THE Dutch government was expected to hand over four icons looted from a monastery in northern Cyprus to the island’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Kyriacos Kouros, in a ceremony on Wednesday night in The Hague.
The 16th-century icons portraying the four apostles, valued at about €150,000, were taken from the medieval Antiphonitis monastery in 1975. Legal efforts by the Church of Cyprus to recover the icons failed in 2002 after a seven-year legal battle but a change in Dutch law in 2007 allowed the government to finally lay claim to the artworks.
“We have heard that the icons will be delivered to Cypriot authorities within 48 hours,” Tasoula Hadjitofi, the founder of Walk of Truth, an organisation that campaigns to preserve cultural heritage told delegates at a September 16 conference in The Hague. “The Netherlands should be congratulated for this.”