Cyprus' Antiquities Department says a reliquary case containing the partial remains of nine Orthodox Christian saints that was stolen from a church in the ethnically split island's breakaway north has been returned to Church authorities.
The Department said Thursday the book-shaped wooden case had been put up for sale on the website of a Duesseldorf-based auction house. But the auction house's directors bought the case when they realized that it had been illegally exported from Cyprus and handed it to Cypriot officials in the German city.
Covering the saints' remains inside the case was a layer of silver with the year 1835 engraved on it.
Cypriot authorities have been trying to locate and repatriate priceless religious items looted from Orthodox churches in the north and taken abroad.