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U.S. Customs Officials: Stolen 14th Century Image of Saint Returned to Italy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A page from a 14th century manuscript repatriated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) repatriated to the government of Italy at a ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Washington,D.C., is shown December 9, 2016. Courtesy Josh Denmark/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Handout via REUTERS

A stolen 14th century illustration of a Roman Catholic saint was returned on Friday to Italy, where it will be put in a museum, U.S. Customs officials said. The artifact was turned over in a ceremony at the Italian Embassy.

The image of haloed Saint Lucy, had spent decades at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which bought it in good faith in 1952, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement.

After two-year investigation it was determined that the item, a leaf of the book, had been stolen and the museum turned it over to U.S. officials last month after another stolen leaf from the same book turned up in the Swiss market, which has also been returned to Italy.

The Cleveland leaf, which measures about 17.4 inches (44.3 cm) by 13.9 inches (35.2 cm), was taken from a page in an illuminated parchment antiphonary, a type of hymnal, created around 1340. Known as Codex D, the manuscript is in a museum in Castelfiorentino, near Florence.

No information was added on how or when the leaf had been stolen.