Module 01: Introduction Module
Jordi Mallarach, Angela Ivanova, Wolfgang Kniejski
SKIVRE - ‘Skills Development for the Valorisation of European Religious Heritage’ is a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The project began in September 2018, with a total duration of 24 months and the following outcomes: an interactive digital learning platform, a multilingual training scheme, a merchandising handbook for monastic products and a publication of the historic crafts of monasteries and their potential for social enterprise for rural populations. The aim of the project is to provide a training scheme targeting the management, staff, monks and nuns of European monasteries and monastery shops in a committed and responsible way.
The training is geared towards providing tools for the development and sales of high-quality monastic products, with the goal of raising finances for the preservation of religious heritage sites. Nevertheless, production and product sales is a business for a monastery, and monasteries have to find the trade-off to make sure that this business does not overwhelm the core purposes of the monastery.
Monasticism has existed for thousands of years, a form of contemplative life present in several religious traditions, such as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.
As an initial reflection, it is important to note that, while mercantilism has often been frowned upon by some monastic orders, whose main purpose is to lead a contemplative and religious life, the selling of products for sustenance or to fund monastic activities has been widely accepted and practiced for a long time. Often, monastic products become part of the ‘soul’ of monastic life, closely integrated into their everyday routines.
Through a survey responded to by 20 European monasteries – Catholic. Orthodox, and Protestant, we detected the need to improve the sales and appreciation of monastic products. All income that monasteries earn from their activities support the sustainable development of the buildings and monastic life.