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

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.

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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.

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.”

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
Guest
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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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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