London, Thanasis Gavos

“A warm letter” to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, in which he asks him to consider the request for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures “as a separate case”, Archbishop Nikitas of Thyatira and Great Britain addresses.

His Holiness points to the broader global debate taking place regarding cultural relics acquired “in controversial circumstances,” but notes that the Sculptures are a special case “that cries out for a bold visionary solution that could generate enormous goodwill among Greeks, Britons and anyone else who appreciates the Greek heritage”.

In his letter, Mr. Nikitas refers to the “unthinkable” today and “slightly barbaric”, as it was characterized at the time, fragmentation of a single monument on the private initiative of a diplomat, in an episode that “does no honor to anyone”.

Two centuries later, Archbishop Nikitas describes the arguments for the reunification of the Glyptos as “overwhelming”.

He notes that as residents of the United Kingdom, supporters of reunification respect the British Museum as a center of academic excellence and understand the institution’s independence and the trustees’ legal obligation to protect the museum’s collection.

“However, together with many British academics, cultural figures, politicians and ordinary citizens, we believe that the Museum’s global prestige would be enhanced, not diminished, if it acted boldly and actively worked towards the reunification of the sculptures,” the Archbishop emphasizes in his letter .

He comments that it is certainly not impossible to find the legal solutions that would facilitate the restoration of the integrity of this unique frieze.

In closing, Mr. Nikitas refers to the already very productive collaboration between Greeks and Britons in the study of Greek heritage and its presentation to the world, including through generous donations from Greek benefactors to British universities, the operation of schools and non-profit organizations that promote collaboration and research and the strong Greek presence of staff and students in UK universities.

All this is happening despite the “gravel in the shoe” of the huge injustice committed on the Acropolis 200 years ago. If this gravel were removed, then the bilateral cultural cooperation “would reach new heights”, concludes His Eminence’s letter to Mr. Sunak.

Meanwhile, the Parthenon Project organization, which has given new impetus to the campaign to claim the Sculptures, has announced the inclusion of Nikos Alivizatos, emeritus professor of Constitutional Law at the Law School of the University of Athens, in its advisory board.

Mr. Alivizatos said he was excited about the opportunity to contribute through the organization to the argument in favor of reuniting the Parthenon Sculptures “as a complete work of art in Athens.”