Designer: Yiota Tsiaklidou
This year’s series, devoted to Christmas, features three icons that were repatriated in November 2013 from Munich in Germany, after lengthy legal battles. Another 169 ecclesiastical treasures were also returned. All these relics are on exhibition at present at the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation.
The €0,41 stamp depicts the Birth of Christ. The artist placed great importance on the details of the setting, high on a rocky hillside. Within the cave, the kneeling Virgin Mary and Joseph, with their hands clasped, are worshipping the Divine Infant placed between them. At the entrance of the cave, at the first level, the shepherds are arriving with their sheep. The icon is in the post-Byzantine style of the late 17th century.
The €0,64 stamp depicts the Virgin Mary in the form of the Glykofilousa (Madonna of the Tender Kiss) (16th century), originating from the church of Ayia Zoni in Varosha (Famagusta). It is an icon of exceptional artistry and is in the style of the Cyprus Renaissance. The icon is cracked and the paint surface is missing in various places. This damage was either caused during looting and its illegal export or due to inappropriate storage conditions.
The third stamp, valued at €0,75 also depicts the Birth of Christ (17th century).The iconographic Byzantine style of the Birth is followed, as practised in the 15th century, in the formation of the cave but with a hardness in the folds of the clothing. In the composition, the Virgin Mary is depicted reclining diagonally, next to the Baby Jesus, as three scenes unfold around her: The Temptation of Joseph, the Bathing of the Infant and the Annunciation to the Shepherds by the Angel.