Vatican to Return Its Parthenon Marbles Fragments to Greece

Pope Francis introduced right this moment, December 16, that he would return all of the fragments of the Parthenon Marbles held on the Vatican Museums again to Greece. The pope known as the return a “donation” to the Greek Orthodox Christian archbishop His Beatitude Ieronymos II of Athens and a gesture of his intention to “observe within the ecumenical path of fact.” The three fragments — depicting the heads of a horse, a boy, and a person — have been within the Vatican’s assortment for the reason that nineteenth century.

The fifth-century BCE Parthenon Marbles as soon as adorned the Acropolis in Athens, the place they depicted figures from Greek mythology, a legendary battle scene, and a procession from the “Panathenaea” annual Athenian competition. The sequence of sculptures, friezes, and reliefs have turn out to be the topic of hotly contested debates and requires repatriation. Within the early 1800s, the British Lord Elgin eliminated a big portion of the Classical Greek marbles from the Acropolis and introduced them again to England, the place they went on show on the British Museum in 1832. Now, the works are roughly cut up between Athen’s Acropolis Museum and the British Museum, although different establishments such because the Louvre additionally maintain fragments.

The Pope’s choice comes amidst mounting strain on the British Museum to return its portion of the objects, however the London establishment has lately doubled down on its refusal to repatriate the traditional artifacts and as an alternative advised a mortgage. In 2008, the Vatican loaned one fragment, head of a person, to Greece for one yr, however this time, the artifacts are going again for good.

The Vatican holds a large swath of cultural heritage objects from around the globe and has been requested to repatriate objects earlier than. This summer season, Canadian Indigenous leaders known as on the Pope to return their cultural objects from the Vatican Museum, an particularly necessary act given the Catholic Church’s function in Canada’s “residential faculties,” the place hundreds of kids died. To date, the objects haven’t been returned.

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