A priceless 10th century Byzantine manuscript which was stolen from Mount Athos over 50 years ago and was then bought by Duke University, was handed to the Greek Embassy in Washington, USA.
Greek Ambassador to the U.S., Christos Panagopoulos, received the manuscript and expressed the country’s gratitude to Duke University, as well as the American authorities for their cooperation and for their professionalism and undivided support to Greece’s request for the return of the manuscript.
The manuscript consists of more than 500 parchment pages and it is a handwritten compilation of Greek Orthodox saints’ biographies from one specific month, in this case for September. The “menologion” as it is known in Greek, dates back to 1050 and was removed from Dionyssiou monastery on Mount Athos.
The manuscript was bought by Duke University from a renowned antiquarian bookseller. When Greek officials approached Duke officials with evidence that the manuscript had previously been stolen from the Greek monastery in the 1960s it was decided that the manuscript would be returned to its rightful place.
“As a cultural institution, it’s important to make sure that culture and heritage is maintained and preserved. We had no indication when we purchased the manuscript that it had been stolen, and we’re happy to make things right,” said Andy Armacost, curator of collections and head of the collection development department, at the university.