Bishop Moth appeals for return of Waterloo Crucifix


Bishop Moth, Bishop for the Armed Forces, has appealed for recognition of the importance of religious symbols for military personnel after a historic crucifix was stolen from a chapel at the site of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The cross became part of popular literature when it was mentioned in Les Miserables by author Victor Hugo. Its importance was stressed by Professor Richard Holmes, who is leading efforts to restore the château complex at Hougoumont. He said: ‘It is a shocking thing to happen and a huge loss. ‘It is hard for all those with an affection for this remarkable spot, but unfortunately this is an isolated location and the answer is to restore it and having someone living there at all times.

The wooden crucifix  survived a fire at the Battle of Waterloo , ans the thefts have led police to believe art collectors are behind the crimes and now the battlefield’s curator has appealed for the artefacts’ safe return.
The fifteenth-century cross miraculously survived a raging inferno in a chapel at the château Hougoumont with just charred feet during fierce fighting between French soldiers and troops from the Grenadier, Scots and Coldstream Guards on June 18 1815.

Interpol officers have issued an international arrest warrant in connection with the 6ft-high ‘irreplaceable’ Hougoumont Christ at a château considered pivotal to the battle. It was taken at the same time as a memorial stone to British troops and their allies at the historic site in Walloon Brabant, Belgium. “Battlefields are places where people are called to pray for peace and the fallen, however long ago the fighting took place,” said Bishop Richard Moth of the Military Diocese of Great Britain, CNS reports. “The openness to prayer and faith remains widespread among troops today, and the experience of active service very often brings out a religious element even among people who don’t necessarily go to church at home,” he said. “So any soldier would be appalled by this immoral theft, which is a terrible shame and disservice to the wider community.” Bishop Moth’s comments were made as an international police hunt continued for the six-foot commemorative crucifix, which was believed stolen the night of Feb. 3 from the chapel at Hougoumont in Belgium.

In a Feb. 15 Catholic News Service interview, he said the crucifix was considered a key emblem by British regiments who took part in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Army, and had long been a reminder to anyone visiting Waterloo of the “massive loss of life.” Bishop Moth said: “As a link to the battle, which survived the raging fire at Hougoumont, it summoned people to reflect in a particular way on what took place there. We’re not always very good at learning lessons from our own history. But this crucifix always prompted visitors to consider the lessons to be learned from Waterloo.”

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4 Responses to Bishop Moth appeals for return of Waterloo Crucifix

  1. toadspittle says:

    … he said the (miraculous!) crucifix was considered a key emblem by British regiments who took part in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Army…

    Yey another glittering example of God’s predilection for the big battalions!


  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Bishop Richard Moth should spend a little less time bothering about religious artifacts and focus more on developing his dire pastoral skills. As Vicar General of Southwark he was a waste of space, and in his present role he is perhaps less likely to do much damage as he is largely in a symbolic and ceremonial position, ideally suited to his temperament and enormous ambitions. If he ever gets promoted beyond this, and has a greater responsibility for souls, everyone should be worried.


  3. toadspittle says:

    Rabit flames Moth!


  4. Frere Rabit says:

    ROFL! Hack professional in action. Admire the art!


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