NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cyprus’ Orthodox Christian Church on Thursday thanked former Culture Club singer Boy George for returning an icon of Christ that it says was stolen from a church in the breakaway north of the divided island.
Boy George agreed to return the 18th century icon he bought from a London art dealer in 1985 after being presented with proof of its true origin, the church said in a statement posted on its Web site.
“Before this, I had no idea who Boy George was,” Brussels-based Bishop Porfyrios who led efforts for the icon’s recovery told The Associated Press. “He was positive about returning the icon.”
The church said it was alerted about the icon’s whereabouts by an informer who saw the singer with it on a Dutch TV show last November.
Boy George, who said he was unaware of the icon’s history when he bought it, personally handed the icon over to Bishop Porfyrios in London on Tuesday. In return, the bishop gave him a modern icon of Christ as a token of gratitude and “with the wish that others soon follow his example.”
The leader of the Cyprus church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, lauded the singer for doing the right thing.
“The moment he heard that the icon was stolen, I think that he did right to return it to the Church of Cyprus to which it belongs,” the archbishop said. “We thank him and if he ever comes to Cyprus, we will certainly welcome him.”
The church statement said Boy George …
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