Vatican 'donating' its own 3 Parthenon sculptures to Greece

Streaming HUBMarch 7, 2023

ROME (AP) – The Vatican and Greece finalized a deal Tuesday for the return of three sculpture fragments from the Parthenon that have been in Vatican museums’ collections for two centuries, the latest case of a Western museum seeking restoration. Leaning in for.

The Vatican has called the withdrawal a universal “donation” for the Orthodox Christian archbishops of Athens and all of Greece, not necessarily a state-to-state transfer. But it still puts pressure on the British Museum to strike a deal with Greece over the fate of its much larger collection of Parthenon sculptures.

The head of the Vatican city-state, Cardinal Fernando Vergara, signed an agreement to implement the “donation” during a private Vatican Museums ceremony with Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and a representative of the Orthodox Christian archbishops of Athens and All Greece . Ieronimos II.

The envoy, Father Emmanuel Papamikoulis, told The Associated Press that the Greek Orthodox Church and the archbishop were grateful to Pope Francis for the deal.

“It has happened at a difficult time for our country, and hopefully it will provide some sense of pride and joy. I hope this initiative will be followed by others,” he said in a telephone interview from the Vatican. Said, where he was visiting the Vatican. Gardens after the signing ceremony.

“This initiative helps heal the wounds of the past and demonstrates that when Christian leaders work together, they can solve issues in practical ways,” Papamikoulis said.

The pieces are expected to arrive in Athens later this month, with plans to receive them at a March 24 ceremony.

The British Museum has rejected decades of appeals from Greece to return its vast collection of Parthenon sculptures, which have been a centerpiece of the museum since 1816.

Earlier this month, however, the chairman of the British Museum said the UK and Greece were working on a deal that would see his institution’s Parthenon marbles displayed in both London and Athens.

The sculptures from the 5th century BC are mostly the remains of a 160-metre-long (520 ft) frieze that extended around the outer walls of the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

Most of the frieze and other sculptural decoration of the temple was lost in a 17th-century bombardment, and about half the remaining works were removed in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, a British diplomat.


Gatopoulos contributed from Athens.

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