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6171Revered icon returned to Greek monastery

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Oct 1, 2006

      Revered icon returned to Greek monastery

      October 1, 2006

      ATHENS, Greece --A 700-year-old icon that had been stolen in August was
      returned Sunday to a monastery in southern Greece in a ceremony attended by
      hundreds of worshippers.

      Police last week recovered the revered icon of the Virgin Mary, which has
      been credited with healing powers and miracles and was stolen Aug. 18 from
      the clifftop convent of Elonas, near the town of Leonidio, some 185 miles
      southwest of Athens.

      Police found the icon hidden outside a nearby church and arrested one
      Romanian man after a five-week investigation.

      Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said the icon serves as a "shelter
      and a sanctuary" for the Greek people.

      Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit the icon, which measures 16-by-20

      After it was reported stolen, police launched a massive search for the
      thief, who authorities said entered the convent with a crowd of
      worshippers, hid in the complex and escaped with the icon at night using
      ropes to descend the cliff face. Road blocks were set up across the
      Peloponnese region of southern Greece and helicopters searched remote areas.

      © Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.