Note of 2019 fire incident
The fire that destroyed two-thirds of the roof of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on 15 APRIL 2019 did more than damage a beloved historic landmark: It also endangered the vast collection of Christian relics and artwork housed both within the building and on its grounds.
One of the cathedral’s most precious treasures — a relic of the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ at the time of his crucifixion — was saved from the flames, according to the rector of the cathedral, Monsignor Patrick Chauvet.(media report )
But the condition of many of its other treasures — including sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows and liturgical art and relics — remained unclear, Chauvet said. He said the main threats to the artwork were fire, smoke damage and falling material like melted lead.
(media report )
Paris is not only a Gothic architecture masterpiece but a site which was also the focus of Catholic Paris for 700 years.
Although the cathedral is not France’s oldest or largest cathedral, it has very little completion in beauty and architectural harmony.
The work on the cathedral started in 1163 by Maurice de Sully, who was the bishop of Paris at the time.
It took 182 years to complete this building in the summer of 1345.
As Paris has changed, Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris) also changed and grown over the years trying to fit into the rapid changes Paris went through.
At some point, the cathedral was already scheduled for deconstruction. It was mostly due to the incredible popularity of the book Hunchback of Notre-Dame(by Victor Hugo’s) which restored the interest in the Gothic period
The cathedral was stayed untouched while eventually restoring its original glory. In the middle of the nineteenth century, after it was severely damaged during the French Revolution, the world famous Architect Viollet-le-Duc was placed in charge of the renovations.
The Notre Dame cathedral is practically huge, The interior alone is 425 feet long, 150 feet wide and 115 feet high. It can practically host 5000 worshippers at a given pray.
A CATHEDRAL’S PRINCIPAL ROLE
In the Catholic church, places of worship differ depending on their importance and their purpose.
The cathedral is the seat of a bishop, who leads a diocese.
It is, therefore, a crucial place of worship for Parisian Catholics, who gather there to attend daily Masses or to participate in the main liturgical celebrations of the Christian calendar.
Cathedrals are therefore always quite prestigious, comparable only with basilicas, which are generally built over the tomb of a saint and house important religious relics.
Notre Dame is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris; that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra (official chair) of the Archbishop of Paris, currently André Vingt-Trois.
The cathedral treasury is notable for its reliquary, which houses the purported crown of thorns, a fragment of the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails – all instruments of the Passion and a few of the most important first-class relics.