What’s better than a famous face to raise awareness among the general public in a noble cause? While the community of Sénanque is facing a threat of collapse of the abbey church of the Thirteenth century, to the point of having to close it, she turned in desperation to the comedian Élie Semoun to get help.
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On www.senanque.fr you can see a short video of the comedian visibly turned from his home and urging viewers “to help monks in panic”. “The video is not very funny,” admits the comedian, “but she is not sad either. I would like to appeal to your good heart. The dome of the abbey is collapsing, the brothers have need of 800,000 euros, they don’t know how to do it. It is sublime and it deserves to be saved,” adds Semoun.
“We have no way to collect such a sum. Where our mail, sent as a bottle to the sea, Elie Semoun”
Funny hitch as brothers cistercians, isolated from the world, and a comedian, a jew known to the whole of Paris! This latter is however the place and have done two retreats, in 2016 and 2017 – two cures of silence, “no phone, no internet, but with steps, reading and even offices,” says Élie Semoun. Located in the Luberon, surrounded by lavender fields, the abbey of Sénanque is a haven of peace, inhabited by six brothers living the monastic tradition, according to the rule of Saint Benedict.
A year later, they are reminded of this “retired” is not like the others. “The chief architect has overview, to the opportunity to work everyday on the floor of the church, that it may collapse. If the State has promised to help us, we believe that we will need to raise € 800,000 to avoid the disaster,” says a leader of the monastic community. “However, we have no way to collect such a sum of money in the coming year. Where our mail, sent as a bottle to the sea, Elie Semoun”. It is this last that has proposed to post a little message of support, for the love of this place.
The dome threatens to collapse
The abbey belongs to the cistercian order and works with the sales revenue of lavender, to visits (400,000 per year) or donations. In 1974, the destruction of a chapel of the Nineteenth century, serving as a buttress, has begun to destabilize the church and the abbey adjoining. It took several decades to realize the domino effect on this heritage, religious and historical.
Without a heel counter, if it is a wall of concrete, the building has changed little by little, until the dome is now threatening to fall into ruin. For firefight, the community has applied a huge scaffold. “His hire represents 7,000 euros per month, and we will not go beyond ten months,” adds the manager, who indicates that the funding of the safeguarding campaign is at his expense.
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with Élie Semoun, the “buzz” has started. In two days, the video posted on the account Instagram, the comedian has already displayed 18.000 seen, and the one page of the abbey, 55.700.