NEWS

Rallying church leaders to help retrieve antiquities

You have emphasized antiquity theft. You succeeded in getting the Getty Museum to return four antiquities, and other fragments from the Parthenon and Erectheion, and you have announced the establishment of an antiquity theft directorate. Why haven’t you addressed the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum? If the question of the marbles was easy it would have been solved already. I believe in strategy and being methodical. Most of the scattered marbles are in the British Museum, but there are also 17 fragments in collections at other European organizations and museums. From the first I have been taking action to get them back. I have involved a lot of people in the matter. I asked Archbishop Christodoulos to raise the question with the Pope; I did the same with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios. What are the objects are we still seeking? If I reveal that now I’ll lose them. Besides, we have an open agenda of 30 cases. This means good legal support and good relations with neighboring countries. Without canceling out what had already been done, we started a regional approach to things in the hope of raising the pressure every time. The opening of the new Acropolis Museum will contribute to this. In matters of the cultural heritage, policy should not change from one minister to the next and from one government to the next. We must all follow a single line. If only George Papandreou or Aleka Papariga could bring me some fragment.