Greece welcomes Pope Francis’ decision to return Parthenon Sculptures held in Vatican

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Greece’s Culture Ministry has welcomed Pope Francis’ decision on Friday to return to Greece three fragments of the Parthenon Sculptures that have been in the papal collections of the Vatican Museums for more than a century.

In the statement, the Culture Ministry expressed its gratitude for the “generous decision of Pope Francis” and said it will cause momentum in Greece’s fight for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum in the United Kingdom.

The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision on Friday and said the pope was “donating” the fragments to Ieronymos II, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, as a gesture of ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican statement suggested the Holy See wanted to make clear that its donation was not a bilateral state-to-state return, but rather a religiously inspired donation from a pope to a primate.

The 5th century BC sculptures are mostly remnants of a 160-meter-long frieze that ran around the outer walls of the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis in Athens.

One piece is the head of the horse that was pulling Athena’s chariot on the west side of the building. The others are from the head of a boy and the head of a bearded male.

This latest decision by Pope Francis comes as recently a small museum in Sicily, Italy also decided to return its lone Parthenon fragment to Greece in a loan that Greek authorities hope will be extended indefinitely.

Source: AP News.

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