L’église Sainte Marie
THE ABANDONED CHURCH IN BELGIUM
L’église Sainte Marie is an abandoned church in Lodelinsart, a village in Wallonia. It was built in 1876 by architect Emile Ryez.
Lodelinsart is a section of the Belgian town of Charleroi within the Province of Hainaut. It was a municipality of its own before the merger of the municipalities in 1977.
The abandoned church was built in a neo-gothic style with a beautiful arched ceiling. This is why the church was also nicknamed ‘Eglise aux Mille Arches’. In 2012 works started to renovate this church. But when a side aisle collapsed, it became clear there were more problems with the building. Not much later, one of the arches split. The mayor had to close down the church, the parish had to find another building to host the Sunday services and other meetings.
For years, the church was rotting away, until demolition started early 2020. The City of Charleroi has initiated demolition to end the threat of the church collapsing. When the front of the church and the bell tower already were demolished, the Walloon Region suddenly sealed the place. In fact, the demolition permit was refused by the delegated official a few days before. Eventually everything was torn down.
I visited the L’église Sainte Marie in 2017. More abandoned churches in Belgium here, here and here.