Italy. Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

By Mark McConville

 

EERIE images of abandoned churches across Europe have captured the demise of Christianity on the continent.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

The haunting pictures show once-bustling places of worship now lying empty and unloved with Mother Nature beginning to reclaim many of the buildings.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

Other incredible photographs show that some of the churches have retained their allure with beautiful painted ceilings and intricate marble designs.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

The striking shots were taken all over Europe by self-proclaimed ‘urban-obsessed’ photographer Roman Robroek (31), from Heerlen, the Netherlands.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

In this series, Roman has captured the beauty in abandoned buildings of religious worship and he believes each place tells their own story.

Poland.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Chapels and churches are among my favourite abandoned places to visit because of the secrecy of what’s going on ‘behind’ the altar,” he said.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Some of these buildings were a walk in the park to gain access. Everything was open and no-one was looking after it anymore.

Belgium.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Others were harder. The hardest one was where I had to climb over a high brick wall, crawl through a tiny hole and fight my way through the bushes while not trying to be seen by other people.”

Germany.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

A report, Europe’s Young Adults and Religion, produced by Professor Stephen Bullivant at St Mary’s University in London in March 2018 found that a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion.

Germany.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorise themselves as non-religious.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

The most religious country is Poland, where 17% of young adults define themselves as non-religious, followed by Lithuania with 25%.

Italy.
Roman Robroek / Universal Features / mediadrumimages.com

 

In the UK, only 7% of young adults identify as Anglican, fewer than the 10% who categorise themselves as Catholic. Young Muslims, at 6%, are on the brink of overtaking those who consider themselves part of the country’s established church.

 

 

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