The fragments will be definitively transferred to Athens on March 24 with a special ceremony planned to receive them, officials said in the press release.
Papamikroulis Emmanouil, who attended the signing ceremony on behalf of Ieronymos II, said in a statement that the agreement marked “a historic event,” adding that he hoped Pope Francis’ gesture would “be imitated by others.” He also suggested the move “partially compensates for” traumas resulting from injustices of the past.
Setting a precedent
Speaking at Tuesday’s signing ceremony, Cardinal Vérgez claimed that returning the marbles would help countries build stronger ties.
“This gesture aims to build bridges of fraternity and show the world that a road of dialogue and peace always exists, as we hope will happen in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine,” he said. “The Pope’s art collection must become an important point of contact between peoples, faiths and the churches, overcoming every barrier.”
Top image: The three fragments, including this head of a boy, will be transferred to Athens on March 24.