Greece on Friday welcomed the return of ancient artifacts from the Acropolis, continuing a campaign to pressure the British Museum to return a collection of sculptures taken from the ancient site in Athens more than 200 years ago. years.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Friday presided over a ceremony for the repatriation of three sculpture fragments – depicting a horse and two male heads – from the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis that had been kept in the Vatican Museums.
“Initiatives like these show the way, how the pieces of the Parthenon can be brought together, healing the wounds caused by barbaric hands so many years ago,” Mendoni said.
“This brings us to the just and moral demand of all the Greek people, of this government and of its prime minister, for the permanent return of all the Parthenon sculptures.”
The fragments will enrich the collection of the Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009 at the foot of the ancient site in the center of the Greek capital.
The Vatican called the return an ecumenical ‘gift’ to the Greek Orthodox Church, but the move added pressure on the London museum to reach a deal with Greece following a campaign launched by Athens 40 years ago.
“This act of Pope Francis has historical significance and has a positive impact at all levels… We hope it will serve as an example to others,” Greek Orthodox Church leader Archbishop Ieronymos said. II.
Greece argues that the Parthenon sculptures are central to its ancient heritage, while supporters of the British Museum argue that their return could undermine museum collections and cultural diversity globally.
Sculpted in the 5th century BC, the Parthenon carvings were taken in the early 19th century by British diplomat Lord Elgin before Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Culture ministry officials in Greece played down remarks made last month by British Museum chairman George Osborne that the UK and Greece were working on an arrangement to display the Parthenon Marbles in London and Athens.