800 year-old Frescoes returned to Cyprus

Fresco of Christ Pantocrator, 13th Century, now back in Cyprus

Fresco of Christ Pantocrator, 13th Century, now back in Cyprus

(from the Cyprus Mail)

Byzantine frescoes, dating back to the 13th Century, which had been stolen from northern Cyprus after the Turkish invasion of 1974, were unveiled this week (Mar 27) at the Archbishop Makarios III museum in Nicosia.

The frescoes, stolen from the church of Saint Euphemianos in Lysi arrived home a fortnight ago. They had initially been cut into 38 pieces by thieves intending to sell them on the black market. They were stolen by Turkish art dealer Aydin Dikmen who shipped them to Germany.

They were acquired by the Texas-based Menil Foundation on behalf of the Church of Cyprus in 1985 and had been on loan under an agreement which ended in February. They were restored there and housed in a small chapel-museum on the Foundation Premises and opened to the public.

Speaking at the news conference yesterday, Archbishop Chrysostomos said the ultimate goal of the Cyprus Church and the Government was for the frescoes to return to their home, the Saint Euphemianos church in Lysi, where they really belong. That is impossible at the moment, as the church is still inside the Turkish-occupied zone of Cyprus.

Slide-show of the Frescoes and their journey from Texas to Cyprus


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