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AC’s Tess Davis Discusses the Return of A Looted Greek Gospel in The New York Times

August 25, 2022

Looted and stolen objects often end up in the hands of collectors who sell these pieces to esteemed art museums. While some museums delay identifying stolen heritage within their walls, others are attempting to regain credibility by returning stolen objects to their rightful homes. 

The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, recently returned a more than one thousand-year-old handwritten gospel to the Greek Orthodox Church after determining that it was looted from a Greek monastery during World War I. This repatriation is part of the museum’s ongoing efforts to investigate the provenance of its entire collection.

Tess Davis, Executive Director of the Antiquities Coalition, detailed the significance of this return in a recent New York Times article:

“I think the Museum of the Bible is a great example of how not to build a collection, but I do wish other American museums would follow its example when dealing with their own existing problematic collections,” said Davis. “In this case, curators saw red flags, they followed where they led, realized the manuscript was stolen, reached out to its rightful owner and voluntarily returned it.” 

The manuscript’s repatriation to the Kosinitza Monastery in northern Greece is scheduled for next month.

Read the full story here.