➤ George makes saintly gesture over stolen icon

Boy George, John Themis, Bishop Porfyrios , icon,

Two-way exchange: Bishop Porfyrios reclaims his church’s 300-year-old icon of Christ in London yesterday, while as a thankyou, Boy George receives a modern version of Christ Pantokrator (right) from composer John Themis. Photo © AP

❚ BOY GEORGE HAS RETURNED to the Church of Cyprus a gilded icon of Christ that had been looted during the 1974 Turkish invasion. The wooden panel was painted in the traditional Byzantine technique 300 years ago in Cyprus. The former Culture Club singer bought it in London at the height of his fame in 1985 — without knowing its origin. The goodwill gesture came about after the icon was recognised by Bishop Porfyrios, the Cyprus Orthodox Church’s representative in Brussels, while watching a Dutch television interview filmed at George’s home.

George told the BBC: “I am quite sad to see it go, but I am glad it has gone back to its rightful place. I have always been a friend of Cyprus and have looked after the icon for 26 years.”

Yesterday the 49-year-old singer handed the panel over at St Anagyre church in London. Bishop Porfyrios said the icon will be returned to the church of St Charalambous in Neo Chorio, near Kithrea, from where it was illegally exported.

➢ Read and hear more about George’s gesture at BBC News

Boy George, icon,

Frame from the 2008 Dutch TV interview: The Icon of Christ can be seen beside the mirror (at right) in the dressing room at George’s home. © Living TV

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