Smuggled Relics Will Return To Cyprus

According to the newspaper Liberal, the Munich Court of Appeals has ordered the return to the Church of Cyprus some 173 ecclesiastical relics (icons, mosaics and mural paintings e.t.c.), that a Turkish smuggler of antiquities, Aydin Dikmen, had looted after the Turkish invasion in 1974 from churches and abbeys.

A German professor of Byzantinology, Johannes Dekker, said the artifacts were the works of Cypriot religious painters. Dikmen’s greatest lootings were frescoes from Agios Efthymianos church at Lysi that were later sold to the Menil Foundation in Texas and given back to Cyprus last year, and wall mosaics of Panagia Kanakaria church in Lythrangomi village.

Among the relics that will be returned is the famous mosaic of Apostle Thomas from Kanakaria, religious paintings from Panagia Apsinthiotissa and murals from the church of Panagia Pergamiotissa. According to the decision of the Court of Appeals, Dikmen must also return to the Church of Cyprus about 90,000 that were seized together with the artifacts at his apartment in Munich, by the Bavarian police in 1997.

There were 232 relics recovered but 60 will remain in Germany because of uncertainty over their origin. The decision may be referred to the Supreme Court, but in this case the Turkish art-dealer will have to pay a guarantee of about 7.5 million euros.


Categories: Church & Ministries

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