Saturday, June 5, 2010

Organizers of Cypriot Icon Auction Donate Cypriot Icon to Orthodox Church

The organizers of the first-ever auction in Cyprus of icons have donated the sole Cypriot icon in the auction to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. See

The icon in question depicted Saint Mamas. Saint Mamas is the patron saint of Turkish-occupied Morphou. I assume that at least suggests the possibility that the icon originated from this town. The article does not state whether there is any suspicion it may have been looted when Turkish troops invaded the Island, but one wonders whether that possibility factored into the auction house's decision to donate the icon to the Orthodox Church.

As I indicated in my original blog post about this auction, I am happy Cyprus is allowing sales of antique icons on the Island, but I do question whether the auction organizers were afforded some special treatment.

For another Cyprus Mail article on the auction and some of the controversy surrounding it, see

Oddly, the usual Internet critics of the trade in cultural property have stayed strangely quiet, and, indeed, one of the harshest wrote an as usual off-point critique of my original post rather than a critique of the auction itself. See

One wonders if this may have to do with the fact that the auction's organizer seems to have good relations with Saving Antiquities for Everyone.
See (post attributed to auction organizer who was instrumental in the return of other icons associated with Morphou to the Orthodox Church).

1 comment:

Wayne G. Sayles said...


In view of all that has been argued for retention at local museums, it really does seem that the Icon should have gone back to a museum at Morphou instead of to the Orthodox Church in the Republic of Cyprus - since it did not, that would seem to set a precedence counter to UNESCO 1970 and shed considerable doubt on the sincerity of Cypriot CPIA requests.