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Repatriated Church Relics Exhibited at Makarios Foundation
2009-01-12 14:36:15

Nicosia, Jan 12 - Church relics, that have been repatriated after being stolen by Turkish antiquities dealer Aydin Dikmen, are currently at the Makarios Foundation and will be exhibited at an exhibition of Cypriot stolen treasures, to open on January 19th.

Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus Chrysostomos II said on Monday that “the relics are already on display and on January 19th we will have an event at the Makarios Foundation and will hold the opening of this exhibition of our stolen treasures.”

Asked if there were any developments in the issue of the relics in the custody of the German police, the Archbishop said “a proposal has been presented to us and we are discussing it.”

He reminded that the Republic of Cyprus has won the court case, but Mr. Dikmen, in whose possession religious items belonging to the Church of Cyprus has been found, appealed the court decision. These items come from Cyprus's northern Turkish occupied areas.

“I believe it was wrong for the German police not to let us bring back to Cyprus the icons which belong to us. I hope we have a positive development in the whole case,” he added.

Asked if any action is being taken to return the murals of Saint Themomianos church, in occupied Cyprus, currently in the possession of the Menil Foundation, Texas, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said that there has been yet another postponement in their repatriation.

“I have said that I will not tolerate another postponement. I understand that they do not want to give them to us. This is what I believe. I will not allow another postponement and I will prefer to go to court to settle the matter,” he concluded.

Since the 1974 Turkish invasion, illegal art dealers, with the help or tolerance or cover of the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime, have often taken religious and other treasures out of the country to sell them on the black market. The Church of Cyprus and the government of the Republic of Cyprus have made and are making great efforts to locate and repatriate such relics.

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