Monday, January 28, 2008

Visiting bishop's sacred items stolen from car in Arlington

Visting clergyman says thief also took Bible from car in Arlington

12:00 AM CST on Sunday, January 27, 2008

By STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News

To one Arlington car burglar, it seems nothing is sacred.

He or she, or maybe they, stole a Greek Orthodox bishop's jeweled crown woven of gold and silver Friday evening. His New Testament Bible was also taken.

"We parked in a brightly lit place, and with all the lights there, we thought we were fine," said Metropolitan Isaiah, a bishop who ministers to many states, including Texas.

Visiting from Denver to meet with area parishes, the bishop was dining with others at the Piccolo Mondo restaurant in Arlington when the burglar struck.

"We came out at 10 o'clock, and the window was smashed," the bishop said. From the back seat, someone had grabbed his symbolic crown, his Bible, his veil and his cellphone.

A black fabric bag that is dear to the bishop – who also is an ex-Marine – was also stolen. The bag was a gift given many years ago by the widow of another Marine.

"It has my name on it, embroidered Metropolitan Isaiah, so who can use it?" he said Saturday evening after attending a vespers service where he was the only priest with no head-covering.

He is to lead worship services this morning at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Worth.

"It'll be the first time in my years as a bishop that I will serve the Divine Liturgy without the crown," he said.

Nor did it appear he would have his Bible to refer to this morning.

"I've had that for 30 years, and I know exactly where to go to when I want to find something," he said.

The crown, a gift to him 22 years ago, would cost $6,000 to $10,000 to replace, the bishop guessed.

"So I'm willing to give a monetary gift in the four figures if I receive it the way I last saw it," he said.

Anyone with information can call St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church at 817-626-5578.

"I just hope and pray that those who took it will have a change of heart," said the bishop, who has spent the past 45 years as a clergyman trying to teach people to treat one another properly – "not to take advantage of people and not to take things that don't belong to us."

Staff photographer Evans Caglage contributed to this report.


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