The University of Sussex is offering a reward of up to £10,000 in a bid to recover high-value silverware stolen from its Falmer campus near Brighton.
Sussex Police has released a CCTV image of a man they wish to identify after the items were taken on December 7 between 1.50pm and 2.20pm.
Police said the thief entered the sacristy in the two-storey circular Meeting House, adjoining Falmer House, and forced locked doors and containers to steal items with a combined value estimated at around £100,000.
Among missing items are silver chalices, two of which were designed by noted sculptor Hans Coper, and several other religious artefacts.
The thief is believed to have placed the items in a black rucksack before making off on foot towards the university's Pevensey block. It is possible he then boarded a bus or got into another vehicle, police said.
The suspect is described as a man in his 30s, of mixed race, 6ft tall and of medium build, bald and with facial stubble.
He was wearing a blue Puffa-style jacket over a grey hooded top, grey tracksuit bottoms and trainers with white markings on them.
Police have alerted dealers to be aware of the theft and to report any suspicions if they are offered church silverware for sale.
Detective Constable Rowan Carter said: "We would like to hear from anyone who recognises the man in the closed circuit television image.
"This is a high value burglary during which some unique items were stolen. Please get in touch if you have any information."
Anyone able to help is asked to phone 101, quoting serial 806 of 10/12.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.