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Pope demands 2,500-year-old pieces of Parthenon returned to Greece
Featured Image Credit: Mr / Alamy Stock Photo / The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

Pope demands 2,500-year-old pieces of Parthenon returned to Greece

Pope Francis has announced that the ancient pieces of Parthenon will be returned to Greece

The pope has demanded that the three 2,500-year-old pieces from the Parthenon are returned to Greece after spending more than a century in the papal collections of the Vatican Museums.

Pope Francis made the announcement following reported talks between the Greek government and the museum.

A Greek newspaper reported earlier this month that a deal to return the Parthenon marbles was close, though the Greek government rebuffed those claims, suggesting that a deal was not imminent.

In a statement on Friday (16 December), the Vatican said that the Pope would be giving the pieces to the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Ieronymos II.

Pope Francis has demanded the marbles are returned to Greece.
Marco Campagna / Alamy Stock Photo

They described it as a 'donation' to the archbishop "as a concrete sign of his sincere desire to follow in the ecumenical path of truth."

The Parthenon is a former temple on the Acropolis of Athens, and significant part of Greek history.

It was completed in the fifth century BC as a temple to the goddess Athena, and its stunning architecture is regarded as one of the greatest examples of ancient Greek sculpture.

In a statement following the Vatican's, the Acropolis Museum in Athens said that the pieces would be displayed on its premises.

However, Ieronymos II has not announced his plans for the marbles as it looks set to return to Greece in the near future.

One piece of the Parthenon is the head of a horse that was pulling Athena's chariot, according to the Vatican Museums website.

The others that are now heading back to Greece are from the head of a boy and the head of a bearded man.

Greece's Culture Minister Lina Mendoni thanked Pope Francis 'for the generous decision' in allowing the marbles back into Greece.

Despite this dispute reaching a conclusion, Athens and London remain at locker heads over the possession of the so-called 'Elgin Marbles'.

In recent days, the UK's Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said that returning the 'Elgin Marbles' to Greece would be a 'very dangerous and slippy road'.

The marbles are from the Greek former temple the Parthenon.
Preto Perola / Alamy Stock Photo

George Osborne, the former UK chancellor, has reportedly been holding talks with Greece's prime minister over a potential return.

The former Tory MP is now the chairman of the British Museum.

Speaking to MPs, Ms Donelan spoke about the dangers of giving the marbles back.

She said: "Once you start giving one back, where does that end?

"It's also very difficult to know who to give these things back to. We're talking about very ancient items in many respects.

"There are certain examples where it is not clear over exactly who the owners are. And others where I would argue it is more clear that we have a direct link to ownership.

"But, certainly, I think the current status quo is working and we should protect it."

Topics: News, Pope Francis