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Notre Dame survived wars, revolutions and neglect. Then fire came

Via RT…


The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris weathered over 850 years, enduring multiple wars, religious strife, anti-religious sentiment of the French Revolution and decades of neglect, before a rooftop blaze severely damaged it.

When King Louis VII of France sought to build a church on the central island of Paris, Bishop Maurice de Sully tore down the old basilica of St. Stephen and began construction of Our Lady of Paris in 1163. The high altar of the church was consecrated in 1182, but it took until 1345 for the cathedral itself to be consecrated as complete.

The church was adorned with many reliefs depicting Biblical stories, as well as statues of both Christian saints and its trademark gargoyles and other monsters. Some of the statues were damaged in the 16th century during the era of religious strife in France: clashes between Catholics and Protestant Huguenots claimed an estimated three million people lives between 1562 and 1598.

Notre Dame underwent extensive renovations and upgrades in the 18th century, during the reign of Louis XIV and Louis XV, replacing many of the original stained glass windows, rearranging the sanctuary and removing the spire.

Revolution and ‘Cult of Reason’

Following the 1789 French Revolution, the cathedral was looted and damaged. The republican government was officially atheist and rededicated the cathedral in 1794 to the Cult of Reason. Statues of biblical kings located on the western facade were beheaded, and much of the statuary was destroyed. The Virgin Mary was replaced on the altar by the Goddess of Liberty. One of the Great Bells of the southern tower – Marie – was taken down and melted, the other – Emmanuel – was spared. The cathedral was eventually turned into a warehouse.

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who came to Notre Dame’s rescue, restoring the cathedral to the Catholic Church in 1802. Two years later, he was crowned there as Emperor of the French.

1800s: Renewal and rebirth

Following the demise of Napoleon’s empire in 1815, France – and Notre Dame – lapsed into neglect and turmoil. The half-ruined cathedral languished for years until Victor Hugo wrote a novel about its hunchbacked bell-ringer (Notre-dame de Paris, or The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), published in 1831.

King Louis Philippe ordered the restoration of the church in 1848, and entrusted the task to architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The 25-year project saw the restoration of the spire and the re-creation of the stained glass windows. Artisans remade the original decorations if there were drawings or engravings to go on, and if not, created new ones that were considered fitting.

The result was a work of such beauty that when revolutionaries of the Paris Commune wanted to destroy the cathedral in 1871, several artists talked them out of it.

Modern times

Some of the medieval stained glass on Notre Dame was damaged during the Allied liberation of Paris in 1944, and was replaced by more modern, abstract designs. In 1963, eight centuries after its construction began,  the French government cleaned the facade of the cathedral and restored its original color. Another cleaning and restoration project started in 1991, focusing on the towers and the western facade.

By 2017, however, structural problems have piled up to the point where André Finot, the cathedral’s spokesperson, told the New York Times the situation was “spinning out of control.”

The French government has owned the church since 1905, and pays about €2 million a year for its upkeep. The Catholic Church, which has the rights to use the cathedral for religious purposes in perpetuity, has recently sought to raise tens of millions of euros for its renovation.

https://twitter.com/josephcurl/status/1117855709138432001

By 2018, some 12 million tourists a year were visiting the church – more than the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. While Notre Dame did not charge for general admission, tourists who wished to see the bell tower or the crypt would need to pay €8.50 or €6, respectively.

Comes the fire

The April 15 blaze reportedly began in the scaffolding surrounding the spire, quickly spreading to much of the cathedral’s roof. Some two thirds of the roof have caved in and the spire toppled over, causing further damage to Notre Dame’s interior.

The holy relics kept inside the church – including a piece of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns, kept there since 1238 – are reportedly safe, but much of the interior has been gutted. Finot told several news outlets that “everything is burning, nothing will remain but the frame.”

https://twitter.com/KoliaDelesalle/status/1117868188534919170

In the early hours of Tuesday, French firefighters said they might have managed to save the towers, however, leaving open the possibility that Notre Dame may rise from the ashes and be restored to its splendor once again.

“Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries,” Hugo wrote in his 1831 masterpiece. “Art often undergoes a transformation while they are pending… they proceed quietly in accordance with the transformed art. The new art takes the monument where it finds it, incrusts itself there, assimilates it to itself, develops it according to its fancy, and finishes it if it can.”

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Olivia KrothYou can call me ALTjoe7.62x54RGonzogal Recent comment authors
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Cudwieser
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Cudwieser

Alas these things happen and nothing of man will reign eternal, but here’s hoping Notre Dame will reign just a bit longer.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

President Putin has offered the French Government Russian help in rebuilding the destroyed parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Notre Dame is France’s historical symbol, an invaluable treasure of European and world culture, and one of Christianity’s most important shrines,” President Putin stressed in his telegram. “The catastrophe that occurred in Paris last night has pained the hearts of Russians,” the telegram reads. “President Putin hopes that it will be possible to rebuild the cathedral and offered to send the best Russian specialists with wide-ranging experience in restoring world cultural heritage monuments, including the works of medieval architecture,… Read more »

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

France has an old history and impact with Russia….”The first real manifestations of the influence of France in Russia date from Russia’s first political opening toward Europe, undertaken by Peter the Great (r. 1682–1725) and further advanced by Catherine II (r. 1762–1796). In the first instance, this influence was cultural. The adoption of the French language as the language of conversation and correspondence by the nobility encouraged access to French literature. The nobility’s preference for French governesses and tutors contributed to the spread of French culture and educational methods among the aristocracy. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the… Read more »

You can call me AL
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You can call me AL

As usual, President Putin shows great diplomatic skills and pure class.

With the Russian specialists, they have vast experience; just think how they helped or even undertook the restoration of Syria’s religious and historic sites.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Yes, and Russians are still at it, restoring Palmyra in Syria. I wonder why no crying happened when Palmyra was damaged. Lots of crying about Notre Dame de Paris, understandably. But where are the tears for beautiful ancient Palmyra?

Olivia Kroth
Guest

And where is the money from billionaires for the restoration of Palmyra? The French billionaires Arnault, Bettencourt, Pinault and others are giving millions for the reconstruction of Notre Dame de Paris. Shouldn’t they also give millions for the reconstruction of ancient Palmyra in Syria? It was destroyed by Nato’s proxy war, aka “Isis”. The French participated in it. Those donations of French billionaires are moreover tax deductible. They are giving their alms at the expense of the rest of the population in France, which has to pay regular taxes. In France, the richer people are, the less taxes they pay.… Read more »

Tjoe
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Tjoe

A treasure lost. It’s good so many got to see it’s splendor.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

It is far from lost, like a mighty oak it will rise from the ashes more beautiful and stronger.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

The roof and the spire are gone but the rest remained intact.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

Exactly.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

…. while major damage has been done to the ancient Unesco site of Palmyra in Syria. And nobody gives a damn.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

Of course the damage has been done, but the Russians and Syrians are piecing it back together again piece by piece.

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Maybe….but not a “restoration”. Saving key elements but with modern new construction gets my vote…which doesn’t matter at all

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

I shall go for that. Even the Brits have offered aged Oak that they will chop down and deliver. It is a great pity we cannot find out who, what and where the people are working to raise the Cathedral again; but it will be monumental once more.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

France grateful to Russia for offering specialists to rebuild Notre-Dame, says diplomat

Society & Culture April 22, 23:11 UTC+3

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. France is grateful to Russia for its proposal to send specialists to help rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral, French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann told TASS.

“We [in France] were touched by Russia’s offer to send specialists. We know that it has outstanding specialists, especially in the sphere of medieval architecture,” the diplomat said at the presentation of novels by French novelist Anatole France at the Vita Nova Publishing House.

More:
http://tass.com/society/1055055

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

The post-de Gaulle liberal and pro-NATO regimes have destroyed France from within.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Yes, very true! And France keeps spiralling downwards, as each so-called “president” is worse than the one before, especially the last three are “bad – worse – worst”: Sarkozy, Hollande, Macron. They are the three musketeers of warfare and destruction, greediness and servility to our “Big Brother Overseas”, who has his CIA main office in Paris, stretching its ugly tentacles all over France. It would not astonish me in the least, if I heard that they had to do with the burning of Notre Dame of Paris. Of course we will never hear such an outrageous piece of news. Truthful… Read more »

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