Greece welcomes back ancient Acropolis art

Athens, Greece –

On Friday, Greece welcomed the return of antiquities from the Acropolis, furthering its campaign to pressure the British Museum to return a collection of sculptures taken from the ancient ruins of Athens more than 200 years ago.

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni hosted a ceremony on Friday for the return of three sculptural fragments representing horses and two male heads from the Parthenon on the Acropolis, which were kept at the Vatican Museums.

“Initiatives like this show how the fragments of the Parthenon can reunite and heal the wounds caused by barbarian hands many years ago,” Mendoni said.

“This brings us to the just and moral demand of the entire Greek people, the government and its prime minister for the eventual return of all the sculptures of the Parthenon.” It is added to the collection of the Acropolis Museum, which opened in 2009 at the foot of the ancient ruins.

Mendoni said Greece was willing to “fill in the gaps” by loaning ancient Greek artifacts to the British Museum for display once the marbles were returned.

“Greece cannot recognize ownership by the British Museum because it considers the sculpture to be the product of theft,” she said.

The Vatican called the return an ecumenical “donation” to the Greek Orthodox Church, but pressured London’s museums to reconcile with Greece after a movement started by Athens 40 years ago.

Archbishop Hieronimos II, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, said: “This act by Pope Francis is historically significant and has had a positive impact on all levels. I hope it will serve as an example for others.” I will,” he said.

Greece claims the Parthenon sculptures are central to its ancient heritage, but supporters of the British Museum say their return could undermine museum collections and cultural diversity globally. claims that

Carved in the 5th century BC, the Parthenon sculpture was photographed by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, before Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire.

A Greek culture ministry official downplayed a statement last month by British Museum chairman George Osborne that Britain and Greece were working on arrangements to display the Parthenon marble in both London and Athens.

Last year, another marble fragment from the Parthenon, depicting the feet of the ancient Greek goddess Artemis, was returned to Athens from a museum in Palermo, Sicily.

Bishop Brian Farrell, the Vatican’s secretary for the promotion of Christian unity, led a delegation to Athens and said the return of the three fragments from the Vatican was discussed during Pope Francis’ visit to Athens in 2021. rice field.

“The donation of the Parthenon fragment, which has been preserved in the Vatican Museums for more than two centuries, demonstrates a cultural and social gesture of friendship and solidarity with the people of Greece,” Farrell said.

“We guarantee you an intimate pleasure when your justified wish to bring the pieces back to their original place is fulfilled,” he added.

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