Three fragments from the Parthenon returned to Greece by the Vatican
Πηγή Φωτογραφίας: AP PHOTO
The gift is a personal decision by Pope Francis to Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
Representing the Greek government was Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni, while Reverend Emmanouil Papamikroulis represented the archbishop. The Holy See and Pope Francis were represented by President of the Governorate of Vatican City State Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga.
Commenting on the gift to Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), Mendoni spoke of “an especially generous gesture and an example of spiritual and brotherly relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.” She said the gesture was particularly welcome during the difficult time for the Greek people after the tragic train collision in central Greece.
She described the three marble fragments from the Parthenon temple as being part of the head of a youth, one of the two horses pulling the goddess Athena’s chariot, and a male figure with a beard that belongs to a southern metope, where the Centauromachy is depicted.
The Pope had called the Greek minister directly about his decision to return the three Parthenon fragments and asked her to take care of the process, while he also notified Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga told ANA-MPA. His Holiness, he said, “confirmed his friendship with the Greek Orthodox Church of Greece, with the intention that the steps of progress continue and that cultural exchanges with the Vatican Museums also continue.”
Reverend Papamikroulis said that the gesture partly heals some past hurts and injuries. “When Christians collaborate, they can bring results and together provide practical solutions to long-term and historically unresolved issues,” he noted.
Also welcoming the gift was Acropolis Museum Director Nicolas Stampolidis.