Western Prelacy Sues Getty for Stolen Illuminated Manuscripts

Western Prelacy Sues Getty for Stolen Illuminated Manuscripts

LOS ANGELES—A lawsuit filed against the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Getty Museum on behalf of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church Tuesday is demanding the return of seven pages of Illuminated Manuscripts created by Toros Roslin in 1256. Attorneys for the Prelacy contend that the seven pages of the “Zeytun Gospel” were “lost or stolen during the Armenian Genocide.”

The suit claims that the seven pages of the “Canon tables” are “wrongfully in the possession, custody and control” of the J. Paul Getty Trust, in the Getty Museum.

The Prelacy says that when the Getty acquired the seven pages it “knew or should have known that the Zeytun Gospel manuscript pages were stolen, and belonged to the Catholicosate” of the Great House of Cilicia.

The Bible was created for Constantine I, nearly two centuries before the fall of Constantinople. The rest of the bible is currently housed at the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Madenataran) in Yerevan, Armenia.

Toros Roslin (ca. 1210-1270) “was the most prominent Armenian manuscript illuminator in the High Middle Ages,” according to the complaint.

Attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan representing the Western Prelacy is also seeking damages of $35 million from the defendants and is demanding the immediate return of the manuscripts to the Catholicosate.


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