The Orthodox Church of Cyprus is shouting “By George!” after the Culture Club frontman returned a 300-year old relic that’s been missing since 1974.
According to the church’s web site, looters stole the 18th century icon of Christ during the Turkish invasion of 1974. It somehow made its way to London where, in 1985, the Karma Chameleon singer purchased it from an art dealer for “several thousand pounds.” Miraculously, officials at the church spotted it on Boy George’s wall while watching an interview filmed in his home for Dutch TV. They then contacted the androgynous singer-songwriter through his longtime musical collaborator John Themis, who is Cypriot.
(More on TIME.com: See Boy George in TIME’s list of the Top 10 Badly Behaved Celebrities.)
“I have always been a friend of Cyprus and have looked after the icon for 26 years,” Boy George, real name George O’Dowd, told the BBC. “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.”
Bishop Porfyrios, who led efforts to recover the icon, heaped praise on the singer, whose singles include Electro Hetero and Swallow Me. “Before this, I had no idea who Boy George was,” he told the Associated Press. “He was positive about returning the icon.”
(More on TIME.com: See TIME’s list of the Top 10 Vatican Pop-Culture Moments.)
The returned work has an estimated value of $100,000. (via the Guardian)