Just turned on the TV, and The One Show were having a small feature in stolen Church relics, including pieces of stained glass windows, masonry and… Well just parts of old churches really…. But the prices! Some of these pieces would apparently go for £100,000+ at auction…..
This in itself isn’t that unexpected, but it got me to thinking about a conversation I had at Salisbury Cathedral on the prorportion of an economy’s or countrys wealth given to sustain their Religion. Think of all the Cathedrals, and Churches across Europe, or the temples in Asia. the money thats gone into them! some of these architects are today heralded as the greatest of their time, whereas the best architects of today wont be spending their time designing religious buildings. Skyscrapers, bridges, transport infrastructure, urban planning or stadiums are probably the most expensive public megaprojects today. Then there’s the other side of it, science, energy, water and aerospace projects, all costing billions.
This got me to thinking about recently built religious structures and their costs. Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, still unfinished, having started in 1884 is the only one that immediately jumped to mind. The ornate detail and otherworldly design is truly incredible, and when completed in 2026!!!!! It’ll be a job well done, finally completing Barcelona’s frustrated landscape. I can’t find much information online about the current funding for the cathedral. Though the budget for 2009 was £18 million…. This might suggest that the overall sum is well into the 100s of millions, maybe even a billion. There is probably a temple of some sorts that’s been built in the last 50 years that exceeds a billion… If anyone knows please let me know… I’m very interested.
Anyway the point of this post was the expense of religion. I guess it’s pretty specific to Christianity as I’m not clued up on any other really, though I’m open to learn! I just find it amazing that the megaprojects of our time are offices / luxury apartments / services, and science / energy / water projects. I believe it reflects the attitude as it has before.