Worshippers at the small chapel at the University of King's College in Halifax will have a key piece of their history back for services this Sunday.
The altar cross, missing for weeks, was returned Tuesday morning. The school feared the cross had been destroyed, but it was returned undamaged.
Chaplin Father Gary Thorne says he got a phone call Tuesday morning and didn't know what to make of it.
"The voice on the other end said 'I have your cross'. He said it in a way that if someone was pulling a prank, they would have said it in just that way," he said. "I didn't know if it was real or not."
Father Thorne says the caller wasn't the person who took the cross and made arrangements to meet him later Tuesday morning in the chapel.
He says a young man about 19 years old arrived at the chapel with a tote bag full of laundry and the cross. He also accepted the $200 cash reward that had been offered.
Father Thorne says he's relieved to have the cross home.
"I did not expect ever to have the cross back, so today is a special day indeed," he said.
When the University of King's College relocated from Windsor to Halifax nearly 100 years ago, it moved two pieces of the old chapel: the altar and the cross.
Father Thorne estimated the cross went missing sometime around Aug. 3, but he couldn’t pinpoint the exact date. The small chapel is usually left unlocked for the community to use.
A group of students put up signs around the university and called pawn shops as far away as Quebec trying to find the stolen cross.
Halifax Regional Police investigated, but Thorne said if the cross was returned to the chapel he wouldn’t press charges.
True to his word, he did not press the young man for details.
"To my mind it was a desperate young person, I assume stole the cross," he said. "And couldn't figure out or find a way to sell it to anyone. Clearly pawn shops and antique stores would not buy it."