Notre Dame, Paris’s most beloved religious and cultural icon, has been almost entirely destroyed by a fire that started on Monday.

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.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Yaya says:

    I am in tears.

  2. Avatar Anthony Fisher says:

    Thank you for posting this. Definitely need to keep Paris in our prayers.

    One note (and it is actually a really cool thing that only shows up in French), but the French Ave ends just a little bit differently than every other language. “Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu, priez pour nous pauvres pécheurs…” Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us poor sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Not sure when pauvres was added (or if the official translation has changed recently like the Notre Pere) but it is the way it is commonly said.

    Thanks for all that you guys do!
    Sainte Marie, Mère de France, priez pour Paris!

    • Avatar Anthony Fisher says:

      I did more research. Apparently there are two French translations of the Ave running around–the Liturgical/Traditional Ave (uses vous [formal “You”] and adds the word pauvres) and what is pejoratively called the “version moderniste” (because it uses the familiar conjugations–Réjouis-toi, Marie, comblée de grâce…Rejoice/Joy to you, Marie, fulfilled/satisfied with grace…)

      I definitely understand the desire to keep with traditional translations of our prayers–we’ve literally been praying that way for centuries (ex: when I was an Episcopalian, though there are two translations of the Our Father in Rite II of the BCP, we would never pray the modern translation), and that is a really cool little tradition in French culture (pray for us poor sinners!), but oy vey…it seems at least some of France must be infected with the RadTrad heresy as well…

      • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

        Thanks, Anthony. I am not certain how much time (if any) Joe spends in the comboxes, but my guess is that he probably copied and pasted it in there.

        Fwiw, growing up Catholic, I was sometimes taught the Hail Mary with “you” and “your” instead in Catholic school instead of thee, thou, and thy. It never caught on in the English-speaking world, though.

        They never attempted to alter the Our Father, but it remains to be seen if the modern (but better, in my opinion) version of the “Glory Be” will be retained in the new English translation of the Liturgy of the Hours, or if they will revert back to the popular version.

  3. Avatar Jane says:

    I am so very heartbroken. I felt the same a few years ago when dozens of irreplacable Catholic churches and artifacts that were 1000 or more years old, were destroyed by ISIS. But, I thought then, as I do now, that all will be destroyed eventually, but in the end, as long as He remains, all is well.

  4. Avatar Andreas says:

    Terrible and devastating – a lot of atheists and agnostics suddenly got a glimpse of what they believe in – nothing. Everyone is heartbroken and Facebook is boiling over…but let us not forget that for us the church is made up of living stones, not historic buildings made of cold and lifeless bricks.

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