The teary-eyed churchgoers of the Assumption Church in Sopiki at the region Pogoni of Argyrokastro listened to an announcement by the priest Father Efthymios Kalamas stating that on Assumption Day, the icon of Virgin Mary which had been stolen a decade ago was discovered according to information, in London and will soon return to Greece.
“We heard that Greece is very close to getting back the icon which is valuable for us. The churchgoers applauded and cried. They want their Virgin Mary back and their joy for the progress of the proceedures for the return of the icon is indescribable”, “Ethnos” Father Efthymios said to the newspaper . He is priest in 22 parishes in the region Pogoni.
As it seems, the Virgin Mary icon is of great value- according to tradition it is one of the 70 icons made by Epistle Loukas the Evangelist-was discovered in a gallery of London and the procedures for its return have already began, while Greek Americans have volunteered to buy her on behalf of the parish.
Authorities do not exclude the possibility that the icon was stolen by those continuing to break into monasteries and churches in Giannena and Southern Albania. Recently. The church of Agia Paraskevi in Hlomos at the region Pogoni in Argyrokastro was broken in to. 13 large icons were stolen. They also attempted to break into the churches of Agios Nikolaos and Agia Paraskevi in the nearby Seltsi.
In the past, valuable icons have been stolen by the Church of Agioi Pantes in Chimara, Presentation of Virgin Mary in Premeti, Agios Georgios in Georgoutsates (within 10 days 22 icons were stoles), Agios Athanasios in Vouliarates and Agia Anna in Korytsa.
Meanwhile, the procedures regarding the return of 10 other icons which were stolen from Koukouli of Zagori in Giannena and Samarina of Grevena and were spotted in auctions in London and Amsterdam continue with absolute discretion by the Directorate for Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods of the Ministry of Culture, the Greek Police and Interpol.