Boy George Returns Sacred Artifact to Cyprus Church

From left, an unnamed official with the Cyprus church representation to the European Union holding the returned icon of Christ, Bishop Porfyrios, second left, Boy George, second right, and composer John Themis, right, holding the smaller icon the church gave to the former Culture Club singer as a token of gratitude, during the handing over ceremony. AP Photo/Church of Cyprus

From left, an unnamed official with the Cyprus church representation to the European Union holding the returned icon of Christ, Bishop Porfyrios, second left, Boy George, second right, and composer John Themis, right, holding the smaller icon the church gave to the former Culture Club singer as a token of gratitude, during the handing over ceremony.
AP Photo/Church of Cyprus

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Singer Boy George is in store for some good karma.

The former Culture Club singer just added a whole new meaning to his hit song, "Karma Chameleon," by returning a sacred artifact to Cyprus' Orthodox Christian Church that was unlawfully sold to him back in the '80s.

Cyprus' Orthodox Christian Church on Thursday thanked Boy George for returning an icon of Christ that it says was stolen from a church in the breakaway north of the divided island.

So how did this piece of history get in the hands of the colorful singer?

Boy George bought the 18th century icon from a London art dealer in 1985 after being presented with proof of its true origin, the church said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Now, anytime that the singer visits the island, he will be hailed a local hero - and maybe those who aren't familiar with the singer or his music will decide to tune in.

"Before this, I had no idea who Boy George was," Brussels-based Bishop Porfyrios, who led efforts for the icon's recovery, told The Associated Press. "He was positive about returning the icon."

The church said it was alerted about the icon's whereabouts by an informer who saw the singer with it on a Dutch TV show last November.

Boy George, who said he was unaware of the icon's history when he bought it, personally handed the icon over to Bishop Porfyrios in London on Tuesday. In return, the bishop gave him a modern icon of Christ as a token of gratitude and "with the wish that others soon follow his example."

The leader of the Cyprus church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, lauded the singer for doing the right thing.

"The moment he heard that the icon was stolen, I think that he did right to return it to the Church of Cyprus to which it belongs," the archbishop said. "We thank him and if he ever comes to Cyprus, we will certainly welcome him."

From one "icon" to another, some peace was made.

  • Melissa Castellanos

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