It is reported that the Vatican returned a small fragment of the Parthenon frieze to Athens yesterday, November 5 (Daniel Flynn, "Vatican lends Parthenon Marbles fragment to Greece", Reuters, November 5, 2008; press release). The piece comes from Slab V of the North Frieze and shows the head of one of the tray-bearers who proceed the men carrying hydriai (Slab VI, in Athens). It forms part of the collection of the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco (inv. 1014) in the Vatican. The fragment was presented to the Vatican in 1804 by the wife of R. Fagan, the British consul in Sicily and the Ionian Islands.
The loan of the fragment, one of three in the Vatican Museum's vast collection of antiquities, follows a request for its return by Greece's late Orthodox Archbishop Christopoulos at a meeting with Pope Benedict in 2006.The Hellenic Minister of Culture, Michalis Liapis, commented:
This is a very important event ... It should be an example to follow for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.This is in addition to the fragment returned from Palermo last month.