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Wall paintings from the church of Antifonitis (15th century).

 

The district Court of Justice in Munich decided after six years of litigation (March 2004 to September 2010) the repatriation to Cyprus of approximately 300 heirlooms, trapped by the police authorities of Munich since 1997.

The heirlooms (Mosaics, Byzantine wall paintings, Byzantine icons, manuscripts and other prehistoric antiquities) were discovered and seized by Interpol and the Bavarian police authorities from the apartments of the well known Turkish dealer of antiquities A. Dikmen in Munich. They come from at least fifty monuments in the semi – occupied by the Turkish army, part of the Republic of Cyprus. Between those who were discovered in Dikmens possession, they are also pieces of Mosaics from Panagia Kanakaria (6th century), extract of wall painting with the head of Saint Ignatio from the church of Panagia Apsinthiotissa in Synxari (14th century), extracts of wall paintings from the church of Saint Solomonis (9th century), from the church of Panagia Pergamiotissa in Acanthu (12th century) and extracts of wall paintings from the church of Antifonitis (15th century).

Most of them belong to the Church of Cyprus while others to the department of antiquities, the Maronite Church and the Armenian Church of Cyprus.

The court’s decision of the 23 of September 2010 will be send to both sides in 3-12 weeks. After the receipt the convict (A. Dikmen) has the privilege in one month to exercise an appeal with a cost estimated to Euro 125.000. The Turkish dealer of antiquities is also adjudged with the Court charges estimated to Euro 40.000, 00. He must also pay two judicial fines of Euro 33.000 to the Republic of Cyprus. From its side the Republic of Cyprus assert through the Court of Justice Euro 189.000 for trial expenses. The time of the repatriation of the stolen heirlooms will be assigned in accuracy after the delivery of the written decision of the 23 September by the German Court of Justice and the effluxion of time of a month as time frame for an appeal. In case of an appeal, Euro 10 millions must be deposit as a guarantee for the immediate permission of their repatriation.

The case is handled by Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, Director of the Office of the Church of Cyprus to the Europeans Institutions and Mr. Giannakis Lazarou from the General District attorney of Cyprus.

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