A mosaic of St. Mark the Evangelist that dates back to the 6th century has returned to Cyprus over forty years after it was stolen from the island, announced the Cypriot authorities.
“The mosaic of St. Mark has returned to Cyprus from the Netherlands,” announced the Cypriot department of Antiquities soberly in a statement on November 20, 2018.
The mural mosaic, part of a large piece that was stolen and only twelve fragments of which have been found so far – was taken from a church in Panagia Kanakaria, in the northeast of the island, just after the Turkish invasion in 1974
The work is one of the “oldest Christian mosaics of the Byzantine world” still preserved today, explained the Cypriots. Indeed, most of the Byzantine works of art disappeared in the Iconoclast crisis of the 8th and 9th centuries.
The mosaic of St. Mark “belonged to a British family that bought it in good faith over 40 years ago,” assured the Dutch specialist Arthur Brand.
This art expert is famous throughout the world for his investigating skills. His reputation is well-deserved, for it was he who picked up the mosaic’s trail in Monaco, after a two-year-long treasure hunt.