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Medieval manuscript back in hands of the Church

A 1,000-year-old Byzantine Gospel manuscript will return to Greece in the next few years after a century’s absence. It was returned to the Greek Orthodox Church in the US two days ago by the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, The New York Times reported.

The manuscript had been originally kept in the Monastery of Panagia Eikosifoinissa in northern Greece, and was used for centuries for devotional purposes. The monastery was sacked by the Bulgarian Army twice, during the Balkan Wars and in WWII, with many of its relics looted.

Located on Mount Paggaio, the monastery was founded in the 6th century and had a continuous spiritual influence in post-Byzantine times and was associated with ecumenical patriarchs. By the 18th century it had amassed a remarkable collection of 1,300 codices, which included 430 valuable manuscripts.

The Museum of the Bible acquired the manuscript at a Christie’s auction in 2011.