Pavlopoulos: Every Injury to a Monument of Civilisation is an Injury to Our Soul

A man is pictured near chared glass windows Notre Dame cathedral Tuesday April 16, 2019 in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

ATHENS – “Every wound or injury to a monument of civilisation is a wound to our soul,” President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Wednesday, expressing his sorrow for the devastating fire that engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Pavlopoulos was speaking at an event to present the book “Hellenic UNESCO World Heritage Sites”, organised by the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis” Foundation, at the Acropolis Museum.

In this context, he noted that among the monuments of Greek antiquity, which make up “the core of our entire cultural heritage,” the Parthenon has pride of place as it symbolises, in a unique way, the starting point and the cradle of western civilisation in general, “the starting point and cradle of both our intellectual origins and the institutional pillars of our democracy.”

“Our common struggle, which concerns the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, is inherently connected to the satisfaction of a just claim, which we all ought to serve, irrespective of nationality, since it is, in essence, the demand of humanity as it concerns the core of its cultural heritage,” he underlined.

“Above all, it is universally accepted that these Sculptures belong rightfully and culturally to the Parthenon and its monuments. This is because without these Sculptures, the Parthenon, hurt from the act of vandalism and looting that has been covered up for over two centuries under a guise of supposed ‘love of antiquity’ which directly harms World Cultural Heritage, cannot symbolise and, at the same time, emanate to humankind its eternal and unique cultural message,” he said.

As for the world-wide cultural uniqueness of the Parthenon and its monuments, he pointed out that there is no need to argue for a long time, since it is an inherent truth, which is based on unshakeable evidence.