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Three fragments of Parthenon brought to Athens in ceremony

Three fragments of the Parthenon previously found in the Vatican Museums are brought to the Acropolis Museum in Athens. Pope Francis donated the works to the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Athens, His Beatitude Ieronymos II.

By Vatican News

At a reunification ceremony on Friday afternoon in Athens, the three fragments of the Parthenon that had been preserved for more than two centuries in the Vatican Museums were brought to Athens and its Acropolis Museum. 

Following his apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece in December 2021, Pope Francis wished to donate to the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Athens, His Beatitude Ieronymos II, the three fragments of the Parthenon.

His Beatitude Ieronymos II presided over the donation ceremony that included a Vatican Delegation with Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity; Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawłowski, Apostolic Nuncio to Greece; Msgr. Andrea Palmieri, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity; and Prof. Barbara Jatta, Director of the Vatican Museums.

In his address for the occasion, His Beatitude Ieronymos II, expressed his great joy and gratitude for the reunification of the three fragments of the Parthenon from the Vatican Museums with the Parthenon architectural sculptures at the Acropolis Museum, "their natural place."  He said this initiative of Pope Francis in donating the fragments has "historic importance, with multiple positive repercussions on several levels."

First, His Beatitude noted, it shows the "tangible proof of the fruits produced by the fraternal relations that exist among us Christians, guided by truth, love, mutual respect and understanding." It shows our world today, marked by injustice, that solutions to our problems are possible when there is goodwill and a sincere desire to resolve them. Second, he recalled how "truth is restored" and wounds from the past are healed with this reunification of inseparable parts of this special monument of the world's cultural heritage. In conclusion, he expressed his wish that the gesture of Pope Francis might be imitated by others. He thanked all those who contributed to making this celebration possible.

Addressing those present, Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, said that the gifting of the fragments marks "an ecclesial, cultural and social gesture of friendship and solidarity with the people of Greece." He recalled the origin of Pope Francis' desire to make this gesture and how it affirms "ever more strongly the friendship and spiritual closeness between our Churches." He conveyed the Pope's warmest greetings and prayerful good wishes to His Beatitude and the whole body of the Church of Greece.

He add that "people of goodwill can see in this event the expression of a shared hope that our diverse cultures, and art itself, will always be a privileged means of dialogue and encounter among peoples. In that exchange, we enrich each other, in the wonderful diversity of our histories, our achievements and the universal aspiration to peace and fraternity."

In conclusion, he expressed hopes that "from the encounter between peoples and their cultures – of which the homecoming of the Parthenon fragments is one eloquent sign - will spring the understanding and solidarity that leads to peace."

24 March 2023, 18:30