Platform for Cultural Heritage Diplomacy

Restitution of an icon to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus (2022)

Restitution of an icon to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus (2022)

On February 23, 2022 , the Art-Law Center facilitated the restitution of an icon of St. John the Forerunner to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, which was officially handed over to a representative of the Archbishop Chrysostom II.

The icon was illegally exported from Cyprus by a Royal Air Force officer, who was serving on the island in the 1974 during the Turkish invasion. To rectify his late father’s act, a British gentleman, who chose to remain anonymous, decided to return the icon to its place of origin and lawful owner, namely the Orthodox Church of Cyprus.

For the Icon’s restitution, he turned to the Art-Law Centre of the University of Geneva, headed by Professor Marc-André Renold. In turn, the latter contacted the art historian, Ms Maria Paphiti, known for her involvement in several cases of repatriation of looted art from Cyprus, including the 6th century mosaic of St. Andrew from the Church of Panagia Kanakaria. Paphiti informed the Archbishop and coordinated the procedure for the icon’s return to Cyprus.

Further information is available here:

Photos of the restitution