Thousand-year-old Manuscript Returned to Monastery in Greece

A US museum has returned a Gospel manuscript that had been stolen from a monastery in Greece.

Newsroom (06/10/2022 9:43 PM, Gaudium Press) The Museum of the Bible in Washington, United States, was in possession of one of the oldest historical manuscripts in the world.

Known as “Gospel Manuscript 220,” the document was written in the 11th century and belonged to the Orthodox monastery of Theotokos Eikosiphoinissa, located in northern Greece.

The historic document, which is over a thousand years old, along with 430 other manuscripts and sacred objects, was stolen by Bulgarian looters during the First War more than a century ago, in 1917. Most of the documents and sacred objects have never been returned.

During a ceremony last Thursday, September 29, the document was officially returned by the founder of the Museum of the Bible, Steve Green, to Orthodox Archbishop Elpidophoros who congratulated the American institution for the initiative and said that “a historical injustice has been repaired.”

The story of the thousand-year-old gospel was different from many other manuscripts, as the document was donated to the museum in 2014 after being purchased at auction.

Museum officials found that the manuscript had been stolen from the Greek monastery and contacted Patriarch Bartholomew I to return the historical object. The Orthodox authorities authorized the Museum of the Bible to exhibit the document for a period.

The monastery of Theotokos Eikosiphoinissa was built in the 8th century was burned down by Bulgarian allies of Nazi Germany in 1943. Rebuilt after the war, the building is now a convent. (FM)

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Compiled by Angelica Vecchiato 

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