Stolen 18th-century Royal Doors repatriated to Cyprus from Japan

Peristeronopigi, Cyprus, August 25, 2021     

One of the most interesting and complex cases of repatriation has come to an end with the return of a set of 18th-century Royal Doors that were looted from a church in Northern Cyprus.

The Doors, complete with icons of the Annunciation, the Three Holy Hierarchs (Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom), and St. Spyridon were stolen from the Church of St. Anastasios in the village of Peristeronopigi by the Turkish occupation army and its collaborators and later sold, reports the Cypriot Department of Antiquities.

The Doors, which date to 1778 according to an inscription on the back, made their way to Japan, where they were found at the Kanazawa College of Art in the 1990s. And finally, after years of effort, which were intensified in the last two years, the Doors have returned, concluding “one of the most complex cases of repatriation.”

Other icons and sacred vessels were also stolen from the church, the fate of which remains unknown.

The Doors returned to Cyprus thanks to the joint efforts of the Department of Antiquities, the Cypriot Embassy in Tokyo, the Church of Cyprus, and the Kanazawa College of Art.

The Antiquities Department expressed its gratitude to the Church of Cyprus and Archbishop Chrysostomos in particular, noting that the Doors will be handed over to the Archbishopric until they can be returned to the Church of St. Anastasios.

More than 60,000 religious items have been stolen from churches throughout Northern Cyprus, Zina Alexandrou, the Mayor of Lefkoniko, said last year.     

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Nelsen Thomas8/26/2021 4:40 pm
Glory be to God! How beautiful.
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