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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 15:59 GMT
Thieves steal treasured Hungarian bible
Hungarian border guards have stepped up checks after thieves stole a rare 16th Century bible, highly symbolic to the Hungarian Reformed Church.

A senior churchman, Bishop Gusztav Boelcskei, said the Vizsoly Bible, published in 1590, was the first to be printed entirely in the Hungarian language.

He said the translation had determined the Hungarian literary language for centuries and the intellectual value of individual copies was impossible to estimate.

The culture ministry and police have offered rewards totalling about $15,000 for information leading to the bible's return.

Only 20 copies of the Vizsoly Bible still exist. The bible was stolen from a church in the northern town of Vizsoly, which gave its name to the work.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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