NEWS

Festivities called off after icon theft

A large police operation launched to find a 700-year-old icon that was stolen on Friday from a monastery in Leonidio, in the eastern Peloponnese, failed to come up with any results yesterday as scheduled annual festivities in the area were canceled due to the theft of the painting. The priceless icon of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus was stolen from the cliff-side Elona Monastery in what police believe was a well-organized operation. The thieves are said to have entered the area by using climbing equipment and then smashing a small window. Sources said that all the evidence so far collected from inside the church has been sent to police labs, including footprints on the broken glass. Over the weekend, police had set up road blocks in the area and inspected all passing cars while a helicopter conducted a search from above.