The Holy Archdiocese of Australia is pleased to inform its faithful that, after concerted efforts in Australia and Greece, one of its most precious relics, the icon of St Andrew the Apostle dating from the 18th century, has been ordered to be returned to its proper owner and location.
In the successful legal claim for the return of the icon to which the Holy Archdiocese of Australia had to resort to legal proceedings following the persistent refusal of Mr Nikolaos Kalliouris (nephew of the late Archbishop Stylianos), who has now been ordered to voluntarily return it to the Consolidated Trust after its illegal removal and misappropriation upon his departure from Australia following the passing of his uncle.
Despite the constant summonses and demands of the Holy Archdiocese and the executors of the will of the late Archbishop to Mr Kalliouris for transparent management, within a context of respect and honour for the institution that the blessed Archbishop of Australia served for many years, but also for the Greek community, Mr Kalliouris refused every attempt at cooperation and, essentially, refused to return the stolen icon. He even reached the point of suing in the Greek courts, the executors of the will, their attorney and also His Eminence Archbishop Makarios for alleging attempting to blackmail and slanderously defame him.
Naturally, the Greek judicial system threw out Mr Kalliouris’ attempts to evade the matter and distract its course, rejecting his complaints as groundless and filing away his charges. Thus, Dismissal Orders were issued with numbers 412/2021 and 2797/2021 by the Athens First Instance Prosecutor’s Office and, on appeal against the latter, Dismissal Order 21-547/7-1-2022 was also issued by the Athens Appeals Prosecutor’s Office.
At the same time, the Supreme Court of NSW to which the Consolidated Trust of the Holy Archdiocese commenced legal proceedings to appeal in its defence of the blessed Archbishop Stylianos’ will and wish for the icon to remain in the Theological College, made orders in favour of the Church’s request and ordered the return of the holy icon to Australia. It is worth mentioning that although the Court was scheduled to try and hear the case on the 22nd of November 2022, before the start of the main court proceedings and hearing, Mr Kalliouris consented for orders to be made against him and in favour of the Church, in order to avoid paying financial compensation later and legal costs.
In the circumstances, the Court made orders by Consent as follows:
- Verdict and Judgement of the case was decided in favour for the Holy Archdiocese.
- The Court declares that the Icon is the property of the Holy Archdiocese.
- Orders the delivery, within 28 days, of the antique 18th century Icon to the agent of the Archdiocese in Athens, in the same condition as it was when the Defendant took the icon from the premises of the Archdiocese in Sydney, Australia.
- No order as to costs.
It should be mentioned that Mr Kalliouris insisted the court note his position of Mr Kalliouris (the Defendant’s position) is that “he received the icon in good faith as it was given to him personally by his late uncle Archbishop Stylianos” but rejected it (without any admissions).
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and the members of the Consolidated Trust would like to thank the Solicitor who took on and prosecuted the case, Mr George Anton as well as his associates.
The successful outcome of the above case gives rise to feelings of joy and satisfaction among all the faithful of our local Church and marks a personal vindication for His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, who since his arrival in Australia has been working tirelessly to defend the rights of the Holy Archdiocese and the Greek community, clashing with selfish interests and strongly resisting all kinds of pressure and, direct or indirect blackmail tactics that he can in no way accept.