x

Society

Cyprus Recovers Looted 18th Century Church Doors from Japan

September 16, 2021

NICOSIA — Cyprus' Orthodox Church formally took charge Thursday of two ornately decorated 18th century doors stolen from a church in the ethnically divided island's breakaway north and reclaimed from a Japanese art college after a long legal battle.

Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos said the wooden doors — painted with religious scenes, carved and gilded — were discovered at the Kanazawa Art College more than 20 years ago and their return followed "long and intensive efforts."

No information was provided on how the college acquired them.

The artifacts originally stood in the central gateway of the iconostasis — the ornately decorated screen that separates the sanctuary from the rest of an Orthodox church — of Saint Anastasios in Peristeronopigi village.

Built in 1775, the church sits atop a cave where the saint's grave is preserved.

The doors were stolen after the island's ethnic split in 1974, when Turkey invaded in response to a coup aimed at union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared independence in the north, that's recognized only by Turkey. 

In what Karousos called "cultural genocide," hundreds of frescoes, mosaics and other religious works of art were looted from churches in the north after the invasion.

Since 1974, Cypriot government and church authorities have fought long legal battles in the United States, Europe and elsewhere to reclaim them.

Karousos said the doors' repatriation sends the message to antiquities smugglers and "the international ring of crooks that however many years go by, (Cyprus) will hunt them down, because cultural genocide cannot be tolerated anywhere in the world."

RELATED

NICOSIA - The early chill is settling over northern Europe and Scandinavia, Americans have turned to watching leaves turn colors and readying for apple picking in autumn, but it's still summer on Cyprus and the tourists love it.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Two Boats Carrying Refugees Sink Off Greek Islands, 17 Dead

MYTILENE - Villagers on the Greek island of Kythira rushed to help pull refugees and migrants to safety after a sailboat struck rocks and sank, saving 80 but at least 15 are missing.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.