Cyprus returned a mosaic depicting the apostle Andrew, who was abducted by Turkish merchant antiquities Aydin Dikmenom from the church of Panay Kanakaria after the Turkish invasion of 1974 year. The official ceremony of handing the mosaic took place on Monday, 23 April, in the palace of the archbishop of the Cypriot Orthodox Church.
The mosaic of the Apostle Andrew was created in 523-530 years, when the island was part of the Byzantine Empire. It was located on the apse in the altar part of the Church of the Virgin of Canakaria in the village of Littangomi. After the seizure of the northern part of the island by the Turkish army in 1974, the mosaic was stolen by the merchant of values Aydin Dikmen, as well as many other unique creations of Cypriot masters. Most of the values were returned to Cyprus from 1983 to 2015 years.
The exception was two mosaics. One of them is the apostle Andrew. In 2010, it was sold as part of a large collection of works of art to an individual. Her owner asked an expert from the auction house Christie's - art historian Maria Pafiti - to prepare the collection for the exhibition. Maria talked about the origin of the mosaic and that she was abducted from the Cypriot church. After long negotiations, a decision was made to return her to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus for a nominal fee.
207 icons, mosaics, frescoes, church utensils and the Gospel of the XVIII century were returned to Cyprus after the arrest of Aydin Dikmen in Munich. The German court decided to return the Turkish art dealer 49 items (mostly Russian icons and antiquities), as Cyprus could not document their rights to their possession. However, the Republic of Cyprus stated that it expose these works of art for auction, since Aydin Dikmen owes it more than half a million euros in court costs.