Pope Francis with Archbishop Ieronymos II in 2021. Photo Credit: Andreas Solaro / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Society Greece6. January 2023

Goodbye, Museum: Three 2,500-Year-Old Artifacts Are Heading Back Home

As part of a larger push for the repatriation of cultural artifacts to their country of origin, the Vatican has decided to return three 2,500-year-old pieces of the Parthenon to Greece.

“This decision comes in support of the diligent effort made by the Greek government for the return of the Parthenon sculptures […] and their reunification with those exhibited in the Acropolis Museum,” states the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The fragments – the head of a boy, a horse head, and the head of a bearded man – belonged to a 76-meter frieze that once adorned the Acropolis in Athens, depicting a procession in honor of the goddess Athena. Part of the Vatican Museum for two centuries, the fragments are returning to their home country as a donation to the Greek Orthodox Church leader Archbishop Ieronymos II. The return is a testament to Pope Francis’s “sincere desire to follow in the ecumenical path of truth,” per the Associated Press’s Nicole Winfield.

The Smithsonian Magazine

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