Source: AUN News
The museum announced that the more than 1,000-year-old object had been formally exchanged in a private ceremony in New York. It intends to participate in a ceremonial return ceremony at the monastery on September 29. The gospel, which will be returned to the Kosinitza Monastery in Northern Greece next month, was purchased by the museum at a Christie’s auction in 2011, a spokesman said.
The Museum of the Bible spokeswoman said, “Following the discovery of its origins, Museum of the Bible informed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the world leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, of its intention to return the book. The Patriarch “also loaned the institution three other manuscripts as a sign of gratitude for the gospel manuscript’s return,” she said. The manuscript, “one of the world’s oldest hand-lettered gospels,” was permitted to be displayed at the museum.
The manuscript, along with an estimated 400 other manuscripts, had been utilized by the monastery for its liturgical ceremonies for hundreds of years when it was taken by Bulgarian forces in 1917, according to the museum.
The statement said, “The Museum of the Bible hopes that other US collections that also own manuscripts from the monastery would voluntarily restore them to their rightful home.”
Looking into the provenance
After it was discovered that early purchases made by the Bible museum’s founders, who also own the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores, contained thousands of artifacts that had been looted from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, the museum launched a thorough investigation into the provenance of its entire collection.
To resolve charges from the US government that it had not done its due diligence before making substantial purchases of antiquities starting in 2009, Hobby Lobby paid $3 million in 2017.
After years of negotiations between organizations like the Department of Homeland Security and the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the museum, for instance, announced in early 2021 that it had returned about 5,000 items to the Egyptian government.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network