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Religious artifact’s long and winding road home By CM Guest Columnist September 5, 2021

The doors of an iconostasis in an occupied Church were reported as having returned home last week.

They were the first looted item to be returned to the island from Asia.

Kyriaki Christodoulou details their journey

It took more than 20 years and the involvement of private detectives for a stolen religious artifact to return to the island, with the royal iconostasis doors of Agios Anastasios from Turkish occupied Peristeronopigi village travelling here from Japan, making them the first looted item to have been secured from an Asian country.

The repatriation was announced last week and follows efforts that intensified in the last two years.

The story behind their journey home dates back to the 1990s when they were first spotted at a gallery in the Netherlands by Tasoula Hadjitofi, then Honorary Consul of Cyprus, and well known internationally for her work on repatriating stolen artifacts.

Often called the Icon Hunter, Hadjitofi is best known for orchestrating the Munich Case, one of the largest art trafficking operations in Europe which led to the arrest of the Turkish art smuggler Aydin Dikmen and the confiscation of over $60 million worth of looted artifacts from Cyprus and around the world.

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