The 856-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the most beloved Catholic cathedrals in the world and home to many iconic relics, such as the crown of thorns and two nails used in the crucifixion of Christ, caught fire on Monday. While the cause is currently unknown, it is thought to be a result of ongoing renovations. A spokesman for the Cathedral said that the interior is entirely engulfed in flames. Onlookers watched in horror as the Cathedral’s famous spire succumbed to the fire and collapsed.
Paris has stood in shock as arguably its most beloved cultural site erupted into flames which firefighters have struggled to control. Notre Dame is esteemed throughout the world for its religious and historical significance, and world leaders have poured out their condolences to the French people in the wake of what can only be called a terrible tragedy.
While it is currently unclear which of the Cathedral’s contents have survived, reports are circulating that the Blessed Sacrament, the crown of thorns, and various sacred art have been rescued. The Cathedral’s famous statues had been removed prior to the fire in preparation for the renovations. As of this writing, firefighters have yet to bring the blaze under control.
Sainte Marie, Mčre de Dieu, priez pour nous pécheurs, maintenant, et ŕ l’heure de notre mort!
UPDATE: (5:30 PM EST)
A French fire official is now saying that the Cathedral has been saved from “total destruction.”
Nearby homes have been evacuated as a precaution and at least one fireman has been seriously injured. Currently, firefighters are working to save the artwork at the back of the cathedral and keep the northern tower from falling.
While Notre Dame seems to be safe from being completely destroyed, the damage done to the structure is quite serious. It is unknown how much of the Cathedral or its contents will survive.
So far, there have been zero confirmed deaths as a result of the blaze. The cause of the fire remains unknown and the Paris Prosecutor’s office has launched an official investigation.