Delegation from the Museum of the Bible received by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – Ecumenical Patriarchate

© Photo credits: N. Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate

Delegation from the Museum of the Bible received by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

PHANAR – After almost a year of preparation, “Kosinitza Manuscript 220” will return to the Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Theotokos Eikosiphoinissa in Drama, Greece. The manuscript, which was most recently purchased from Christie’s in 2011 and entered the collection of the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC in 2014, was among hundreds of priceless items looted from the monastery by Bulgarian troops in 1917. Upon discovery of its origins by curator Brian Hyland, the Museum of the Bible began working with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to repatriate the manuscript to the monastery from which it was stolen.

While final preparations are underway for the official event marking the occasion of the repatriation of the manuscript, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received the official Museum delegation at the Phanar on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. The Founder and President of the Board of Directors represented the Museum. Directors Mr. Steve Green, Chief Curator Dr. Jeffrey Kloha, Dr. Brian Hyland, Assistant Curator of the Museum’s Medieval Manuscripts Collection, and Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, Member of the Museum’s Advisory Board. Also joining the meeting were His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America – who will be the official representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch at the official repatriation event – and the Very Reverend Archimandrite Agathangelos Siskos, Chief Archivist of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Archimandrite Agathangelos and Dr. Prodromou have been appointed by His All Holiness as Patriarchal Liaison Officers to coordinate collaboration between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Museum of the Bible.

During the meeting, His All Holiness thanked the management of the Museum of the Bible for their productive cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, congratulating them, once again, for the return of the manuscript, noting that their act is a worthy example. imitation and contributes to the repatriation of other “orphan” manuscripts and ecclesiastical relics to their “natural mother, that is to say the Monastery”.

The official event marking the occasion of the return of the manuscript to the monastery will take place on Thursday, September 29, 2022 and will be dedicated to the memory of the late Metropolitan Pavlos of Drama.

The history of the repatriation of the manuscript

The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Museum of the Bible signed a cooperation protocol on January 31, 2020, which provides for the creation of a permanent exhibition of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the fourth floor of the Museum. As part of this cooperation, the provenance of “Kosinitza Manuscript 220” was attributed to the looting of the monastery in 1917. After the identification, Dr. Jeffrey Kloha sent a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on June 20, 2020, in which he informed him of the Bible Museum’s decision to return the manuscript to the Monastery.

In response, His All Holiness sent an official Patriarchal letter on August 31, 2020, expressing his thanks for this action, stating that it is an act of restoration of the legal and cultural heritage of the Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Panagia Eikosiphoinissa . Among other things, he pointed out that “it is a real blessing for the monastic fraternity and the Christian world, to see the religious treasures, which have been removed from the monastery, officially return to their natural space and be used for spirituality l edification of the faithful, as well as by scholars of history and art.

Subsequently, on October 16, 2020, the Museum of the Bible officially announced the decision to return the manuscript. Prior to its repatriation, the important manuscript was exhibited as part of a temporary exhibition on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which opened on October 25, 2021.

On May 14, 2022, the Ecumenical Patriarch signed the deed issued by the Museum of the Bible which officially transferred the ownership of the manuscript to the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery, to which it was returned on August 31, 2022 and where it is currently located. . kept.

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