The reunification ceremony of three marble fragments from the Parthenon temple with the Acropolis Museum’s permanent display was held on Friday evening at the museum’s Parthenon Gallery.
These fragments from the metopes, the frieze and the pediments of the Parthenon were gifted personally by Pope Francis to the Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
Pope Francis’ gesture “is of historical significance and has very positive ramifications on multiple levels,” noted Archbishop Hieronymos.
Read the homily of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos
Your Excellency the Prime Minister,
Your Grace Bishop Brian Farrell, head of the Delegation of His Holiness Pope Francis,
Most Honourable Ms Minister of Culture and Sports,
Most Learned Director-General of the Acropolis Museum,
It is with great emotion and joy that I partake of today’s solemn ceremony of re-integration of the three fragments from the Vatican Museums in the decorative architectural sculptures of the Parthenon in the Acropolis Museum.
My emotion is due to the fact that on this day, before our very eyes, the initiative of our beloved brother and Venerable Head of the Roman Catholic Church is completed and becomes flesh and blood in practice, namely his decision to donate these three fragments to my lowliness and, subsequently, through me, to see them regain their place in their natural context, here, in the Parthenon Hall of the Acropolis Museum.
This act on the part of Pope Francis is of historic significance and has most positive implications on many levels.
First, it constitutes tangible proof of the fruit borne by the cultivation of the brotherly bonds between us as Christians, on the basis of truth, love, mutual respect and understanding. Moreover, particularly in today’s world tormented by unrest and injustice, to those far and near, it bears witness to the fact that solutions can be found to any problems or disagreements as long as the good will and the sincere willingness to cooperate are there.
Secondly, through this act the truth of things is restored, wounds and traumas that can be reduced to the past heal, as in this unique monument of the world cultural heritage integral parts of it are reunited.
My own personal wholehearted wish is that others may follow suit, guided by this initiative. Pope Francis demonstrated that this is both feasible and essential.
Finally, please allow me as Head of the Most Holy Church of Greece to extend my warmest personal thanks, along with those of our clergy and our people, to His Holiness Pope Francis as well as to all those who laboured and contributed to the effectuation of this historic event.
May I thank all of you too for the honour of your presence.