How a village of 7 inhabitants mobilized hundreds of people to restore the altarpiece of its small church | National Catholic Register

A crowdfunding campaign through the Hispania Nostra Foundation has raised the funds needed to restore the 16th-century altarpiece threatened with ruin in a small village in northern Spain where only seven residents live year-round.

Terradillos de Sedano is a small group of houses in the valley of the San Antón river, in the province of Burgos, in northern Spain. Its few inhabitants had been waiting for years for the restoration of the altarpiece of the church dedicated to Saint Euphemia, a 4th-century martyr victim of the persecutions ordered by the Emperor Diocletian.

The villagers tried to raise funds through raffles and the sale of lottery tickets and calendars, but with the few funds they raised it would have taken “seven or eight years and the altarpiece could be lost” , Nieves Martínez, one of the promoters of the campaign. , told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news agency.

Last summer, a neighbor from a nearby town told them about the possibility of raising funds through the Hispania Nostra Foundation, created for the defense and promotion of Spain’s cultural and natural heritage.

The campaign to raise the nearly $30,000 needed to restore the splendor of the Plateresque Renaissance main altarpiece, in polychrome gilded wood, lasted nearly two months, from May to July, and was crowned with success, with the contribution of more than 400 donors.

Martínez explained that the restoration expert in charge of doing the work has already taken the first samples needed to assess the damage. “It is planned that in September or October the altarpiece will be dismantled and taken to the workshop,” she said, so that once again early next year it will adorn the apse beautifully. from the apse of the church.

Risk due to deterioration of the structure

The altarpiece is placed on the raised floor of the sanctuary. Its upper part represents a crucifixion scene with the images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint John, all crowned with the image of the Eternal Father on a pediment.

In the rest of the altarpiece, which contains the tabernacle, images of the Church Fathers, the four evangelists, Saint Roch, Saint Sebastian and two reliefs on the life and martyrdom of Saint Euphemia are depicted.

High humidity and temperature changes seriously affected the structure of the altarpiece. Technicians say many pieces are “completely dislocated from their original position” both due to the passage of time – more than 500 years old – and due to woodworm activity.

In addition, there are many breaks and missing parts, and there is a danger of the polychromy coming off.

All this will be repaired, but the residents are not satisfied. “We are very motivated,” said Martínez, announcing that they will continue to mobilize for the conservation of the artistic religious heritage of Terradillos de Sedano.

Although the church is not large, it has six other altarpieces from a nearby depopulated town that some villagers also want to repair.

The parishioners of Sainte-Euphémie who come every Sunday to the sound of the church bells to celebrate Mass will have to wait before this can be accomplished, but they know that for now the altarpiece of the high altar has been saved. .

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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