Countless incidents of thefts in churches and monasteries are being reported near the Albanian border. Meanwhile, the police stand by unable to protect the cultural and religious heritage of our country. The perpetrators are most likely Albanians, who feel it’s necessary to loot the sacred places of worship as they cross back and forth over the border.
Among the stolen relics where Byzantine icons from the Monasteries of Konitsa. Six images from the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, which where noticed by local residents who immediately informed the authorities in Konitsa. Other stolen relics include an image of the Virgin from 1783, and more recently 2 additional icons, a gospel, and 2 chalices from the Byzantine Church of Annunciation in Lower Merope Pogoniou.
During the period between 2004 and 2009, looters had removed a number of valuable icons from Monasteries in Zagoria, some of which were found to be sold to galleries overseas.