Stolen icons from Turkish-occupied Cyprus return home
The icons, depicting Jesus and St. John Chrysostomos, have been located in the German city of Dusseldorf.
According to an announcement by the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Union, the icons were located last November in Dusseldorf and h a v e b e e n r e c e i v e d o n W e d n e s d a y , J a n u a r y 1 1 by the Head of the Representation, Bishop Porphyrios of Neapolis, in order to be repatriated.
It is further noted that another two icons were located last April in the same city, depicting St. Paul and Jacob the Apostles and were returned to Cyprus.
The icon of Jesus is dated from the 18th century AD, while the second icon of St. John is believed to belong to the 19th century. Both icons are in good condition, the announcement concludes.
Since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, hundreds of valuable artifacts have been stolen from the northern Turkish occupied areas of the island and found their way into the black market overseas.
More than 500 churches have been pillaged, destroyed or turned into museum, inns or silos. Many archaeological sites and other places belonging to the country’s 9,000 year old cultural heritage have been abandoned to the elements.
The Church of Cyprus has, at different times, managed to secure the return of stolen religious items, illegally stolen and sold on the black market abroad.
In another twist to this story, singer Boy George returns lost icon to Cyprus church. The Singer had no idea the religious artefact hanging above his fireplace was looted from a Cypriot church in 1974.
Boy George has returned a stolen Cypriot artefact that had been missing for almost 40 years. The singer said he was unaware that an icon of Jesus Christ which had hung in his living room for decades was looted from a church in Nicosia. Church officials noticed the portrait during a TV interview with Boy George, where it appeared in the background.
The Culture Club singer bought the artefact "with good faith" from a London art dealer in 1985. "[I] have looked after the icon for 26 years," he told BBC News. "[I'm] happy it is going back to its original rightful home."