Boy George returns Christ icon to Cyprus church

Boy George (r) with Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis and the Christ icon. Photo by John Kaponi Boy George (r) said the icon had "graced" his home for 26 years

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Musician Boy George has agreed to return to the Church of Cyprus an icon of Christ that came into his possession 11 years after the Turkish invasion.

The former Culture Club singer bought the piece from a London art dealer in 1985 without knowing its origin.

Boy George - real name George O'Dowd - said he was "happy the icon is going back to its original rightful home".

"I have always been a friend of Cyprus and have looked after the icon for 26 years," he added.

"I look forward to seeing the icon on display in Cyprus for the moment and finally to the Church of St Charalambos from where it was illegally stolen."

The goodwill gesture came about after the church in New Chorio-Kythrea village gave evidence proving it was its rightful owner.

Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis expressed "joy and gratitude" as the singer handed over the icon at the St Anagyre church in north London.

The gesture, he said, had "contributed to the efforts of the Church of Cyprus for the repatriation of its stolen spiritual treasures".

Thousands of religious artefacts went missing from northern Cyprus following Turkey's invasion of the island and its subsequent partition.

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