The priceless orthodox icon of archangel Michael stolen from the Kyrenia bishopric following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, returned to the island today. According to an official statement, the icon, which is dated from the 15th century A.D., depicts archangel Michael standing between saints Evdokia and Marina. The art’s monetary value is estimated at 125,000 Cyprus pounds (about 250,000 u.s. dollars). It was originally located in a village in the Pitsillia area on the Troodos mountain range until 1950 when it was transferred to the Kyrenia bishopric where it remained until 1974. It is believed that the icon was stolen from the bishopric soon after the invasion and was taken to Europe. Despite information that the icon was in the Hague since 1989, the name and address of the possessor remained unknown until July of this year.
A Dutch journalist contacted the consul general of Cyprus in the Hague, Tasoula Georgiou-Hadjitofi, and revealed to her the name and address of an individual who had in his possession a painting similar to that of archangel Michael. That individual, after contacted repeatedly by the Cypriot consul general, initially refused, but later agreed to return the icon willingly to the rightful owner church of Cyprus. The church of Cyprus has been waging an international campaign to repatriate these priceless works of art, such as the famed Kanakaria mosaics, sold to a U.S. art collector but returned to Cyprus after a prolonged legal battle in an Indiana court.