Miracle icon returned to Lysi Municipality
Larnaca, Apr 27 (CNA) -- The ancient miracle icon of Panagia Chrysolisiotisa, stolen during the Turkish invasion and occupation of the island’s northern third, was recovered after 31 years and has finally returned to the free areas of the Republic.
“After 31 years of adventure the icon is now in the hands of its owners”, mayor of the Turkish-occupied village of Lysi Andreas Tofias told CNA.
The Lysi Municipality and the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Panagia Lysi church secured the return of the icon after a two-year effort.
The icon as well as a number of priceless artifacts, were plundered from the church during the 1974 Turkish invasion. The specific icon was located in the hands of a Turk who has been trying to sell it to Greek Cypriots since April 2002 with the partial easing of the restrictions in the freedom of movement between the two communities on the island.
The Lysi Municipality was informed on the Turk’s efforts and managed to contact him. He had first asked for 15,000 Cyprus pounds to sell the icon but later went down to 8.000 pounds. (One Cyprus pound equals to around two US dollars).
Tofias said that for Lysi Municipality, the return of the icon is a symbol of hope that soon the day when they will return to their homes will come.
The icon will be presented to pilgrims at the Agios Nicolaos Drosias Church in Larnaca, home for many refugees from Lysi village.
A special ceremony will be held on Saturday, 6 May. Pilgrims and Bishop of Kition Chrysostomos, will greet the icon at 1st April Avenue in Larnaca and with the sounds of the Larnaca Municipality Philarmonic, the icon will be taken to Agios Nicolaos Church for pilgrims to worship.