History lends plenty of hope for the resurrection of Notre Dame – Religion News Service

History lends plenty of hope for the resurrection of Notre Dame - Religion News Service
Millions in Notre-Dame Donations Pour In as France Focuses on Rebuilding
As Christians around the world observe Holy Week and focus their attention on Christ, one mother from Scotland said she could "see Jesus" in the fire that engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral Monday evening in a post on social media.

"I may be letting my mind play tricks on me here, folks take a close look at this picture and what do you see," Lesley Rowan, 38, wrote.

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"When I looked at this photo last night, I was really astounded by what I saw," Rowan told Scotland's Daily Record. "When I look at it I see a silhouette of Jesus. I really see a vivid image."

Rowan said she hopes it will "bring comfort to people in Paris and all over the world at this sad time."

Bells of French cathedrals ring in tribute to Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Cathedral caught on fire a little after closing time Monday evening, one day after Palm Sunday during Holy Week. The Catholic church burned for over 13 hours as onlookers posted videos and photos of the fire and smoke billowing from the Gothic cathedral. Dramatic footage showed Notre Dame's spire collapsing, but many relics were saved and no one was harmed during the catastrophic blaze.

Macron received some support for his lofty five-year restoration goal from his presidential cultural heritage envoy, Stephane Bern, who said it was realistic to reopen Notre Dame to the public in time for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. However, he did not indicate whether the reconstruction work would be completed by then.

PARIS — Days after a fire tore through Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France started on Wednesday to focus on reconstruction, with President Emmanuel Macron having set the ambitious goal of rebuilding the Gothic landmark within five years and donations pouring in from around the world.

An initial fire alert was sounded at 6:20 p.m., as a Mass was underway in the cathedral, but no fire was found. A second alarm went off at 6:43 p.m., and the blaze was discovered on the roof. No one was killed in the fire, after firefighters and church officials speedily evacuated those inside.

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Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said after a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the government would organize an international architecture competition to design a spire after Notre-Dames own collapsed in the fire on Monday and crashed through the cathedrals vaulted ceiling. But he said it remained uncertain whether the lost spire — which was added in the 19th century — would be replaced.

The man was taken into custody and brought to the Midtown North Station House, police said. It is too early to consider terrorism but “I think, if added to that the events at the iconic location of Notre Dame and all of the publicity around that, I think this is an indicator of something that would be very suspicious,” John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence & counterterrorism of the NYPD, said.

He added that the five-year goal to rebuild the cathedral was obviously an immense challenge, but also a historical responsibility.

Investigators said the man was cooperative but acted evasively and offered police inconsistent with some answers. He told officers that he was “cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue” and that "his car ran out of gas," police said. But when police checked the man's minivan, it's gas tank wasn't empty.

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The office of the presidency said in a statement later Wednesday that Mr. Macron was not opposed to a contemporary architectural gesture for rebuilding the spire.

The man, whose identity will be released once he is formally charged, was stopped by a cathedral security officer, New York City Police said. The man turned around, spilling some gasoline, and walked south onto Fifth Avenue and over to 50th street.

Individuals, companies and institutions have so far donated or pledged 845 million euros, about $950 million, to rebuild the damaged cathedral, which has stood for more than eight centuries. On Tuesday, the government set up an online portal pointing to four official organizations and foundations that are collecting donations.

A man was taken into custody in New York Wednesday night after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying two canisters of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and two butane lighters, authorities said.

Each euro that is given for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame will be used for that, and nothing else, Mr. Philippe said.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation. Officials said a "heavy police presence" was in the area of the church, which is located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

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Next week, the government is scheduled to present a bill to give the donation campaign a legal framework, which would ensure security and transparency, Mr. Philippe said. The legislation would also create tax deductions for French citizens who contribute less than €1,000 to the reconstruction effort.

While the inferno has been extinguished now, the effect its devastation will have on the French community will remain for months and years to come. The buildings restoration will not be an easy task (though perhaps not as difficult as some may imagine), and game publisher Ubisoft has decided to lend their aid in the form of a €500,000 donation.

Mr. Philippe also said that the relics and artwork that firefighters had scrambled to save from the fire were transferred to the Louvre museum from Paris City Hall, where emergency workers had placed them for safekeeping in the immediate aftermath of the fire. Paris firefighters also said artwork that remained in the cathedral appeared surprisingly well preserved.

One of Frances most popular national monuments, the Notre Dame Cathedral, was struck by tragedy this week when a massive fire erupted along the buildings roof. The exterior damage was significant, and the buildings middle spire eventually collapsed despite the best efforts of firefighters.

At 6:50 p.m. on Wednesday, cathedrals in France tolled their bells in honor of the burned cathedral, a calamity that has shocked much of the world. The Paris authorities also announced that a ceremony would be organized on Thursday, during which two large banners paying tribute to Notre-Dame and to those who fought to save it would be hung from City Hall, and excerpts from Victor Hugos Notre-Dame de Paris would be read.

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Investigators were questioning witnesses in order to determine the origin of the fire, which caused minor injuries to three people. Rémy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, said that the investigation would be long and complex, and on Wednesday his office said that forensic experts had started working on the site.

This donation will go to Paris restoration experts, and while it will likely be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money it will take to fully reinvigorate the Cathedral, its a nice gesture – not to mention a great way for Ubisoft to generate some positive PR.

But it was clear that little was in place to prevent the flames from coursing through the cathedrals attic, a lattice of ancient wooden beams underneath a lead-covered roof.

Firefighters said at a news conference on Wednesday that they had always known the lattice was at risk. Philippe Demay, a deputy fire chief who was among the first to arrive at the cathedral on Monday, said that firefighters knew perfectly well that if the roof caught fire, it was going to be very complicated to stop.

On 15 April, a fire broke out on the roof of Notre-Dame, in Paris, France. The iconic cathedral, which survived both World Wars largely unscathed, was severely damaged. Much of the 850-year old Gothic buildings roof and the historic spire were completely destroyed, but thankfully the main building was saved.

Mr. Demay said that he had arrived at the site in less than three minutes, as the area around the cathedral was bustling with thousands of tourists, and that he and his colleagues had to quickly trudge up the cathedrals narrow spiraling staircases with heavy equipment in tow — an exercise they had done many times before.

A restoration fund has been started, and to raise awareness for it, French video game publisher Ubisoft is giving away the PC copy of Assassins Creed Unity for a limited time, and has also pledged €500,000 ($565,000) towards repairs.

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Myriam Chudzinski, another firefighter, said that once they got to the top, it was clear that the flames had already spread.

The game is set in Paris during the French Revolution — which is when Notre-Dame last came this close to being destroyed — and the cathedral features prominently, which is why Ubisoft has chosen to give away this particular product.

On Wednesday, the police continued to block access to the cathedral and to the area around it on the Île de la Cité, one of the islands in the Seine that lie at the heart of Paris. Tourists and Parisians alike pressed against police barricades along the river, snapping pictures of the beloved symbol of the city, now roofless, and pointing to a cluster of firefighters atop one of the cathedrals towers.

The offer runs from April 17 to April 25, so if you want a copy of the game you will need to act fast.

Notre-Dame cathedral, one of the most recognizable structures in Paris, lost most its roof, large parts of its interior stone ceiling and some interior furnishings to the fire. Paris firefighters noted that the whole cathedral came close to being destroyed.

The New York Fire Department wrote on Twitter: “#FDNY Probationary Firefighters carry American and French flags in their final Spirit Run before graduation as a show of solidarity and support for @PompiersParis, who deployed 400 Firefighters to bravely battle the fire at Notre Dame earlier this week.”

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José Vaz de Matos, a firefighter who works with the Culture Ministry to help secure buildings and artwork, said that if the fire had reached the cathedrals towers and the wooden belfries inside them, a catastrophic chain reaction would have ensued because the towers help support the whole building.

New York probationary firefighters carried both American and French flags Wednesday during their final Spirit Run before their graduation in tribute to the firefighters who battled the horrible fire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday.

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If the fire had reached that wooden structure, the belfry was lost, Mr. Vaz de Matos said. And from the moment you lose the belfry, you lose the cathedral.

Firefighters acted as fast as they could to save the cathedral, an 850-year-old architectural treasure. Much of the main structure stayed intact, although the historic spire toppled in the flames.

Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the Paris fire brigade, said at the news conference on Wednesday that about 60 firefighters were still at the cathedral to monitor the structure and to help the police and building experts navigate the building.

No one was killed in the fire after firefighters and church officials speedily evacuated those inside.

Firefighters identified several remaining risks in the building, he said: the gables, which were no longer supported by the roofs woodwork and could be toppled by strong winds, and the metal scaffolding previously meant for renovation work, which was deformed by the fire and has to be removed. The vaulted stone ceiling was also covered with melted lead from the destroyed roof, he said, creating a potentially dangerous source of heat.

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Mr. Macrons plan to rebuild the cathedral within five years has prompted debate about how Notre-Dame should be restored — identical to its older self, with similar materials, or in a newer fashion, with modern techniques?

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Isabelle Backouche, a historian at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris who specializes in urban history, said in an interview that she would not be shocked if reconstruction were done according to modern plans.

Each era copies what was done before and at the same time adds its own inventions, she said, noting that parts of the cathedral — the world-famous chimeras, for instance — were 19th-century additions or renovations.


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