A wooden cross recovered from the ruins of Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki in the aftermath of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing was returned to the Catholic cathedral from the United States on Wednesday.

The cross was handed over to Mitsuaki Takami, the archbishop of Nagasaki, by Tanya Maus, director of the Wilmington College Peace Resource Center in Ohio, at a ceremony.

The artifact is about a meter tall and roughly 30 centimeters wide, and has a gold-painted trim. Some of the paint has peeled off, and there are visible scratches.

The cross was found by U.S. Marine Walter Hooke from the rubble of the cathedral in autumn 1945. It was given to Hooke by the bishop of Nagasaki, with whom he had a close relationship.

In 1982, Hooke donated the cross to the Peace Resource Center, where it was displayed alongside other items related to the U.S. atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

“This cross embodies the cruelty of war and the hardships it brings,” Maus said.

“I feel it is clearly showing us the brutality and foolishness of war,” Takami said upon receiving the cross. “It is an unwavering witness of the atomic bombing.”

The cross will be put on display for churchgoers at a mass to pray for peace, to be held in the cathedral on Friday evening on the 74th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing.

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