The Vatican and Greece are finalizing a deal for the return of three sculpture fragments from the Parthenon that have been in the collection of the Vatican Museums for two centuries, the latest case of a Western museum bowing to demands for restitution.
The Vatican has termed the return an ecumenical “donation” to the Orthodox Christian archbishop of Athens and all Greece, not necessarily a state-to-state transfer. But it nevertheless puts pressure on the British Museum to conclude a deal with Greece over the fate of its much bigger collection of Parthenon sculptures.
The fragments are expected to arrive in Athens later this month, with a March 24 ceremony planned to receive them.
The British Museum has refused decades of appeals from Greece to return its much larger collection of Parthenon sculptures, which have been a centerpiece of the museum since 1816.