The fragments include the head of a boatman, the head of a bearded man attributed to the south metope 16 of the Centauromachy, and finally the head of a horse attributed to a pediment of the Parthenon.
A meaningful act “fraternity and dialogue” it’s for Vatican the return of three fragments of the Parthenon to the Acropolis Museum in Athens, a return which was completed last night in an atmosphere of emotion in the Greek capital.
The fragments attributed to their monument include the head of a boatman (robed) man belonging to Stone V of the north frieze of the Parthenon, the head of a bearded man attributed to the south metope 16 of the Centauromachy, and finally the head of a horse attributed to on a pediment of the Parthenon.
“The heroic decision of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church to donate a treasure, which may not seem large, but is a great gift to all of us, is something that leaves us indebted”Archbishop Hieronymos said yesterday.
The return of the fragments of the Parthenon from the Vatican Museum in Athens is of historic importance, according to commentators in Rome.
Firstly, because it is a personal decision of the Pontiff, the implementation of which he entrusted to his close associates within a very short period of time, as reported by Deutsche Welle in its publication.
And secondly, because it is not by chance that Pope Francis chose to donate the three fragments to Archbishop Hieronymos and the Church of Greece.
In this way, as mentioned in the relevant DW article, the Pope wanted to underline that this is an act concerning priceless ancient objects and that it is done in a spirit of “fraternity and dialogue”. Which, indirectly, is a message to all the other countries where such marbles are found.
This move by Pope Francis becomes even more important if one considers that his predecessor, Pope Benedict, had not consented to the three fragments being given to Greece.
From this move by the Vatican, according to commentators, it follows that the cultural heritage not only cannot be ignored but also is a stronger element than any commercial buying and selling of the past.
It is recalled that it was preceded by the decision of the A. Salinas Museum of Palermo, Sicily and the region of the island to donate the Fagan fragment to the Acropolis museum last year. This was also the first return of a Parthenon sculpture from a foreign country.
“The definitive return and reunification of the Sicilian party is of enormous importance since we all know that the beginning is half the battle. It is the first reunion at the Parthenon attributed from state to state thus indicating the path that remains to be followed elsewhere, mainly from the United Kingdom, contributing to the restoration of the monument, a symbol of world culture, the Parthenon, to the restoration of history and democracy”, the general director of the Acropolis Museum, professor Nikolaos Stampolidis, stated at the time.
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