Parts Of The Parthenon In Athens. Photo: Vatican Museums

Pope Gives Three Fragments of Athens’ Parthenon, which Were in the Vatican Museums, to the Greek Orthodox

The Holy See said it was a “concrete sign of its sincere desire to continue on the ecumenical path of the testimony of the Truth.”

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Valentina di Giorgio

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 16.12.2022).- Made public on Friday, December 16, was the Pope’s donation of three fragments of Athens’ Parthenon, to the Orthodox Archbishop of the Greek capital, Ieronymos II. 

Through its Press Office, the Holy See said that it is a “concrete signs of its sincere desire to continue on the ecumenical path of the testimony of the Truth.” 

The fragments of Athens’ Parthenon were in the Vatican Museums. Millions of visitors were able to see them in the Gregorian Profane Museum, which forms part of the galleries. 

A Bit of History of the Fragments

These three fragments of Pentelic marble, which came into the Vatican in the 19th century, are part of the decorative sculpture of the Parthenon, the temple built on the Acropolis at Athens by Pericles (447-432 B.C.). The figurative decoration of the temple is the creative genius of the Athenian sculptor, Phidias. 

The head of a horse comes from the west front of the building, on which Athena  and Poseidon  were shown competing for dominion over Attica; the fragment here has been identified as the fourth horse pulling Athena’s chariot. The relief with the head of a boy has been identified as one of the figures from the frieze that went round the cella of the temple: he is carrying a tray of votive cakes which were offered during the Panathenaic procession in honour of Athena. The bearded male head, however, has been attributed to one of the metopes from the southern side of the building where there was a battle between the Lapiths and Centaurs.

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