Asking on behalf of a friend: is this considered stealing?



So a friend of mine recently found a chotki (Eastern Christian prayer rope similar to the rosary) placed at the feet of a statue of Mary outside of his church. Being that he never had a chotki before, he took it.

He asked if it was considered stealing. Me being ignorant, I did not know how to answer him considering that we don’t know if it was simply left there for devotional purposes, whom it belonged to, what the intention was for leaving it at the feet of the Theotokos statue etc. I know that sometimes churches leave rosaries around for people to take, and I wasn’t sure if this was the case in this regard or not.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you.


My thought is that it wasn’t his to take. Doesn’t matter why it was left there, especially since neither of you know whether it was okay for him to take it.


Well, stealing would be taking something that you know isn’t yours.


I had a feeling that it was stealing also, but just wanted to recheck to make sure that I’m not the only one that arrived at this conclusion. I’m not always correct in my answers, so I appreciate everyone’s responses.


If this were the case, wouldn’t you expect to see a sign saying “Take one” or something similar?


It seems your friend had second thoughts after taking it, that is a good thing! Telling you about it was also good. I encourage you to be gentle with your friend, simply remind them to bring the item back. God bless you, clearly you are a good friend to care so much and take the time to come here.


No, because many parishes that I have encountered simply leave them around for people to take in general. Sometimes they are left around the section of the church that gives away church booklets etc. I’m not aware of the custom of his church being that I never attended it since we are in two different states. I know that some devotees do leave rosaries next to statues as a “offering” to whomever the saint is, and they are left there until either somebody takes them or they are disposed of by burial from the parish priest. Therefore, my question if it’s considered stealing or not. Hope that makes sense.


Thank you. I did not want to condemn him nor condone his actions being that I wasn’t sure if I was in the wrong or not. After seeing your responses, I just told him to speak with the priest of the parish. That’s probably the best solution.


Yes. I think it’s stealing.


Yes. I think it’s a form of stealing.

Unless he’s homeless…and then I suppose, yes…you let him take it.


I second this clearly stated opinion.


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