Priceless icons stolen in Greece discovered in Lebanon; returned to envoy in Beirut
Lebanese authorities on Tuesday returned two stolen 18th-century icons – of Christ the Almighty and the Virgin Mary, as the Panaghia the Hodegetria or Directress – to the Greek ambassador in the country.
The two rare icons were seized prior to going on auction.
The icons were stolen from an exhibition in Athens in 2016, with Greek authorities later issuing an international notice to trace their whereabouts. A culture ministry archaeologist in Athens, in fact, saw the two stolen icons in a catalogue for an auction in Germany.
The icons will be returned to the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity, in the Karditsa prefecture in central Greece.
The icons were presented to Greek ambassador in Beirut Ekaterini Fountoulaki.
Greece has retrieved several other priceless icons in recent years.
In 2011, Greek officials blocked the sale of a dozen religious icons by two art galleries in Britain and the Netherlands, respectively, after proving that the items had been stolen years before from unguarded monasteries and churches in the mountainous Epirus province of northwestern Greece.
READ MORE: Two stolen icons to return to Greece