The sight of the Notre Dame Cathedral going up in flames was horrifying enough to move even the stoniest heart to sorrow.
Through the rubble, however, hope emerged — in the form of one miraculous photograph.
The first photos of the fire-ravaged cathedral began to emerge late Monday as the fire came under control. One widely circulated picture showed the interior of the church intact, including the altar and the cross.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 16, 2019
“The altar and its cross are preserved. It’s not as bad as I feared,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, according to the New York Post.
She added that there was still “a big hole in the roof.”
However, while the spire and roof collapsed, photos showed the nave and the pews mostly intact. The Associated Press reported that the cathedral’s organ — a famous 18th-century piece that’s made up of over 8,000 pipes — has also survived.
“The entire fire is out,” Paris firefighters’ spokesman Gabriel Plus said, according to the AP, saying that workers were “surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smoldering residues.”
“The task is — now the risk of fire has been put aside — about the building, how the structure will resist,” Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said.
The iconic French Gothic cathedral was begun in 1163 and completed in 1345, according to The New York Times.
“It was damaged and neglected in the 1790s, during the French Revolution. Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, ‘Notre-Dame of Paris,’ published in English as ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ informed readers about the building’s decrepit condition,” The Times noted.
“The book helped spur significant overhauls from 1844 to 1864, when the architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc redid the spire and flying buttresses.”
The first images from inside Notre Dame Cathedral have emerged. Striking photos show firefighters assessing the extensive damage caused by the catastrophic blaze. @YahooNews
— Tom Flanagan (@thomascflanagan) April 15, 2019
The centuries-old cathedral was actually built on the site of a church that had been destroyed by fire, the Times reported.
Unsurprisingly, the French have promised to rebuild.
“Notre Dame has survived the revolutionary history of France, and this happened during building works,” former Culture Minister Jack Lang said, according to the AP.
Indeed, the restoration work is considered a possible source of the fire at present.
Authorities have stressed they consider the event to be an accident.
“Notre Dame was destroyed but the soul of France was not,” Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said in a radio interview.
Now, two of the richest men in France have pledged over $300 million to help cover costs.
According to Fox News, Bernard Arnault — who owns luxury group LVMH — pledged $226 million, saying they wished to help save a “symbol of France, its heritage and its unity,” François-Henri Pinault, meanwhile, has pledged $113 million.
Now, despite a devastating fire during the holiest week in the Christian calendar, neither the Notre Dame Cathedral nor the spirit of the French people has been destroyed.
Those could be the biggest miracles of all.
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