Stéphane Bern is spreading : it is the turn of Elie Semoun to mobilize to save one of the jewels of the cistercian patrimony in Provence, the abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque, nestled near Gordes in the midst of the lavender fields. The comedian has released a video, aired on the site of the abbey, to support an appeal for donations to renovate the faster the church which is in danger of collapse. “Some of you might be familiar with this abbey,” says Élie Semoun in his message. It is inhabited by monks, brothers, and they appealed to me because they are completely in panic, the dome of the abbey is collapsing, they need to 800 000 euros, they don’t know how to do it. Therefore, I appeal to your good heart, you will make a really good action… The abbey of Sénanque, it is sublime, it deserves to be saved ! “

Cures silence

The monks and Elie Semoun have met during several trips to the comedian in this sacred site of the Luberon, in 2016 and 2017. Two cures of silence, “without the telephone or the Internet, but with steps, reading and even offices,” says the artist in The Figaro . It is therefore only natural that the brothers have appealed to him to try to alert public opinion to the serious threat that weighs on the abbey church, now closed to the public. Concretely, the vault of the nave is in stability limit and could collapse. “Structural disorders important threaten the building,” explains the site of the monument. This dramatic situation has worried experts who fear the loss of the church. “For a long time, it has been consolidated on the East by a hill, and then a chapel, destroyed in the 1970s. It is therefore necessary to more quickly build buttresses on the wall to consolidate the church and to avoid the collapse. A shoring plan has been put in place while waiting to begin work.

On an estimated budget of € 1.2 million, the Drac and the county council take in charge of 400 000 euros, the rest being the responsibility of the monastic community, a sum far short of its resources, which mainly consist of entry tickets and the sale of produce; monastic. Already, the mp for Vaucluse Julien Aubert has alerted the ministry of Culture on the urgency of the situation. The call of Elijah Semoun should give a little more visibility to the monks of the abbey, who do not rely only on prayer to save their walls, centuries-old…


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