Pope Francis Donates Parthenon Marbles in Vatican Assortment to the Greek Orthodox Church

Pope Francis has promised to relinquish three fragments of the Parthenon Marbles housed within the Vatican Museums, the Vatican introduced Friday. The transfer is prone to improve strain on cultural establishments nonetheless reluctant to half with their very own collections of the contested sculptures. 

Within the announcement, the Vatican described the transfer as a “donation” from Francis to His Beatitude Ieronymos II, the Orthodox Christian Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, and mentioned it was “a concrete signal of his honest need to comply with within the ecumenical path of fact.”

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People admire the Parthenon Marbles inside the Parthenon Galleries in the British Museum. The marbles are also known as Elgin Marbles, with sculptures are artifacts of the frieze and the East Pediment from the Parthenon in the Acropolis of Athens. The marbles are displayed to visitors in the British Museum. The Greek government is in dispute with the British government and the museum, demanding the return of the marbles. London, United Kingdom UK on August 2022 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The “donation” marks one of many highest-profile returns of the two,500-year-old sculptures to their nation of origin for the reason that calls for his or her reunification gained world traction. The British Museum, which owns one of many largest collections of Parthenon Marbles, rebuked many years of appeals from Greece for his or her return, however has lately signaled a softening of its stance. 

The Parthenon Sculptures are the remnants of a gaggle of marble reduction panels and pedimental sculptures from the outer partitions of the temple of Athena on the Acropolis in Athens. Round half of the surviving sculptural ornament was from the Acropolis in 1810 by the Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin, in the course of the Ottoman occupation of Greece. They’ve been the centerpiece of the British Museum’s galleries that home artifacts from Egypt and historic Mediterranean civilizations since 1816. 

Earlier this month it was revealed that George Osborne, the chair of the British Museum, and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, had met in London to debate a attainable mortgage of the marbles to Greece. Following the information Mitsotakis mentioned a “win-win answer might be discovered,” whereas the British Museum mentioned although it was pursuing a “new Parthenon partnership with Greece”, they have been “not going to dismantle our nice assortment because it tells a singular story of our frequent humanity”.

Different fragments of the unique frieze are scattered in museums throughout Europe however have slowly been making their means again to Greece. In Could, Italy introduced {that a} fragment belonging to the Parthenon’s japanese frieze on mortgage from a Sicilian museum would keep in Athens. The artifact, depicting the foot of the goddess Artemis peeking out from a tunic, was returned as a part of a four-year loan agreement between Greece and the Antonio Salinas Archaeological Museum in Palermo. In return for the fragment, the Acropolis Museum loaned Italy a Fifth-century B.C.E. statue of the goddess Athena and an Eighth-century B.C.E. amphora.

The Vatican’s assortment features a head of a horse, a head of a younger man, and a bearded older male head. The pinnacle of the younger man was beforehand loaned to Greece for a 12 months in 2008.

Greece’s Tradition Ministry praised the pope’s resolution, which had adopted a request by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the religious chief of Orthodox Christians worldwide. Their return aids Greece’s efforts for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in London “with these on show within the Acropolis Museum,” the Tradition Ministry mentioned in an announcement. 

The Vatican confused in its assertion that this was a donation to the Greek Orthodox Church, not a reparation to Greece, avoiding a precedent wherein different colonized international locations might problem formal requests for the return of their artifacts.


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