The pastor of a New York state church said he was overjoyed when an anonymous man returned a missing Holy Gospel book to a parishioner.

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The Rev. Volodymyr Zablotskyy of Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Buffalo's Lovejoy neighborhood said the ornate book, containing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was thought to have been taken by copper thieves who took $5,000 to $6,000 worth of metal from the church's roof two days before the book went missing about two weeks ago, The Buffalo News reported Monday.

Parishioner Steven Camp said the book was handed to him by a man who did not give his name and said he needed "to do the right thing."

Zablotskyy said he is not interested in bringing the thief to justice.

"The person who did turn the Gospel in evidently had some change of heart," Zablotskyy said.

"I asked my congregation today to pray for him, because that might be the beginning of work that God needs to do in his heart."