Across Europe, hundreds of churches once filled with worship and song are now at the mercy of the elements. Many of the churches were neglected for years. But others look as if they have only recently been deserted, their painted walls still vibrant, their seats arranged as if awaiting the next congregation.
With religion’s role declining sharply on the continent in recent decades, the most promising outcome for many of these centuries-old structures is being reincarnated as residential or commercial properties.
Whether it’s a village church made obsolete by urbanization, or an old chapel succumbing to structural damage, the main cause of their closure is, invariably, a lack of funding, according to French photographer Francis Meslet.
He added, “This phenomenon is all the more paradoxical when we see what happened in France after the fire of Notre Dame and the incredible amount of money that was collected in a few days to restore it.”