Düsseldorf: Antiquarians Selling Stolen Relics from Greek Monasteries

iconsThe stolen images from Greek monasteries and churches of Epirus were identified recently in a gallery in Düsseldorf that had them for sale.

The prefect of Epirus was informed of this illicit trade in Greek antiquities from the published photos of the relics at the gallery’s official website.

It is noticeable that some relics were purchased allegedly by a Russian, who donated them to the church of his homeland. This fact comes after tracking stolen pictures in galleries in Amsterdam and London.

Moreover, the prefect of Epirus, Alexandros Kachrimanis talks about 600 relics taken by looters. This barrage, especially in the villages of Zagoria, was happening from 2006 to 2010.

The suspension of images and relics on the website of the Region is effective. Mr. Kachrimani declared “since we posted the stolen photos on the internet, we received miscellaneous information. In 2010, we found a picture that was stolen from the church in Koukouli. Then, in 2011, we were informed that galleries in London were selling many religious icons. Specifically, the owner of the gallery in London had 50 to 60 images. The Ministry of Culture, the Greek Embassy in London in collaboration with Scotland Yard did a great job and 18 icons returned to Greece. Then, two more pictures were spotted in galleries in Amsterdam, Holland. There, they sold a total of 19 pictures stolen from the church of Theotokou in Koukouli.”

The prefect of Epirus believes that there is a criminal group which is responsible for abduction, transfer and promotion of relics abroad. The voluminous file, formed after years of research by the authorities, on the pillage of monasteries and temples of Epirus, is in the hands of the trial judge.