VATICAN CITY, March 9 (UPI) -- The Vatican confirmed it received a $108,000 ransom note for a stolen letter written by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
The letter was allegedly stolen by a former Vatican archives employee in 1997, though the church only released news of the theft this week.
It's one of the rare instances in which painter, sculptor and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti wrote a letter in his own hand. He usually dictated letters that were then written by assistants.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed the church received the ransom note but denied the request for money.
The Michelangelo letter was one of several that went missing from the Vatican archives in 1997.
Michelangelo lived from 1475 to 1564 and was responsible for painting the ceiling and wall behind the altar at the Sistine Chapel. He also created several statues, including a larger-than-life marble of David, and designed St. Peter's Basilica for the Vatican.