Pope Francis met with Peru's Minister of Foreign Affairs, César Landa Arroyo. The Vatican signed an agreement to return three Peruvian mummies dating from pre-Hispanic civilizations. Anima Mundi Ethnological Museum, is a section of the Vatican Museums that preserves thousands of prehistoric remains, dating back more than two million years, from all over the world.
On Monday, 17 October, the President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, Cardinal Fernando Vérgez signed an agreement with Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affair, César Rodrigo Landa Arroyo formalizing the repatriation. According to a statement from the Vatican Museums, these historical artifacts will be studied in order to determine the period of origin of the mummies. However, it is known that they were found at an altitude of three thousand metres in the Peruvian Andes, along the course of the Ucayali River, a tributary of the Amazon.
As Minister Landa explained in a meeting with the press following his audience with the Pope, the agreement completed achieved on Monday reflects the shared feeling that, more than objects, they are the remains of human beings that should be appreciated in the place from which they came. The mummies were loaned for the Universal Exhibition of 1925, after which they remained in the museums. The situation became known several years ago, according to the Minister, and the Vatican’s willingness to return them was made concrete during the pontificate of Pope Francis.
Mr. Landa said he appreciated the Popes’ “magnanimous gesture” in desiring to receive him. “The relationship between the Peruvian State and the Church is growing stronger because Peru is a country with a great faith, founded on the cultural, religious, and ethical contribution of the Catholic Church, which allows it to face challenges and turbulent times, always seeking the best, which is the common good,” said Mr. Landa.
He also expressed his hopes and prayers for the improvement of the socio-political situation in Peru. “After the international conflicts and the pandemic, social gaps have opened up,” the Minister noted, saying he considered that this context calls for the government and the opposition to work together to guarantee basic needs.
In the conversation with the Pope, they also discussed the importance of strengthening the links that are maintained at a high level in terms of support for the Church’s social work, and its efforts in the fields of education and health. “We will continue to talk to see concrete ways of strengthening the efforts of the Church and the State,” concluded Mr. Landa.
Source: Vatican News with Screenshot