Acropolis Museum backs down in Parthenon video row


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2009 at 1:12 PM EDT

Greece's new Acropolis Museum on Tuesday said it will undo controversial editing of a video showing the Parthenon temple vandalised by early Christians in a row that has sparked complaints of Church-backed censorship.

The video will be restored after its maker, renowned French-Greek filmaker Costa-Gavras, said he meant to attach no blame to Christian priests for the destruction, museum director Dimitris Pantermalis said.

"Following this self-evident clarification which the museum accepts ... the information film will resume display," Pantermalis said in a statement.

The museum had excised a 12-second segment from the video showing robed figures hacking away sculptures from the iconic Parthenon when Christianity supplanted paganism in Greece after the fourth century AD.

The Acropolis Museum initially denied censoring Costa-Gavras, noting that the segment was cut "to avoid misunderstanding" as the circumstances of the Parthenon's transformation into a church are not fully known.

In statements to Greek TV station Mega, Costa-Gavras -- a well known director of politically inspired films -- had blamed the powerful Orthodox Church for the change.

"I think it's sad and unacceptable for Greece, a member of the European Union, that the state would bow to pressure from the Church," the Greek-born filmmaker had said.

The video on the Parthenon's history shown at the museum, which opened in June, casts light on an episode less known in Greece than other misfortunes that befell the monument in its 2,500-year-old history.

The marble temple was badly damaged during a Venetian siege in 1687 and a large number of the sculptures that survived were removed to London in the early 19th century on the orders of British diplomat Lord Elgin.

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