The other morning the world faced some tragic news: the beautiful and historically significant Notre Dame Cathedral was ablaze.
Adding insult to injury, the fire sparked at the beginning of Holy Week, when Catholics from all over the world flock to Paris to pay tribute.
Notre Dame Cathedral has played a role in generations of family travel photos, it’s a must-see on the bucket list of many, not just Catholics but many other creeds as well.
Constructed in 1163 under the reign of King Louis VII, it’s one of the oldest churches in Paris, as well as France.
It is home to many artifacts that we could never reproduce, some etched in the stunning architecture, others tucked away in cabinets or set out on display. People come here every day to worship, just as they have for centuries.
This illustration of Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame famed from the 1996 Disney film, has gone viral. It utilizes popular culture to show the mourning and loss people are experiencing as a result of this event.
At the time of writing this, it is believed that the fire sparked as a result of the $12.5 million renovation the cathedral has been undergoing.
Prior to renovations, the cathedral was beginning to crumble. According to the BBC, actual cracks were appearing in the stone and many feared it would tumble in time.
It desperately needed repairs and so France launched an “urgent” campaign to raise the necessary funds.
The night before the fire erupted, many of the historic statues were removed by crane to make room for renovations. This is a blessing, if nothing else.
In addition, brave firefighters were able to remove many centuries-old artworks and relics from within the church.
Many photos are circulating on social media, documenting the heat of the fire and the tragic toll it took on the beautiful church…
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo expressed her loss for words and utter sorrow on Twitter saying: “to express the pain I feel in the face of the ravaging flames. Tonight Parisians and the French mourn this symbol of our common history.”
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The entire spire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France is on fire.pic.twitter.com/YpA7Im8Ri2
— Breaking News Feed (@pzf) April 15, 2019
As of now, officials are calling the blaze an accident, although, it is rather curious that ten Catholic churches in France have been vandalized in recent weeks.
The French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez has reported that it is too early to say the exact cause of the blaze. Paris prosecutors have launched a full investigation on the matter.
The epic 15-foot lead spire collapsed in the fire, as well as the roof. Meanwhile, firefighters rushed to save the cathedral from an all-out collapse.
The exterior damage is extensive and heartbreaking to look at. Although, we must see the sun through the clouds, and it’s a miracle that the inside of the historic church was spared from serious damage.
Only a small portion of the vault collapsed, other than that, the interior seems largely untouched.
When the first fire alarm sounded, it was already too late. The guards rushed to check the wooden framework, but the fire had sparked underneath it. Old wood from the 13 century burns rapidly.
This is (most likely) what is causing the fire to “run the roof” as seen in the first picture. The fire is essentially burning unchecked.
If it started high in the building, Paris Fire may be able to save the walls, but roof is basically surrounded at this point.
— Gregg Favre (@GreggFavre)
400 firefighters went to work fighting the fire, which proved to be a battle of biblical proportions.
“It is our common history that is burning,” said Emmanuel Macron when he arrived on the scene.
A fire of this size puts off extreme amounts of heat. Not to mention, there are many things to burn in a church.
“Little options for interrupting that. The chemical chain reaction is off to the races. That horse left the stable in the first five minutes,” wrote Gregg Favre on Twitter.
French President Macron has already vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame after the fire ripped through the 850-year-old Gothic building that stands as one of France’s most iconic monuments.
The blaze roared for over four hours on Monday evening before Macron was able to declare that the two bell towers and façade had been saved.
Sadly, flames brutally attacked the roof of the building, taking down the massive and beautifully detailed 15-foot spire in a cloud of spiraling smoke that sank hearts as it wafted across the French capital’s skyline.
So many miracles emerged from the ashes of the collapsed roof. For instance, a rooster that sat on top of a cross on the spire was discovered with only slight blemishes.
The Cathedral’s famous rose windows and organ were among many other artifacts spared by the flames.
Experts say it’s a miracle the walls of Notre Dame Cathedral are still standing.
“We will rebuild Notre-Dame because that’s what the French people want,” said Macron. “That’s what our history deserves, because that is our destiny.”