ROMANIA – Iaşi synagogue on World Monuments Fund Watch List

The World Monuments Fund has placed the 17th century Great Synagogue in Iaşi, in northern Romania, on its 2014 Watch list of endangered cultural heritage sites, underscoring the threats to the historic building, the oldest synagogue in Romania and one of only two synagogues still standing in a  city that before World War II had more than 100. Originally built in 1670-1671, and rebuilt successively in 1761, 1822, 1863 because of fire and other devastation, it is listed as a historical monument.

via Iaşi Romania synagogue on World Monuments Fund Watch List | Jewish Heritage Europe.

Czech Republic – Synagogue building for sale

The former synagogue in Slavonice, a small town in the southern Czech Republic on the Austrian border, is for sale by the city — the sale is advertised on the town’s web site, which has a link to a real estate site with details.

The synagogue, with a simple facade marked by false pilasters, was built in 1895 and has long been used as a residential building, divided into apartments. Nothing remains of the original interior.

It is located in the heart of the town’s historic center, which features a  beautiful Renaissance arcaded square and other historic buildings. The real estate site lists the asking price for the synagogue as 1,290,000 Czech crowns (approx €49,000).

via Synagogue building for sale in CZ | Jewish Heritage Europe.

UK – Crossing the threshold: a community development approach to the use of church buildings

The guidance in this toolkit will be most useful to any congregation which wants to develop a new vision for their church, involving opening up their church building for wider community use and which may also include making physical changes to that building.

We hope it will help you:

•develop those parts of your church’s mission which are about community use and involvement.

•use your building to reconnect with your local community while also providing a sustainable future for your church as a place of worship.

•achieve the balance between conserving the historic fabric of your building/s and your mission and the desire to make your church more accessible and able to meet the needs of a 21st century place of worship.

•understand the process and the stages involved in getting a community-based, re-ordering project off the ground and through to completion

Download here


CANADA: Reuse of Quebec churches – a model for France?

Réaménager les édifices religieux en bibliothèques, en cantines populaires ou en salles de spectacle permet de sauvegarder le patrimoine et de conserver ces bâtiments à des usages publics.

Tous les vendredis, c’est l’attraction du quartier: le sous-sol de l’église Très-Saint-Rédempteur de Montréal accueille… des combats de lutte. Ce soir, une centaine de familles attendent devant le parvis de l’église pour assister au championnat Serge-Saumon organisé par l’ICW Wrestling, avec un très attendu combat Bulldozer vs. Spoiler.

via La reconversion des églises québecoises, un modèle pour la France? | Slate.

EUROPE – Can they teach us how to conserve our religious heritage?

This is the question that the project partners of ALTERheritage ask themselves, coming together from six European countries.











The project is an initiative of the European network for historic places of worship – Future for Religious Heritage (FRH). It kicked off with much excitement this week in Brussels, at the heart of Europe.

The partners will present guidelines, learning tools or methods that they are developing, and assess how the material can be adapted to different national circumstances. Funded by the EU Leonardo Programme, it will support academically well anchored, high quality tools that can build the capacity of vocational learning in the field across Europe.

The results will inform future production of new learning tools on religious heritage conservation, management and regeneration in Europe, in support of their widespread practicability. The European stakeholders include religious and governmental bodies, charities and businesses, and the sector needs a closer link between academic knowledge and vocational practice.

ALTERheritage aims to make existing material for vocational learning on religious heritage conservation and management available to a larger proportion of the sector in Europe. Europe’s religious heritage shares threats of under-use, but also problems with managing large numbers of tourists. The sector has much to gain from increased international and inter-sectorial exchange to find good-practice models for building the capacity of the practitioners.

Olivier de Rohan, President of FRH says:
“This project is the first of its kind in Europe, going beyond facilitating knowledge exchange to actually assessing its applicability. European practitioners need practicable solutions to shared problems with conserving religious heritage. Just as religion discriminates all borders, efforts to protect its heritage must also be international.”

The partners are:
Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) (Belgium)
Department of Conservation, University of Gothenburg (Sweden)
Media K Gmbh (Germany)
KU Leuven – Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (Belgium)
The Churches Conservation Trust (England)
Sociedad Regional de Cultura y Deporte, S. L. (Spain)
Museum Catharijneconvent (The Netherlands)

#ALTERheritage       #EUproject
More information.

“Movable Religious Heritage” Utrecht 2013


The tOpic


- SPEAKERs and presentations

- event Feedback

- photos

- Follow up report

To raise awareness of the threats facing Europe’s religious movable heritage and to share expertise and experience on the common challenges faced all over Europe, FRH, Museum Catharijneconvent and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands organised a seminar on movable religious heritage.

The seminar was held at Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht on 4 and 5 November 2013. One of the aims of the seminar was to form a network of experts in movable religious heritage, supported through the structural framework of the FRH Networking Group.

The event also hosted the second AGM of FRH, and the first thematic seminar of the ALTERheritage project.


There was a call for papers on the different legal frameworks for the protection of heritage interiors, launched the summer before the event.

Topics on the agenda of the seminar included:

- Re-use and deaccessioning of religious objects

- The relationship between building and interior, the importance of consistency in maintaining and protecting important movable and immovable heritage

- Assessing the cultural value of movable religious heritage, tools and methods

- Legal protection for interiors

The challenge of handing the displaced objects stems from the changing use of the buildings. There are many good and bad examples of extended and re-use in the Netherlands, and the program will include site visits to further explore some examples in the specific context of their movable religious heritage. It also included a special tour of the Museum Catharijneconvent collection.

Eriksson Kockum, Lotta, “Revision of legislation concerning the ecclesiastical cultural heritage in Sweden”

The Swedish government has asked The Swedish National Heritage Board to review and propose changes to the legislation concerning the ecclesiastical cultural heritage.

The church was built in 1958-60 and designed by architect Sigurd Lewerentz. Markuskyrkan, like many other modern church buildings is surrounded by a church site. A church site is one area that does not function as a cemetery, but belongs to the church building function and its environment. (Photo: Bengt A Lundberg 1998).

The church was built in 1958-60 and designed by architect Sigurd Lewerentz. Markuskyrkan, like many other modern church buildings is surrounded by a church site. A church site is one area that does not function as a cemetery, but belongs to the church building function and its environment. (Photo: Bengt A Lundberg 1998).

The Heritage Conservation Act includes protection of place names, ancient monuments, listed buildings, ecclesiastical cultural heritage, as well as the export and return of unlawfully removed cultural goods. The Act´s fourth chapter includes regulations concerning church buildings, church sites, ecclesiastical furnishings and cemeteries.

Church buildings built, and church sites established, before the end of 1939 may not be altered in any significant respect without permission from the County Administrative Board. Church buildings, for the purposes of the Act, are buildings consecrated for the rites of the Church of Sweden before 1 January 2000 and owned or managed by the Church of Sweden or any of its organizational parts on 1 January 2000.

In June 2013 the bill Diversity of the historic environment (2012/13:96) was approved by the Swedish Parliament. The Bill contains new national objectives for historic environment initiatives. It also includes amendments to The Heritage Conservation Act. Amendments relating to the ecclesiastical cultural heritage imply that the County Administrative Boards will take over responsibility from the Swedish National Heritage Board for certain decisions regarding more contemporary churches and cemeteries. Other amendments concerning the fourth chapter are mainly editorial.

Various stakeholders criticized the fourth chapter of the Heritage Conservation Act when the bill was referred to them. Criticism concerned subjects such as ambiguities in the interpretation of several concepts in the legislation. Another critique concerned how the protection of church buildings that are no longer owned by the Church of Sweden should be arranged. There was also a desire to review the possibility of abolish a protection under the fourth chapter of The Heritage Conservation Act.

In light of this critique, the government has assigned the Swedish National Heritage Board to review and, if deemed, propose changes to the legislation concerning the ecclesiastical cultural heritage.

The assignment should be carried out in consultation with the Swedish church, the County administrative Boards and other stakeholders and be reported on 30 September 2015.

Lotta Eriksson Kockum
Case Officer

Swedish National Heritage Board

BELGIUM – Call for Papers: “University Parishes / Universiteitspastoraal / Pastorale universitaire”

This is a Call for Papers for an international colloquium on University Parishes and Student Churches in Europe – Past and Present, A historical and comparative survey

The colloquium is a joint initiative of KADOC-KU Leuven and the University Parish of Leuven. It is scheduled to take place in Leuven (Belgium) on 19-22 March 2014.

In the call for papers you’ll find more information.

CYPRUS / NETHERLANDS – Looted religious art: An iconic moment

“BACK in March, I reported on a landmark German court verdict which brought a dose of reassuring balm to Cyprus, just as the pain of the island’s financial crisis was starting to throb. A judge in Munich affirmed that over 170 objects of religious art, looted from ancient places of worship after the island’s summer of war in 1974, should return to their proper owners, the churches of Cyprus. They had been languishing in a Bavarian police vault, amid arcane legal wrangles, since their recovery in a dramatic sting operation 16 years ago.

This week brought another step forward for countries that are trying to recover pieces of their religious and cultural heritage that have been grabbed as a result of war, occupation or anarchy.  Half a century after the conclusion of a UN convention against the looting and trafficking of art objects in occupied areas, and nearly two decades after the objects’ ownership was first disputed, the Dutch government has agreed to return to Cyprus four icons from the Antiphonitis church, a lovely medieval building in a fold of land overlooking the north coast of the island.”

via Looted religious art: An iconic moment | The Economist.

CZECH REPUBLIC – International Conference: “Via Benedictina”

 2-3 October 2013, VIA BENEDICTINA

The International Conference organised to mark the 800th anniversary of Benedictine Abbey in Broumov, Czech Republic is organised by the Centre of Medieval Studies at the Czech Academy, Charles Univeristy, Prague and Hradec Kralove University.

Two days of lectures and several site visits to the local churches will focus on the history of the Benedictine abbey and the Order in the region and will try to look at the role of the Benedictines in the wider socio-historical context.

For more information about the conference and the history of Benedictines in Broumov region please visit the website