LOS ANGELES (AP) — The J. Paul Getty Museum will return a 12th century New Testament manuscript to a monastery in Greece after museum officials said they only recently learned it was stolen decades before the museum acquired it in 1983.
Getty officials said Monday that although the Byzantine illuminated New Testament was acquired as part of a larger, well documented collection, recently uncovered records from 1960 indicate it was removed from the monastery illegally.
It will remain at the Getty Center until June 22 as part of an exhibition called "Heaven and Earth: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads" before returning to Greece, along with numerous other objects on loan for the show.
The announcement of its return was made a day ahead of Tuesday's scheduled press preview of the exhibition that is to be attended by Greek Minister of Culture Panos Panagiotopoulos.
"We applaud the Getty for their responsiveness to this matter," Panagiotopoulos said in a statement. "Their decision to return this precious Byzantine manuscript honors the spirit of our 2011 Framework for Cultural Cooperation."
In recent years, the museum has returned several artifacts to Greece, Turkey and Italy that the nations complained were taken from their countries illegally.
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