Greek monastery manuscripts looted in WWI rediscovered in US office renovation

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Three Greek-language manuscripts, believed to have been stolen from the Theotokos Eikosiphoinissa Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery (also known as Kosinitza) during World War I, were recently rediscovered in Manhattan, New York Times (NYT) has reported.

The three Greek-language manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries were sold in 2008 by Manhattan’s Swann Auction Galleries to an antiquities dealer.

After concluding the manuscripts might have been looted, the dealer returned them two years later and was reimbursed.

According to the NYT, the auction house was unable to reach the person who had consigned the items. So they sat on a shelf for more than a decade.

Monastery of Panagia Eikosifinissa. Photo by Nikolaos Karampetakis via Wikimedia Commons.

The manuscripts resurfaced three months ago when Swann’s chief financial officer went through his office prior to a renovation.

The looted manuscripts will be sent back to the monastery, and their return was commemorated on Friday in a repatriation ceremony in Lower Manhattan.

After the ceremony, arranged by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is planning to travel to Constantinople to deliver the manuscripts to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. From there, the items will go back to Kosinitza.

Source: New York Times

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