Greece’s Ministry of Culture has commenced an official investigation into acts of vandalism that took place at the Byzantine and Christian Museum on July 28.
According to the Ministry’s statement which assures that there was “no irreparable damage to exhibits”, two people are seen walking through the halls of permanent and rotating exhibits” spraying an oil-based liquid on exhibition objects, glass cases, walls and the floor.
The Ministry said that the two perpetrators “did not cause any irreparable damage to ancient objects, which have almost all been cleaned by now,” while an official police inquiry is underway to identify the culprits following the museum and ministry’s initiative.
Museum Director Ekaterini Delaporta told Greek news agency ANA that “conservators undertook all analyses immediately and took all necessary measures” to restore “to a great degree the damage.” However, she added, “the damage to the building itself needs to be rectified because the walls and floors of the museum’s interior are sprayed with oil.”
Delaporta confirmed that a Coptic cross dating to the 6th century AD sustained damage that may not be entirely reversible, as it is made of wood and it absorbed the oil. The investigation now rests with the ministry and the police, “who have taken over the case.”