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PHOTO CONTEST 2023: Flora in churches

From 1 May to 17 September 2023, Eglises Ouvertes France is launching its second photo competition on the theme of flora in churches.

Flora can be found in churches, on their furnishings or in their architecture. These plants are charged with symbols that vary according to the period. They may be attributes of the saints or represent Eucharistic iconography, but above all they are biblical references. Symbols make visible what is impossible to write down and what is mysterious. To understand their meaning is to enter into the history of the place and the thinking of contemporaries, who used them to transmit knowledge.

Isn't the rose an image of the Virgin Mary? The white rose would be associated with the Virgin by its colour, a symbol of purity. The red rose, on the other hand, symbolises the Passion of Christ, the blood that flowed during his sacrifice. The rose becomes the cup that collects his blood. By extension, it is the symbol of all martyrs.

This photo competition is an opportunity to (re)discover this plant world with a fresh, contemporary perspective.

Inside or outside our buildings, floral arrangements are visible or lurk in nooks and crannies. You'll need to be attentive, creative and original to capture these representations in a photograph.

Saint-Maurice church in Lille, details of one of the stained glass windows (Lucie P.)

Church of Saint-Etienne in Saint-Mihiel, details of a side altar (Sandra L.)

Conditions of entry

The competition is free and open to all amateur photographers.

However, entrants must hold image rights and have the permission of the persons identifiable in the photograph.

Up to three entries per person are permitted.

It is necessary to respect the theme, i.e. flora in churches, which includes all plant iconography or groups of plant representations. Bouquets of fresh or artificial flowers are not accepted. 

Send, preferably, details of floral elements, or if you wish, a photograph of the entire work of art followed by a photograph of the detail you wish to show.

Photographs must be sent before Sunday 17 September 2023 by e-mail to :

For each photo, the e-mail will contain :

- the file in JPEG format named: name-first name-photo number. The photograph may not contain a border, watermark or signature.

- the date and location (town + name of the church)

- a 2-3 line commentary

- the entrant's first and last names

- the postal address and telephone number of the participant

- the subject line of the e-mail should read: "photo competition - first name - last name".

Entries that do not meet these criteria will be eliminated.

The Jury

The competition will be chaired by Gautier Mornas, director of the Sacred Art Department of the Conférence des Evêques de France

Details of the final composition of the jury will be announced shortly.

Church of Saint-Martin Arnèke, details of the pulpit (Lucie P.)

There are lots of prizes to be won!

Thirty photographs will be selected for a travelling photo exhibition.

The winners will be contacted in November 2023, and the results will be announced at the opening of the exhibition on 20 March 2024, the day of the spring equinox.

The travelling photo exhibition will then be offered free of charge to all members of the network who wish to display these works.

For further information 

Lucie Paciocco:

Translation DeepL

BINGO on flora in churches

Front page of the BINGO

Go in search of the flora in the churches you visit! 

Download and print the document below to take a closer look at the works of art and architecture. 

Circle the elements you find and then indicate the town and name of the building so you can remember and share your discoveries.

Translation: DeepL

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