Clearly, religious heritage is in the spotlight this year! Ahead of the European Heritage Days, on September 16 and 17, 2023, the bishops of France launched, on September 12, their Estates General on the subject while the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, announced on Friday, September 15, a series of measures to specifically help “50,000 places where worship, whatever it may be, is practiced” and whose buildings are often in poor condition today. Around 3,000 of them are even in danger of ruin.
Based on the observation that “small towns cannot carry out work the amount of which is too large”, the Head of State who visited the collegiate church of Saumur-en-Auxois, a town of 4,500 inhabitants, in the company of the Minister of Culture Rima Abdul-Malak and Stéphane Bern, note that this feeds “a feeling of indignation on the part of the residents”. He therefore wishes to convert this emotion into “positive energy”.
A collection to save religious heritage
A major collection has therefore been launched, under the aegis of the Heritage Foundation, the objective of which is to collect “200 million euros in four years for buildings located in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants in mainland France, less of 20,000 Overseas.” Up to 1000 euros, the donation will be tax-free at 75% _ beyond that, it will be subject to the same conditions as other donations, tax-free at 66%. “This is what constitutes the State’s investment and this is how we proceeded with the collection in favor of Notre-Dame de Paris” insisted Emmanuel Macron.
Identify religious heritage
Furthermore, the State is committed to better inventorying religious heritage and enriching the protection lists (classification or registration on the list of Historic Monuments) which opens up public aid (approximately 40% of the cost of the work). Currently, only 10,500 religious buildings are protected as Historic Monuments. In particular, it is appropriate to classify more churches from the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century which have often been neglected.
Helping municipalities preserve their heritage
To help small municipalities, owners of places of worship prior to 1905, the Head of State also promised a simplification of files and engineering assistance, provided in each department by the Territories agency. Heritage is in fact a lever in the fight against rural desertification, through tourism, but also the local development of conservation-restoration professions, and the maintenance of community activity, whether around worship. or cultural projects…
Finally, he thanked not only the elected officials, but also “the associations and volunteers who bring these places to life”. The same people who apply for the Grand Prix Pèlerin du Patrimoine.