The signing ceremony of the new treaty was held today at the Vatican for the donation of three marble fragments of the Parthenon to Greece, Tuesday 7 March 2023 (PRESS RELEASE MINISTRY OF CULTURE/EUROKINISSI)
ROME – At a ceremony in the Holy See on Tuesday, Greece received three marble fragments of the Parthenon as a gift for the Acropolis Museum from the Vatican Museums. The gift was a personal decision made by Pope Francis to Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
Representing the Greek government at the ceremony was Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, while Reverend Emmanouil Papamikroulis represented the archbishop. President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, represented the Holy See and Pope Francis.
Mendoni expressed her gratitude for the gift in a statement to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), describing it as “an especially generous gesture and an example of the spiritual and brotherly relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.” She also highlighted the significance of the gift in light of the recent train collision in central Greece, which has been a challenging time for the Greek people.
She identified the three marble fragments from the Parthenon temple as a fragment of a youth’s head, one of the two horses pulling the goddess Athena’s chariot, and a male figure with a beard that belongs to a southern metope depicting the Centauromachy.
According to Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, Pope Francis directly contacted the Greek minister to inform her of his decision to return the three Parthenon fragments and asked her to oversee the process. The Pope also informed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of his decision. His Holiness confirmed his friendship with the Greek Orthodox Church of Greece and expressed his hope that cultural exchanges with the Vatican Museums will continue.
Reverend Papamikroulis remarked that the gesture partly mends past hurts and injuries. He noted that Christians can achieve results when they work together and provide practical solutions to long-standing, unresolved issues.
Acropolis Museum Director Nicolas Stampolidis also welcomed the gift.
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