Published May 17, 2016
A painting that was snatched from a Manhattan church by an old man with a cane is a much-loved gold-leafed portrait of a Mediterranean saint — and church leaders want it back, they said Monday.
A greedy man hobbled away with the $5,000 painting of Saint Spyridon of Cyprus at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Washington Heights on Sunday, according to religious leaders and surveillance-camera footage.
The 50-year-old artwork by Constantine Youssis depicts a detailed image of the wonderworking saint who, legend has it, healed the sick and summoned rain during a drought.
The church is now on a mission to track down the thief who stole their precious icon, according to Father Evagoras Constantinides.
“We are focused and prayerful and intent on doing whatever we can to recover the icon of our patron saint. It belongs in our house of worship. It belongs with our people,” Constantinides said.
“It’s really a shame,” he added. “This is definitely something that is missing from the life of our parish.”
Saint Spyridon was a fourth-century shepherd who converted pagans and is said to have once made a brick burst into flames. The missing painting depicts the famous do-gooder with solemn brown eyes, wavy gray hair and a beard, clutching a holy book.