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Museum of the Bible Leaders Head to Greece to Return Handwritten 10th Century Gospel Manuscript

Museum of the Bible leaders from Washington, D.C., are heading to Greece to formally return a 10th-century handwritten Gospel manuscript.

The manuscript, known as “Evangelistary Manuscript 220,” was one of many artifacts and priceless pieces stolen from the Theotokos Eikosiphoinissa Monastery in Greece during World War I. Bulgarian troops allegedly took the manuscript in 1917.

According to The Christian Post, in 2011, the Museum of the Bible bought the manuscript at a Christie’s auction. In 2020, the museum said they would return the manuscript, but Greece said the museum could display it until October 2021.

This week, Museum of the Bible Founder Steve Green formally returned the piece.

The ceremony was officiated by archbishop Elpidophoros of America and attended by Agathangelos Siskos, archivist of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Green was awarded the highest honor of Metropolis of Drama, the “Grand Cross,” by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Xanthi.

“We are honored to partner with the Ecumenical Patriarch on a permanent exhibition of biblical manuscripts and religious objects connected to the Bible,” Green said in a statement sent to The Christian Post.

In a released statement, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the world leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, said he was thankful to the Museum of the Bible.

“It is a true blessing for the monastic sisterhood and the Christian world to see the religious artifacts that were removed from the Monastery officially return to their natural home and used hereafter for the spiritual edification of the faithful, and by art and history scholars,” the patriarch said in a statement.

The museum’s Chief Curatorial Officer Jeffrey Kloha said the manuscript “tells of at least two communities that used it for prayer and devotion century after century and of the day of violence and sacrilege over a century ago.”

“Now, this manuscript can tell a new story,” the curator added, “a story of reunion and hope that the pages of this manuscript will continue to give light, even though many have tried to extinguish that light.”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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