A Brief History
On April 15, 2019, we have the sad duty to inform our readers that one of the great historical cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame in Paris, France, has been burning for the past few hours and is virtually destroyed. Built from 1163 to 1345, the Gothic Catholic cathedral is formally known in France as Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the most famous church buildings in the entire world, drawing 12 to 13 million visitors per year
While authorities have no comment on the possible cause of the massive blaze, there has been no indication of arson or foul play so far. The great church has been undergoing renovations and is surrounded by scaffolding and construction materials. Speculation that the renovation work somehow triggered the fire has been offered by commentators. Early police comments indicated the assumption that the fire began accidentally. No fatalities have been reported at the time of this article.
While the main walls are still standing, the roof has collapsed, and the fire is blazing unreachable by fire boats on the River Seine. Authorities expect the walls to collapse as the roof was an integral part of the structure, helping to keep the walls up, especially as the fire is blazing unabated.
Notre Dame has been the focus of many historical and cultural events, including the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and the setting for the famous Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which has also been adapted into film.
The tragic fire is even more bitter for Catholic Parisians since it has occurred during “Easter Week,” only 4 days before Good Friday and 6 days before Easter Sunday. The main spire, which has already fallen, once soared 300 feet above street level.
In the past we have carried several articles about tragic events that have taken place either at a religious site or event and have asked readers to comment on whether or not such tragedies signify some sort of religious meaning or if the events are merely coincidental.
Question for Students (and others): Does the media bombshell burning of Notre Dame signify any sort of displeasure with the Catholic Church by God, or is it just merely an accident with no special meaning?
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Charles Rivers Editors. Notre-Dame de Paris: The History and Legacy of France’s Most Famous Cathedral. CreateSpace, 2017.
Hugo, Victor. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1998.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by GodefroyParis of the view from across the river, to the east, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.