BY SCO Admin | September 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

17 Italian_Chapel_orkney

Italian Chapel to appoint full-time custodians

Changes to cope with increasing visitor numbers at the Orkney chapel built by Italian prisoners of war will include admission charges

The Italian Chapel in Orkney is to appoint full-time custodians to manage an increasing number of visitors and help improve security, and to begin charging for admission to cover the costs.

Italian POWs built the popular tourist destination on the island of Lamb Holm during the Second World War. Last year, the chapel, constructed from Nissan huts, marked its 70th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, and Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti. Pope Francis sent a blessing to be read out at the Mass in which he called the chapel a ‘sign of peace and reconciliation.’

Visitors to the chapel will now be charged an entrance fee to help with staff costs and refurbishment. In recent years vandals have targeted the chapel and three hand-carved wooden Stations of the Cross were stolen from the church last year.

“Over the past year in particular, we have seen unprecedented numbers of people visiting the chapel and the preservation committee is deeply concerned over the impact this is having on the delicate fabric of the building,” Gary Gibson, Italian Chapel Preservation Committee chairman, said. “Maintaining and restoring the internal decoration of the chapel has been an on-going process, but the deterioration is now visibly accelerating because of the large volume of people entering the building at the same time.”

Mr Gibson said an admission charge was the only way to pay for custodians and that any extra funds would be put back into preserving the chapel.

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