Two foundations in Greece launch a new campaign for the sculptures of the Parthenon

RE campaign

Two Greek foundations, the Marianna Vardinoyannis Foundation in collaboration with the Melina Mercouri Foundation, yesterday Thursday 26 June 2014, in Athens, launched a new campaign for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures: Return The Marbles, Restore Parthenon, Restart History.

ACROPOLIS Marianna Vardinoyannis 26.06.2014The conference at the superlative Acropolis Museum, which took place on Thursday 26 June 2014, was introduced by Marianna Vardinoyannis, the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and president of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, moderated by erudite journalist Pavlos Tsimas.  The Greek Minister of Culture, Konstantinos Tasoulas and Minister of Tourism, Olga Kefalogianni also gave their respective addresses. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova sent a message in support of the new campaign.


ACROPOLIS new campaign 26.06.2014

A number of guest speakers addressed the audience on various aspects surrounding reunification starting with the very charismatic Mounir Bouchenaki, Honorary Special Advisor of the Director-General of UNESCO. Mr Bouchenaki spoke about cultural heritage as the 'soul' of every nation. In the journey to the conference, he had spoken about the times he had met with the Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor and made his own appeal for the sculptures of the Parthenon. Mr Bouchenaki feels that such a magnanimous gesture would make a great difference to the world.

Professor Pandermalis, President of the 06 Pantermalis

Acropolis Museum, gave the background on the creation of the museum and the issues they faced when they were displaying the sculptures of the Parthenon - how they dealt with the fact that half are in Bloomsbury, in the British Museum. He went on to show and explain the ambitious digital restoration program of the Parthenon sculptures that the Acropolis Museum has started on the 5th anniversary of the Museum. Horse riders of the west frieze are presented in 3D digital images with additions of copper weapons and bridles, with alternating light and colour testing.

ACROPOLIS St Clair 26.06.2014William St Clair, Senior Research Fellow Institute of English Studies, School of advanced Study, University of London referred to the return of the sculptures of the Parthenon as a 200 year old case, a paradigm. He discussed the firman, intellectual property, the language and stewardship of the British Museum, integrity. 

Mark Vlasic, Professor of Law at Georgetown University gave a talk on fighting impunity from war crimes or corruption and how this might also extend to stolen antiquities.

Manouella Pavlidou, Secretary General of the 'Melina Mercouri Foundation' paid tribute to the late Melina Mercouri and her passion for the return of the sculptures to Greece.

Christoforos Argyropoulos, President of the Melina Mercouri Foundationand the Greek Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, upheld a word we often use, respect. And respect with reference to what continues to be symbol of values in society. And he also mentioned that light, that Athenian light which makes viewing the sculptures of the Parthenon, so special. We could not agree more!

David Hill, Chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, a ten year old organisation which has an international community of 16 member countries including Britain, all campaigning in favour of reunification, emphasised this association’s ongoing commitment to the cause and working closely and in co-operation with the Greek government.

The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), presented the rich history of the campaign which was started in the UK in 1983 by James Cubitt, a British architect and whose wife Eleni Cubitt was Secretary for nearly three decades and continues to be the founder. The presentation explained the various level of campaigning plus highlighted just a few examples how individuals had made their own stand. Starting with swimming and cycling, Dr Christophe Stockdale; Greek students in the courtyard of the British Museum singing, dancing, reciting poetry, Sofka Smales on Trafalgar’s Plinth; Mary Phillips and her memorable stand. Then there followed clips from a selection of BCRPM members and supporters speaking at the International London Colloquy in 2012, including Professor Judith Herrin,British archaeologist and academic of Late Antiquity, Professor Emerita of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at King's College London. Judith explained the tough job the BCRPM faced in the 80’s and 90’s praising Robert Browning and Eleni Cubitt. Judith went on to say that she continues to be a committed member to the cause would like to see both the British government and the British Museum face up to their responsibilities.

Christina Borg, literary Journalist and a member of BCRPM paying tribute to the late Christopher Hitchen's and his 2008 edition of The Parthenon Sculptures: A Case for Reunification, providing a very old cause with a new direction. The nub of the argument was that with the opening of the new Acropolis Museum (2009) the sculptures of the Parthenon must be seen as a unified whole, as part of a continuous narrative, in their original context. Christina emphasised that Hitchens deployed his extensive knowledge and reason to advance the Parthenon campaign. In his view Greece’s domestic and political position was irrelevant. This was a matter of principle.

Eddie O'Hara as Chairman of the BCRPM and Honorary President of Marbles Reunited, on BCRPM’s stand, immunised against the floodgates argument based on the story of the fragmented sculptures as unique. Eddie feels that there is no other example of a UNESCO world heritage fixed monument, so defaced and so ‘unreunified’, therefore to “reunify the Marbles would not open any floodgate because there is not a lot of precedent it could set. The onus is on those who do not support the reunification. And the beauty of literally reunited ‘other halves’, pieces of the same block, to be seen by the world in the Acropolis Museum, is the one place on earth where it is possible to have a single and aesthetic experience simultaneously of the Parthenon and its sculptures.”

Tom Flynn, art historian and BCRPM member, explained the concept of the Universal museum. He stated that the current display of the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum’s make a mockery of BM’s claim to coherent educational purpose. The contrast between the two galleries – London ad Athens - is enough to reduce anyone to tears. Museums will have to listen to what their public say and act upon it. He concluded that Neil MacGregor ought to do the right thing, cover himself in glory and reunite the marbles now.

Andrew Dismore, London Assembly Member, former Labour MP for Hendon, feels that arguments about ownership are sterile, dangerous and that a court case would put back the political and cultural case. He concluded that legislative change could be effected if there is the political will to do it.

George Bizos, also a BCRPM member and human rights advocate and author, highlighted how we are all involved in this campaign and whilst the MacGregor’s of this world and those that think like him, say ‘well Greece is in a sad state, they can’t do nothing’ –they don’t understand Greek history, the number of occasions Greece was practically burned down, but rose like a Phoenix…. And we are confident he said, ‘that it will happen again’.

Marlen Godwin concluded the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles presentation by saying:

“The background and history was shown not because we need to dwell on it but because it is important to know where the campaign to reunite the sculptures of the Parthenon has been so as to inform where the campaign goes in the future. We do need to recognise the current political dispensation in the United Kingdom and working within that, noting Britain's recent essays in Europe. There is no doubt that the armoury is full, every single and possible argument has been rehearsed and addressed, not least as we soak up the display of the sculptures, right here in the amazing Acropolis Museum - it is imperative that the focus of any campaign continues to harness the positive energy gathered over the decades from civil society and to find a way forward with legislative change. Key too is orchestrating the diverse voices from the many parts of the globe, all equally passionate for the cause. We thank the Marianna Vardinoyanni and her foundation and the Melina Mercouri Foundation for inviting us to speak and every success with this new campaign."

Fabrizio Micalizzi, Secretary of the Swiss Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, spoke about the reunification cause as a strong European concern. That a creative proposal would provide the British Museum and the Acropolis Museum, with a ‘win win’ situation for Parthenon Marbles.

ACROPOLIS  Aggelos Delivorrias 26.06.2014Aggelos Devorrias, Director of the Benaki Museum, also spoke mentioning Eleni Cubitt and Professor Anthony Snodgrass, past Chairman and Honorary President of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. He emphasised the cause, its supporters and the need to have Greece as firm player in the reunification campaign and congratulated the two foundation on organising today’s event and launch of a new campaign.

Illias Nikolakopoulos, Professor of Social Theory & Sociology, University of Athens had carried out pools and conducted a study amongst Greeks to gauge the level of information geographically, socially and within different age groups. Considering the perceptions of different socio-economic groups towards the Greek state, cultural foundations and the international media. This critical information gathering could be used to raise awareness of this cause and cultural mobility.

ACROPOLIS  Pavlos Tsimas 26.06.2014Rounding up an intense, yet creative day moderator Pavlos Tsimas, journalist and presenter,  thanked everyone that had attended and in particular Marianna Vardinoyannis, the Marianna Vadinoyannis Foundation and the Melina Mercouri Foundation for this initiative, the campaign: Return The Marbles Restore Parthenon Restart History. He remembered the emotional moment in 1993 when he interviewed for the last time, the late Melina Mercouri and how this interview continues to haunt him. The elation he felt when Professor Pandermalis opened the museum. His visit to Lord Elgin's home in Scotland, Cavafy's writing from Alexandria and more, stressing society's moral values; our obligation to maintain these values; garnering support for the cause in Greece and globally; and the launch of this new campaign.

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Greece launches campaign for restoration of Parthenon marbles






Sonia Theodoridou & Theodoros Orphanidis add their call for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures

A special performance by Sonia Theodoridou, conducted  by Theodoros Orphanidis, will take place this Sunday 08 June at 13:00 in the courtyard of an iconic church in London and is dedicated to the return of the fragmented Parthenon sculptures.

The late Melina Mercouri began a great campaign, which captured the interest of many. Amongst the interested in the early 80's was the founder of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, British architect James Cubitt. He met with Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin to suggest the creation of the BCRPM but sadly died after the committee was set up in 1982. His wife Eleni Cubitt, for decades continued to work tirelessly guided by some distinguished chairmen to communicate, educate and explain why a fragemened work of art deserved so much better.

In June 2009 this campaigning task was made effortless by the opening of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. A dream for many campaigners and although many had passed away before this significant date including the late Jules Dassin (who dies just a year before), for many more it was a great time to celebrate. 

The Melina Mercouri Foundation and many campaigners around the globe continue to promote the cause and are increasingly joined by many more sports personalities, scientists, actors and actresses, artists, writers, journalists and scholars. 

To a vast global community the notion of returning the Parthenon Marbles, a peerless work of art - in the superlative museum- the Acropolis Museum, makes complete, culture sense. 

All supporters and campaigners will continue to make their voices heard, until the day that these beautiful, fragmented sculptures, can be reunited in Athens.

In order to raise awareness of the issue, renowned Greek soprano Sonia Theodoridou and her husband, distinguished conductor Theodoros Orphanidis, will present a unique musical performance on Pentecost, Sunday June 8th. Sonia Theodoridou will be singing arias written and composed by Pandelis Pavlides with a small orchestra of 3 musicians and 5 actors, under the direction of Elda Panopoulou.


concert 08 June


This event will take place in the courtyard of  Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in London (Moscow Road, Bayswater, London W2 4LQ) immediately after the church service at 13.00 p.m. on Sunday 8 June 2014.

Although there is a huge amount of support for the return of the sculptures to Athens amongst the majority of British people, this specific performance aims to speak to the hearts of people who know that these kinds of cultural injustices can be put right.... and the sculptures deserve to be reunited.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend.

sophia church london pic

The Acropolis Restoration Project, Greece, 26 November 2013

The Acropolis Restoration Project, Greece

Sponsored by Department of Classics & Mediterranean Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

AIA Society Event: Chicago

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm

University of Illinois at Chicago, Daley Library, Room I-470
801 S. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

"The Acropolis Restoration Project, Greece"

Tasos TanoulasThe Propylaia Restoration Project

Although best known as a part of the Periclean building program on the Athenian Acropolis, the Propylaia played an important role in the later history of the city.  From the third century CE onward, it formed part of the defenses of the Acropolis, and a portion of the building was used as the residence of the Byzantine Metropolitan of Athens, later expanded into the palatial residences of the French and Florentine overlords of the city.  Severely damaged by a gunpowder explosion in 1640, the Propylaia was in a dilapidated state before it was restored in 1909-17 and again beginning in 1989. The latter project, directed by Dr. Tanoulas, just received the Europa Nostra prize for historic preservation.


Sinclair Bell
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For more information on this event please also visit the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport.

23 October 2013 , Athens, Greece 

Eddie O’ Hara, Chairman of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles






I am fortunate today to have available to me the best possible of visual aids to support the case which I shall put before you.  We are sitting in a museum, past winner of the Museum of the Year Award, the principal display of which is the very subject which I shall be presenting.  We also sit within sight of that subject, the Parthenon, whose surviving sculptural components – not adornments – components, are at issue.

THE PARTHENON MARBLES, known also as The Parthenon Sculptures, formerly but I am pleased to say no longer The Elgin Marbles, are the subject of one of the oldest and most passionate disputes over the return of cultural property.

THE BRITISH COMMITTEE FOR THE REUNIFICATION OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES has been campaigning for thirty years in support of the reunification of these marbles.  I pay tribute to Eleni Cubitt and her late husband James for their inspiration and initiative in establishing the committee, and the many distinguished academics, many now deceased, who have served the committee over that time.  Over the years similar groups have been established in other countries.  Now there are nearly 17 organisations on four continents, most of them affiliated to the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures. 

I must first present the background to the dispute.  This will be simply factual and descriptive – and brief.  It will not include analysis of the artistic merits of the Parthenon and its sculptures.  It will necessarily skate over some scholarly details.  I apologise for this to those with much knowledge of the subject if this is superficial.  My purpose is to spend as much of my time as possible on the dispute over reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.


The institution of European Cultural Capital talk by Mr Spyros Mercouris at Imperial College, London, 13 May 2013 18:30 pm

Eleni Cubitt speaking with Spyros Mercouris
Τhe Hellenic Society of Imperial College London invites you to the talk of Mr Spyros Mercouris: 'The institution of European Cultural Capital.'
Mr Spyros Mercouris is the co-founder of the institution, organizer of the first European Cultural Capital, Honorary President of European Cultural Capitals and Months Network, and brother of Melina Mercouri..., the minister of culture in Greece that induced the idea of European Cultural Capitals in the EU Commission.
Mr Mercouris is going to present the impact of the institution in Europe, its aims and the similarities of its evolution with the late European History.
Drinks reception in going to follow.  
The event is going to take place in LT 207 in Skempton Building (CivEng), South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, in 13th May 2013 at 18:30 pm.

18 April International Monuments and Sites Day 2013 join the event at the Nicholson Museum & historian and archaeologist Ben Churcher


Do the Monuments of Greece have Universal Values for All Humankind?


18 April 2013

A World Heritage listing is a sought-after accolade for a country but there is more to this listing than a sign at the front gate to a site. What does a World Heritage listing entail and what are the obligations on those countries holding World Heritage sites?

On International Monuments and Sites Day 2013 it is appropriate to examine how Greece contributes to the World Heritage List -administered by UNESCO and ICCOMOS- The International Council on Monuments and Sites) by examining some of the World Heritage sites listed, or in the process of being listed, within Greece. These sites vary from obvious inclusions such as the Parthenon, through to more obscure sites such as Mystras in the Peloponnese. The lecture will examine a number of these sites to explore what aspects elevate them from being of national Greek value to that of international value to all humankind.

Read more: 18 April International Monuments and Sites Day 2013 join the event at the Nicholson Museum &...

'The Parthenon [Elgin] Marbles - the Case for Reunification' - presentation by Eddie O'Hara at Oxford University 29 January 2013

On Tuesday 29th January 2013, Eddie O'Hara, Chairman for the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Mables (BCRPM) will be in Oxford, giving a presentation, 'The Parthenon [Elgin] Marbles - the Case for Reunification', to the Oxford University Classics Society at 15:30 pm.

This presentation is open to all and will take place in the 2nd floor lecture theatre of Radcliffe Humanities (formerly Radcliffe Infirmary). All those interested in classics, ancient Greece, or museology, should consider attending!


20 June 2012


Twelve hours of music in the Acropolis Museum

On Wednesday 20 June 2012, the Acropolis Museum will celebrate its third anniversary. The exhibition areas and restaurant will remain open from 8 am until midnight.On this occassion, admission will be reduced (3 euro) for all visitors.

From 11 am until 8 pm, visitors will be able to enjoy a great selection of music ensembles and distinguished soloists, performing ancient music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras as well as seperate works of the 20th century. These musical events have been organised by the Music Ensemble and the Third Programme of Greek Radio.

At 8:30 pm the ERT Choir will present Dodecanese musical works by G. Constantinides and excerpts from compositions by Javier Busto and Lajos Bardos, the conductor will be Dimitris Bouzanis. This will take place on the ground floor lobby of the museum in view of the Hekatompedos pediment.

At 9:30 pm, the ERT Contemporary Music Orchestra and the ERT Choir will perform works of Theodorakis, Hatzidakis, Papadimitriou and Xarchakos, conducted by Andreas Pylarinos. This will take place in the museum's entrance courtyard.

MissingSince1801 campaign launched at British Museum on third anniversary of the Acropolis Museum


LONDON 20 June 2012

The Acropolis Museum celebrated its third anniverary on Wednesday 20 June 2012. Members from three Committees - the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc. (ACRPS), and The International Organizing Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc. (IOC-A-RPM)  met at the British Museum to launch the 'MissingSince1801' campaign. This campaign was created by Konstantine Vaxevaneris, Creative Director of ACRPS.

George Bizos SC joined the protest with Krister Kumlin from the Swedish Committee and Dr Elena Korka.

The Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens - London debate 11 June 2012


The Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens - the IO2 debate took place on 11 June 2012 at Cadogan Hall in London.

As always in any debate on the plight of the fragmented Parthenon Sculptures, the vote to return the sculptures currently in the Parthenon Gallery of the British Museum to the join those in the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, was won by a majority vote. At last nights debate it was  384 for to 125 against.

Congratulations to all concerned!

In calling for the sculptures to be reunited in Athens, where they originated and where they still belong, we can put right a two hundred year old wrong. This magnanimous act on behalf of the British Museum would recognise that cultural diplomacy is alive and well and perhaps more importantly that in Britain we do appreciate that this peerless work of art is unnecessarily fragmented - mainly between two great museums, the British Museum in London and the Acropolis Museum in Athens.  BCRPM



Classics at the Hay Festival

Classics at the Hay Festival

Tom Holland and Paul Cartledge

The Greeks 1 - Herodotus

                                Event 302Thursday 7 June 2012, 9amVenue: Big Tent

The C5th BC Father of History, who pioneered the systems of ‘inquiry’, holds a mirror up to our own concerns about East and West. Herodotus has an almost modern fascination with the variety of human culture.
The first of 13 sessions exploring the wonders of Ancient Greece, as part of our commitment to Britain's Olympic year.