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Armenian Church

Sues Getty

Over 'Magical' Bible

6/2/2010 1:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The Western branch of "the oldest organized Christian Church in the world" is suing the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A., demanding the return of 7 pages from a "magical" 750-year-old bible that was allegedly stolen during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1918.


doc_launch_small_200In documents filed yesterday in L.A. County Superior Court, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America claims The Getty "acted in complete disregard" for the Church's rights in 1994 when it bought "stolen" pages of the Zeyt'un Gospels Bible.  

The Church claims the Zeyt'un Bible was created for Constantine I by "the master illuminator T'oros Roslin" in 1256, and is one of Armenia's most valued national treasures.  The Church believes the book "wielded supernatural powers."

When the Turks invaded Armenia in 1915, the suit claims, descendants of a royal Armenian family fled with the Bible, with whom it was thought to be safe.  Yet, when the Bible was returned to Armenia following WWII, 7 key pages were missing ... pages that turned up at The Getty.

The Church claims it learned the Getty Museum had the pages in 2007, but the Getty has refused to return it.  Now, the Church is asking the court to order the pages returned, and for damages of $35 million.


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the truth    

Religion is soooo's just a brain disorder...people should be getting help for

1612 days ago


Give it back. I doubt that anyone in LA (besides the Kardashians) care about those 7 pages.

1612 days ago


Problem member's of Sarah Palin's Tea bagger's Christians for drilling baby drill hypocrites...

1612 days ago

Hugh Jass    

I think this stuff really belongs to everyone now and that the Getty is a good place to display it. Shame on the dumb Church (and on the Karcrashians if they say anything about it).

1612 days ago


I guess when they make a movie of this it will star Lindsey Lohan and Brett Michaels

1612 days ago


This is not much about religion as it is an important piece of history. During the Armenian Genocide , Turkey took 1.5 million people which is still denied as genocide till this day.What Getty did wasnt cool.

1612 days ago


"the oldest organized Christian Church in the world"

Wouldn't that be the Catholic Church?
Started most likely in the 2nd or 3rd Century
Since prior to the 16th century there was only one Christian Church......

1612 days ago

don dixon     

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! they should give them back OK, but on the other hand,the book's keepers, and thats all they really are! should be happy to get them back.... not to say that the Getty most likely took very good care of the pages, they don't deserve a penny, just be happy the book's now complete.Thanks Don

1612 days ago


Actually T (comment 8),
Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 A.D. "The Catholic Church" is not a country, as we all know. " Oldest organized church" refers to the country adopting the religion itself. Thanks for joining the dialogue. One doesn't have to be Christian or Armenian to be interested in history. Have a great day.

1612 days ago


I visited the Getty's Illuminated Manuscript collection last year and the beauty of those medieval Bibles is breathtaking. I couldn’t believe TMZ would cover such a story because I doubt the average TMZ reader even know what Illuminated Manuscripts are. Based on the hateful, bigoted comments posted so far, I seem to be proven correct. The question is ownership. All artwork stolen during genocide needs to be returned to its lawful owner. But it looks like the family that took the Bible when they fled probably sold these pages when they needed money during the Second World War. I’m sure the Getty would not try to keep stolen art if they were not sure of their legal position. The court will decide. Thanks TMZ for a great story, you don’t need to always post stories for the barely literate dregs such as many of the commenter’s on this story.

1612 days ago


By all means return the pages. They rightfully belong to the Armenian Church. If the Getty had a portion of an Islamic text that was deemed as important, some ******* would be protesting or declaring jihad.

1612 days ago

Professor Obvious    

Not with this "Armenian Genocide" fraud again, please! Once again, the facts are the Armenian people were at war with the Ottomans, they lost the war after suffering severe causalities. Rather than admit in their cultural history that they got whooped fair and square, they decided to misrepresent the facts and claim that their people were the victims of a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide by the nation of Turkey. It's interesting to note that at the time of this "genocide", there was no such country as Turkey, but let's not let facts get in the way of this amazing fiction. If the Armenians are the victims of genocide, then so is the loser of every other war in world history. Armenians have contributed much to this world, Cher is Armenian for example, as are many noteworthy composers and scientists. Armenians have much to be proud of but this deliberate fraud detracts from their collective dignity.

1612 days ago

J Doe    

Armenians sueing! Whats new!

1612 days ago

Gabe Newman    

When Jesus comes back, do you think he'll file a law suit?

1612 days ago


Great comment #11. I agree. I read TMZ for my "escape," but our society has a tendency to "escape" when things actually matter. This isn't about religion or ethnicity, rather what people do to one another and how we sometimes get chances to try and stop the cycle. Most of us have reason to respect this as more than a fight between a museum and a people. Native Americans, Rwandans, Jews, Cambodians, Lithuanians (and sadly the list is endless), can understand and appreciate what restoring and maintaining cultural archives mean. So many ethnicities no longer exist because they were wiped off the map -- they never had this chance. You can't judge a people if they want to continue a struggle to maintain an identity. If all the readers can see in this story is something about the Kardashians then our world, and their kids, are in big trouble. Sad.

1612 days ago
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