A treasured Russian religious Icon has been stolen from a Christchurch family and they and police are keen to have it returned.
"It has been in this family for hundreds of years and is part of their life," says Detective Oliver Rose. "The monetary value does not come in to it; it is the intrinsic value to this family which is priceless."
It is believed to have been stolen as part of a house burglary. The family would love it to be left somewhere so it can be recovered quickly and safely.
The family member, who only wants to be known as Michael says that it is a treasured possession that has been handed down for centuries, he believes since 1634, but he doesn't how old it is.
"The family story says it was received as a reward by a forebear who fought for someone, it is unknown when or who; just some great, great, great...."
Michael says that icons are of special significance to Russian Orthodox as they are belived to keep you safe, healthy and look after your well being.
This icon of St Nicholas is of great sentimental value he says, that the family thought would be safe in New Zealand.
"You don't expect something like this to happen here which must be one of the safest countries in the world."
Anyone who has any information or has been offered it is asked to contact Detective Rose phone 363 7400 as soon as possible.
Michael is offering a reward for the safe return of the icon.