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Cyprus:The Repatriation of Byzantine Icons Stolen after Turkish Invasion

Cyprus_eklisiaThe Turkish invasion in Cyprus happened in 1974 and at some point, six Byzantine icons were stolen. After about 40 years, the repatriation of the stolen items finally takes place. There are elements which demonstrate that these six images had been part of the spoils of a Turkish antiquity collector Aintin Ntikmen, who looted ten churches during the Turkish occupation in Cyprus.

Moreover 173 relics were found in possession of Ntikmen and will be repatriated in Cyprus on October 30 and November 3.
Between the six images which have been transported to Cyprus, the representative of the Church of Cyprus, the European Union and Bishop Porphyrios of Neapolis name them as follows:

1) Agia Fotini of Karpasitidos (40×29 cm ) of 1811 , the work of painter Lawrence , a student of the Cretan painter John of Crete.
2) St. Panteleimon (42×28 cm ) of 1812, the same painter .
3) St. Andrew (41×34 cm ) 18th cent. , The Monastery Tochniou on Pens Famagusta. Work of painter Ioannikios faculty hagiographers of the monastery St. Irakleidios .
4) Mark the Apostle (56×39 cm ) of the 18th century . , Faculty hagiography of the monastery St. Irakleidios .
5) St. Panteleimon (45×39 cm) of 1854, made by student of painter John of Crete.
6) Vaiforos (37×29 cm) of the 18th century. Made by School hagiography of the Monastery St. Herakleidios.

In December 2010,  information was given to the Church of Cyprus, that six of the stolen images had been seen at the gallery selling art held by P. Von Koulmer in Augsburg , Germany. After the images were identified, the Cypriot police  presented the German police authorities with the complaints, followed by appropriate measures taken to seize the icons displayed by Mr. Von Koulmer. Attempts were successful and an amicable settlement was made during the exhortation of the German authorities.

On Wednesday Bishop Porphyrios of Neapolis went to Munich and reclaimed the stolen Byzantine icons from the German police officials.

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