The day Notre-Dame de Paris burned down

It is nicknamed the forest of Notre-Dame because it took the equivalent of an entire forest to build it, 1300 oaks, or more than 21 hectares. The framework of Notre-Dame de Paris went up in smoke last night, Monday April 15, taking with it the thick lead roof under the dumbfounded eyes of hundreds of millions of people.

Un shock for Christians, a shock for all French people, a shock the wave of which has been felt internationally. The terrible images of the iconic cathedral in flames rocked the world. The most visited historical monument in Paris, whose construction took centuries of hard work, a jewel of Gothic architecture, witness to medieval faith and the most significant events in French history, was disfigured last night .

This morning, after hours of fighting, the massive fire is now contained. He left behind a disaster whose architectural, heritage, but also symbolic impact will make a mark in the history of the majestic cathedral, which is not at its first test. Never, however, has it been so heavily damaged in its structure.

Neither the French Revolution, nor the Great War, nor the bombardment of Paris in 1944 will have caused so much damage. It took 8 centuries and a "banal" renovation for an incident to occur - voluntary or not, the investigation will determine - which will end in disaster.

The fire allegedly broke out in the attic of Notre-Dame cathedral around 18:50 p.m., from scaffolding of the work in progress on the roof. "Two-thirds of the roof was devastated", according to General Jean-Claude Gallet, commander of the Paris fire brigade.

In the early morning, the 400 firefighters equipped with 18 fire hoses, some of which - the most powerful - directly supplied by water from the Seine taken from below by pump boats, managed to put an end to the terrible event.

The structure would apparently be saved but according to Laurent Nuñez speaking at a press conference shortly before 7 a.m. this morning:

“The danger of fire being removed, the subject is building: knowing how the structure will withstand the very serious fire that night. "

That night messages of support from leaders, intellectuals, artists and anonymous people around the world poured into social media. "We will rebuild this cathedral together," said President Macron as he stood at the foot of the building, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

The appeal was heard. The Arnault and Pinault families, two of the greatest fortunes in France, announced this morning 300 million euros in donations, in addition to the endowments of the Ile-de-France region and the city of Paris.

If Christians, and particularly Catholics, are the most hurt by the event, the vast majority of French people feel touched within it.

Because the history of the cathedral, to say the least rich and eventful, remains in the unconscious of every French. Built by the great builders in the midst of the expansion of Christianity in the Middle Ages, it knew the fervor of Louis IX and of several kings following him, before becoming in 1793, in full anti-Christian outburst of the French Revolution, a temple dedicated to the cult of Reason. It even became a warehouse for thousands of barrels of wine intended for revolutionaries. It regained its status as a place of worship in 1801 under Bonaparte, who was crowned emperor there by Pope Pius VII, three years later.

It is finally the work of Victor Hugo published in 1831, which will give birth to the appropriation and the enthusiasm of the French of all horizons for this sleeping giant. The famous story was decisive in arousing popular interest and finally giving rise to a renovation project, during which the famous spire will be built by Viollet-le-Duc, whose conflagration and fall upset the web last night.

With its 2000 celebrations per year, Notre-Dame is therefore part of the life of Christians, but also of that of the French as a whole. Patiently built, magnified, become a secular temple, looted, vandalized, but also restored many times, Notre-Dame de Paris has gone through monarchies and republics, revolutions and demonstrations, wars, bombings and stray bullets. The victory of 1918 and the liberation were celebrated there. Parisians now gather there during painful events, such as the terrible tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, or the day after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and again after the murderous race of Mohamed Merah.

Some will see in the conflagration of Notre-Dame a symbol of the dechristianization of French society. Others already speak of the judgment of God, or of a prophetic event announcing the decline of a whole country. Many prefer to cling to the hope of this cross standing at the back of the crypt, in the early morning of the fire.

Now is the time for meditation for witnesses, for the investigation for the police, for security for the firefighters, and for the planning of reconstruction for the authorities. But for Christians, it is time for prayer. Prayer for the nation, for the authorities, for security… In doing so, it is impossible to displease God or to wander in the heart of a hazardous analysis. For through him "kings reign, and princes rule what is just." Through him "rule the rulers, the great, all the judges of the earth" (Proverbs 8: 15-18).

“If my people, upon whom my name is called upon, humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and if they turn away from their evil ways, I will hear him from heaven, and forgive them their sin, and I will heal their land. . ”
2 Chronicles 7: 14


To rediscover Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, do not miss this article:

The construction of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral reconstructed in 3D

Discover the framework of Notre-Dame de Paris

The framework of Notre-Dame de Paris was put in place in 1220. It required 1300 oaks, which represents more than 21 hectares of forest. Some of the beams came from an older frame, made up of trees felled between 1160 and 1170. The spire was built by Viollet-le-Duc in 1859.



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