The Latvian State Inspection for Heritage Protection (VPKAI) has launched a funding programme for the current year 2018 – the European Year of Cultural Heritage – aimed at the restoration and preservation of sacred monuments. The €1 million funding will go to 28 churches, ten of them Catholic. “Look at Riga’s profile, it would be flat and uninteresting without sacred heritage”, said VPKAI head Juris Dambis, as he presented today in Riga, together with the leaders of the Christian Churches, the programme that marks the beginning of a “new era in the funding of sacred heritage”. Archbishop Zbigniew Stankevičs of Riga expressed “deep gratitude” for the programme which “shows the country’s desire to consolidate the values” on which our society is based and “the sense of beauty, sacredness and holiness in our society”. According to Lutheran Archbishop Janis Vanags, the restoration of Riga Cathedral is certainly important from a touristic point of view, “but there are also many other exceptionally beautiful churches in Latvia”, in the countryside, where people “selflessly and heroically struggle to preserve their heritage”. “We estimate that it would take €4 million per year”, to preserve the sacred heritage. The churches, however, also have “great social value”, Anglican Bishop Jaan Jēruma-Greenberg stressed, because their events are “open to all, not just to believers”.