Vatican returns piece of Parthenon marbles

 The Vatican has returned a fragment of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece the Adnkronos website reported yesterday.

The artifact, which depicts the head of a man carrying a tray, was returned after a request by the late Greek Orthodox Archbishop Christopoulos at a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. It will be kept on loan for one year.

"This is a gesture from one of the most important museums in Europe," Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said.

"It should be seen as an example for other museums to follow to return the Parthenon Marbles."

For years Greece has called on Britain to hand back the fifth century BC sculptures currently housed at the British Museum. The friezes, also known as the Elgin Marbles, were removed from the Acropolis by Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, more than 200 years ago.

Greece has called for their return ahead of the completion of a 100-million-euro museum at the foot of the Acropolis, which will open to the public next year .

Sweden, Germany and Italy have already returned pieces taken from the Acropolis, but many artefacts are still being held in collections in Denmark, Germany, Austria and France.

Giandomenico Spinola, head of the Vatican Museum's classical antiquities department, said it was too early to say whether the loan would be renewed.

Source: Adnkronos

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