19sept2014

Fourty years after the illegal export of the icon of Christ the Antifonitis (110x81cm) from the monastery of Christ the Antifonitis in the occupied village of Kalogrea, the icon was located by the Church of Cyprus at an auction house (Schuler Auktionen) in Zurich (Switzerland).Immediately the case file of the icon was prepared, and with the co-operation of the Church of Cyprus, the competent authorities of the Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus Police, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Attorney, Department of Monuments) as well as the Interpol of Switzerland and the Embassy of Switzerland in Cyprus, it was achieved to withdraw the icon from the auction.Now, the General Attorney of the Republic of Cyprus and the Department of Monuments are taking over, in order to persuade the Government of Switzerland and the Swiss Justice to proceed with the confiscation and the repatriation of the icon to its legal owner the Church of Cyprus. A year ago (11/01/2013) the Republic of Cyprus signed with the Swiss Government a Memorandum of Understanding(M.O.U.) concerning the repatriation of cultural artefacts.

In November 1998, the icon of Panagia Vrefokratousa (16th cent.) from the same Monastery and from the same iconostasis was repatriated from Athens. According to information, both icons, ended up in the possession of a greek person who lives in Switzerland.

The Church of Cyprus would like to express its gratitude to all those that contributed to withdraw the icon from the auction items and wishes that it will be repatriated soon to Cyprus.

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