20:52 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Father Guillaume Soury-Lavergne walks in the Benedictine abbey of Marcilhac-sur-Cele, in the Lot gorges, southern France. (File)

    Extreme-Loving French Priest to Conquer a Mountain to Restore an Old Abbey

    © AFP 2019 / REMY GABALDA
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    After skydiving and scuba diving in Ressel cave, now French priest Guillaume Soury-Lavergne is preparing for a new challenge in order to raise funds for the restoration of an ancient abbey.

    The priest is a tireless representative of Abbey Marcilhac-sur-Célé in France. The abbey is more than a thousand years old. It is located in a small village with a population of just 200 people. For the past two years, Soury-Lavergne has devotedly tried to draw attention to the abbey and raise funds for its restoration.

    The abbot is an avid user of social media and has utilized it as a tool to attract attention to his cause. The 37-year-old priest is extreme sports lover and has combined this with his desire to restore the abbey. In 2015 he sky dived from 2500 meters and went diving in the famous Ressel cave to a depth of 250 meters.

    These daring feats brought people to start donating money to his cause.

    He has managed to collect 150,000 euros for the restoration of the abbey. However, Soury-Lavergne did not stop at that and now he is asking his social media followers to tell him what extreme sports they want to see him do in order to further raise funds for construction of a home for volunteers near the abbey.

    "I turned back to the Internet community, so they choose a new challenge for me. For the past two years we have been receiving hundreds of people in the summer, who come here to help rebuild the Abbey," La Parisien quoted the priest. "To offer them good living conditions, we launched a new campaign to raise 50,000 Euros using Credofunding.fr site to build a 300 square meter house in the area," he added.

    Talking about the new challenges that people have proposed to him, the priest said that he has been asked to climb a mountain next to the Abbey, invite Pope Francis to come to Marcilhac-sur-Célé, go rafting on the river Sele and go bungee jumping.

    Now the priest is waiting for people to vote and he will perform it in the summer.

    He noted that the two previous challenges raised huge interest in his cause, so it was necessary that the new challenge would be as good as the previous ones.

    The priest added that those people who are not so tech-savvy can send any cash donations via regular mail check.

    Talking about the house for the volunteers, Soury-Lavergne said that apart from the volunteers the house could also host actors who come to the festival Marcilhac des artistes, pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela and after a while maybe even monks.

    "When we started to restore the abbey idea of a monastic community did not leave my mind," the energetic abbot said.

    While the priest is waiting for his social media followers to decide the next task for him, local authorities have already responded positively to his initiative. Carole Delga, head of the Occitania region, announced that the administration will allocate between 3 and 4 million Euros for the restoration of the abbey.


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