investigators contacted the Spanish police about the missing artworks because the Tenerife man was their prime suspect. 
 
After investigating the man together, officers searched his house and found 43 items ranging from an 18th century Bible, to 15th century wood carvings of “great historical value”.
 
Investigators were able to locate four more items in Madrid, which had been sold through an auction house.
 
Authorities also determined that the man must have had warehouses in Denmark and with the help of police there were able to track down two storage spaces.
 
There officers found even more religious items. Based on material they found in Denmark, police then returned to the man's Tenerife home to find three more items that had been stolen including part of a 15th century altarpiece.
 
German authorities also helped in conducting research for the investigation.
 

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CHURCH

Denmark planning to reopen churches for Easter Sunday

Denmark's government is planning to open the way for limited church services over Easter, so that Christians can celebrate the resurrection, even during the coronavirus lockdown.

Denmark planning to reopen churches for Easter Sunday
In the Church of Denmark, those taking community traditionally drink from the same silver cup. Photo: Church of Denmark
If services go ahead, it will mark the first relaxation of the country's lockdown since it was imposed on March 11. 
 
“Easter is the most important celebration of the church year,” Denmark's church minister Joy Mogensen said in a press release. “This is especially the case during a sombre time when the Danes are looking for community and meaning, which is why the government is now working on a solution so that we can celebrate Easter in church in a responsible way.” 
 
Churches and church halls have been closed in Denmark since March 11, along with mosques, synagogues and other places of worship. 
 
 
But with the country set to begin gradually lifting its coronavirus restrictions after Easter, the leadership of the Church of Denmark is now holding discussions with the Danish Health Authority and the Church Ministry on how to safely allow services to proceed on Easter Sunday. 
 
The government gave no details on what a responsible church service might entail, or whether it would be possible for churchgoers to pray and sing together in church or to receive communion. 
 
In the National Church of Denmark, communion typically involves a long queue to go the alter where all who are receiving the sacrament drink sips of wine from the same cup. 
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