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Judge Refuses to Dismiss Lawsuit of Biblical Proportions Against Getty

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A judge has refused to dismiss the Armenian Orthodox Church's lawsuit against the Getty. The church has been trying to recover pages ripped from a 755-year-old bible. Those pages include lavishly illustrated by Toros Roslin, one of the most important Armenian miniatures painter of the Middle Ages.

The Armenian Church wants to reclaim those pages, and it argues that they were stolen — ripped from a sacred bible in the chaos of the Armenian Genocide — and that the Getty should have known that. The church wants to reunite the beautiful pages with the original bible. The Getty paid $950,000 for them in 1994, and their lawyers argued that because of the statute of limitations, the case should be thrown out. Under a California law passed last year, plaintiffs have six years to sue after they discover a missing work's whereabouts.

The judge is ordering the two sides into mediation, but it is significant that he did not throw the case out altogether. The Times has more background on the case and last year an Armenian op-ed contributor who happened to be a Getty postdoctoral fellow suggested a solution to the impasse.