Future for Religious Heritage announces new President

Pilar Bahamonde
Pilar Bahamonde. Image: Future for Religious Heritage

On October 22nd, during FRH’s Annual General Meeting, Pilar Bahamonde was elected as the new President of the Council of Future for Religious Heritage (FRH).

Founded in 2010, FRH is a non-faith, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the safeguarding and promoting of Europe’s rich religious heritage.

A dedicated advocate to the protection of religious heritage, Pilar has stated the following view: “Europe is made up of many local heritages, both tangible and intangible;  architectural religious heritage, spread all through the continent, is the most important physical marker of them all. It reminds us of the richness of our culture and of our European roots and identity. In a constantly evolving society, religious buildings are unique repositories of art and history. They are resourceful spaces for a sustainable development and quality of life.”

Europe’s landscape is dotted with beautiful markers of religious architecture

Pilar Bahamonde

Pilar is the director of the Centre of Studies of Liébana, an institution belonging to the Regional Education, Culture and Sport Society of the Government of Cantabria, and has vast experience in all tasks connected with cultural tourism in rural areas. She is specifically dedicated to the preservation and promotion of tangible and intangible religious heritage, focusing on pilgrimage. On the importance of pilgrimage, she is quoted as saying: “Europe’s landscape is dotted with beautiful markers of religious architecture, from magnificent urban cathedrals, synagogues and mosques to the humblest hermitages in the most remote places such as mountains, valleys, coasts and islands. Pilgrimage is the intangible heritage thread that links those buildings, and links us all, sinking in the roots of Europe.”

A member of FRH since 2012, Pilar believes that it is important to raise awareness of Europe’s shared cultural heritage. She says that “FRH works diligently to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of understanding European commonalities and values anchored in our diverse religious cultural heritage. We enrich the meaning of the word “culture” by thinking of all that it consists of: buildings, symbols, pieces of art, music, manuscripts, craftsmanship, and vocabulary. It is our task to preserve it and pass it on to the new generations to come, and for us to educate them about our own diverse European culture and identity.”

As the only Europewide network of museums, heritage organisations, experts in the field, and university institutions working to safeguard Europe’s religious heritage. Pilar has explained the role of FRH and her goals as president in the following way: “Under the umbrella of FRH, numerous and diverse members from all corners of Europe are speaking with one voice, the voice of Heritage. New members are continuing to join. I consider interdisciplinary cooperation and sharing knowledge vital to help preserve and hand over this remarkable historical heritage loaded with culture to future generations. As the new President of FRH, together with my colleagues, I will work closely to harness all our efforts to continue to grow a strong and diverse network.”

The elections on October 22nd also saw the end of the terms of FRH’s former president as well as four members of the council. “I would like to pay tribute to the retiring President Michael Hoare, who has done so much to benefit religious heritage over the past 10 years. My thanks also go to all the other outgoing Council members, Lilian Grootswagers, Thomas Coomans, Gianna Lia Cogliandro, Robert Chatin, and Olivier de Rohan” says Pilar.

In addition to the election of the president, three members were elected to the council, these were: Justin Kroesen, Andrea Longhi, and Henrik Lindblad.

Source: press release Future for Religious Heritage (FRH).

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