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Byzantine manuscript returned to Greece

The Byzantine manuscript that was returned to Greece recently, through actions of the general directorate of antiquities and cultural heritage, is actually from the library of the Dionysiou Monastery of Mount Athos.

The manuscript was stolen in 1960 and in 1983 was bought from a private collector by the J. P. Getty Museum in Malibu.

The document on parchment is a codex of the four gospels (Tetraevangelion), created in the 12th century in a Constantinople workshop and was first listed by Spyridon Lambrou in his opus “Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts on Mount Athos.”

The manuscript creator was one Theoktistos who decorated the manuscript with excellent illuminations. The 12th century is characterized by the production of ornate codices that were usually destined for members of the ruling Komnenos dynasty, of the period, or for the grand monasteries of Constantinople.

Applying the collaboration framework signed in 2011 between the J. P. Getty Museum with the Greek ministry of culture, the museum agreed to return the manuscript to the Greek state.

The manuscript will be on display at the Byzantine Museum in Athens from the 15th of September to the 30th of October, along with a page depicting the 12 Apostles that was bought separately and was on exhibit at the Kanellopoulos museum in Athens. After their exhibition both items will be returned to Dionysiou monastery on Mt Athos.