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Germany: Altena, deconsecrated church of St. Paulus has been sold. It will become a residential centre

A Catholic parish in North Rhine-Westphalia has auctioned a church that has remained unused and vacant for 15 years. Last weekend, a married couple bought the deconsecrated Church of Sankt Paulus in Altena, desecrated by various activities. Since there were no other bidders at the auction apart from the couple who won it, the church was sold at the starting price of €99,000, the administrative director of the parish, Gabriele Müller-Seyfried, told the German Catholic News Agency KNA. Since 2005, shortly after the dissolution of the parish of Sankt Paulus, real estate brokers have unsuccessfully tried to sell the parish buildings, as well as the church and the parsonage, with 3,000 square meters of land, until the last auction. The couple that finally acquired Sankt Paulus would like to build a multifunctional residential centre. The Diocese of Essen, to which Altena belongs, still needs to approve the sale, but there should be no problems, since the buyers have already accepted the terms related to the final use of the former worship building. The Diocese of Essen approved the auction in spring. Some intended uses prohibited under the terms were, for instance, a video arcade or a brothel (an activity which is legal in Germany). The selling of the building to a non-Christian ideology or religious community was also prohibited.

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