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Human remains advertised on the Web were written off from museum

ST. PETERSBURG, February 12 (RIA Novosti) - Human remains advertised for sale on the Internet as sacred relics and confiscated by St. Petersburg police last week were written off from the Anthropology and Ethnography Museum's collection as having no scientific value, a police official said Monday.

On the Web site, a seller calling himself Boris Georgiev from St. Petersburg offered to sell "to connoisseurs of Russian antiquity the remains of an Orthodox saint (a skull in good condition and an upper arm bone) that ended up in private hands from the Kazan Cathedral of St. Petersburg in the 1920s." The Web posting included an e-mail address, a telephone number and a photo of the items.

Vladislav Kirillov, head of the antiques department in the St. Petersburg police, said the skull, which has St. Philipp's name inscribed on it, was a part of collection that belonged to archeologist Vasily Peredolsky and was given to the Anthropology and Ethnography Museum in 1931.

"It was decided in 1940 to write off this part of the collection as it did not represent any scientific value," Kirillov said, adding that the human remains were not stolen.

Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church condemned the attempted sale as "blasphemous" and "immoral."

"It is an immoral act in any event. And if these are indeed holy relics, it is an outrageous blasphemy," said Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchy's department for external relations.

Kirillov said earlier that the human remains proved not to be holy relics.

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