The world has been bemused by a devastating event that brought a nation to a standstill on a topic of national and international interest — a fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame in the religious week of Monday 15th April 2019, the day after Palm Sunday, six days before Easter Sunday.
The fire swept through the roof of the main building finding its way to the top of the Notre-Dame spire over the transept which collapsed around 20:00.
It left France in tears, in shock and in prayer.
Article written by Jonathan Fleming.
One of those important relics is the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ during the Passion before his crucifixion, an iconic symbols of christianity amongst others priceless valuables and sentiments, not to mention the cathedral itself, an 800 year old treasure of medieval architecture. The fire is said to have started on the roof where extensive renovation work was being carried out, the flames very quickly took hold to unleash the kind of damage that you just don’t want to see happening to a national or international treasure where important artifacts are housed.
More than 400 firefighters fought to save the building which took several hours to bring under control, however, it transpired that the two bell towers had been saved, although the roof completely collapsed. It is going to take a monumental effort to rebuild the cathedral’s damage in a timely manner as its original construction took around 200 years to complete.
The building stood for over 800 years through The Hundred Years' War, two world wars, a revolution and religious unrest, but in this modern age it was not strong enough to survive the ruinous hazard of fire, the flames of which took only one hour to wreak havoc and destruction.
The firefighters and their cranes struggled to reach the roof, but simply dowsing the medieval structure with water from the ground and/or air was not an option rescue experts said, because the building could collapse.
To tackle the flames inside the building firefighters had to climb up the towers as nothing else could reach.
Patrick Chauvet, Archpriest of Notre-Dame said he was very upset and that it was a national disaster to see the building fall to pieces and watch the spire fall down just as they were renovating it, and added, “all I can do is pray”. It seems his prayers were answered and the building’s main structure was not affected due to the heroic efforts of those brave firefighters, one of which was injured.
There were people in the building at the time the fire took hold, but everyone got out with no fatalities encountered.
Many irreplaceable items were lost like magnificent painting which were too big to take off the walls, cultural heritage and symbols of protection and hope, but during the unfolding of the fire, officials managed to get hordes of other important artifacts removed from the building and saved. Clearly hope prevailed.
The task now is to access the interior damage which contains woodwork dating back to the thirteenth century and any losses of centuries old treasures. Notre-Dame’ interior was previously damaged by fire two centuries ago through revolutionaries and was saved then. The fact that it has already been rebuild would indicate that it can be rebuilt and President Emmanuel Macron of France has said “we will rebuild”.
As a significant amount of the building was saved that rebuilding will be a reality.
Although this is not the only turmoil Notre-Dame has been through, it had also been a theatre of hubris; Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned emperor there and it is where Joan of Arc was Beatified 18 April 1909 by Pope Pius X. At the end of World War II, the bells were tolled on the hour of liberation.
Charity Needs Foundation had been promoting the cries and concerns of The Friends of Notre-Dame (a nonprofit organisation heading up awareness of the restoration needed) through our website at charityneeds.com. They have been campaigning for years to save the structure of the building and it is a shame that this event has undone the hard work they were doing. But then, God works in mysterious ways, and perhaps this was his cry that has ultimately made the world lookup and pay attention to its need.
The Friends of Notre-Dame had been trying to make the world aware of Notre-Dame’ worrisome state of preservation and its desperate need of attention.
While the recently restored western façade is radiant, the same could not be said of the rest of the building.
Maintenance work had been carried out, but it had not been sufficient enough to stop the spread of conservation problems; there is no part of the building untouched by irreparable loss of sculptural and decorative elements, let alone the alarming deterioration of structural elements.
For more specific details about the types of problems Notre-Dame has and is suffering, see the footnotes below.
You can help Charity Needs raise funds for Friends of Notre-Dame through this page to help them with the restoration of this iconic building and you can also help Charity Needs to promote and profile voluntary sector organisation worldwide which is what we are governed to do. Any funds raised by Charity Needs will be overseen by us so that you can clearly understand where this money goes in the restoration, but you can send direct to Friends of Notre-Dame which will not be monitored by Charity Needs.
There have been rows over money for Notre-Dame’ restoration prior to the fire, $140,000,000 was needed to complete the work, but only $40,000,000 was raised. You can see from that, that there had to be prioritised allocations and thus expected contracts had to lose out or wait until further funds were raised.
The only other way to overcome that would be to raise an army of skilled, semi-skilled and hard working volunteers that can give a regular amount of their time to get the work done, a pretty daunting prospect. Charity Needs, however, is no stranger to daunting prospects and projects and has been thinking of developing a database of such volunteers with a view to addressing such issues for charities around the world. Perhaps this is the time to implement that action where we can also establish a national and international volunteers week. We’ll be bringing this proposal to you in a separate article, so stay tuned by following us on Twitter @CharityNeeds.
Just before going to press, news came in that the Pinot family offered President Macron a single donation of €100,000,000 only hours after the height of the fire and before the flames were fully extinguished. Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault said he and his father françois will release funds of €100 million to participate in the efforts necessary to complete the restoration of the Cathedral.
A further donation later came in from French luxury and cosmetics group L’Oreal, along with the Bettencourt Meyers family and the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, saying they would donate €200 million ($226 million) in total for repairs to the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Joy, we can all raise a little smile, just a little, but your efforts will still be needed so help where you can.
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Head/Cover picture by: Kainaz Amaria, Jen Kirby, and Jennifer Williams for Vox.com (18 more images can be found in their article: Vox Article)
Head/Cover image description: A devastating vision of the moment that the spire of Notre-Dame was about to collapse.
Article written by: Jonathan Fleming
Article edited by: Charity Needs Foundation
Article Length: Words count is 1226 from 7115 characters
Released — 16-04-2019 @ 09:29
Modified — 16-04-2019 @ 14:28 — Added €200 million donation
Modified — 17-04-2019 @ 18:29 — Added link to The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation in footnotes
Modified — 30-04-2020 @ 17:30 — Added new head image
In a cross-shaped church, either of the two parts forming the arms of the cross shape, projecting at right angles from the nave.
Pinnacles (needed restoration):
Gargoyles (needed restoration):
Damaged Stonework (needed restoration):
Stained Glass Windows (needed restoration):
The Flying Buttress (needed restoration):
The Spire (needed restoration):
http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/friends/the-spire/, on this page you can see the poor state that the spire was already in before the restoration work commenced.
Video — Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is falling apart:
Video — Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris (a history):
Video — Standing the test of time: Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris:
Windsor Castle suffered a devastating fire apparently due to restoration works, as did Glasgow School of Art, the Cutty Sark, York Minster and Alexandra Palace. That’s just a few in the UK. It seems to be a trend that needs to be taken notice of, more attention should be appointed to fire hazard overseers on sites undergoing restoration.
The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation:
Our Governance — https://www.fondationbs.org/en/foundation/our-governance
Charity Needs Website:
charityneeds.com Charity Needs Foundation is a fully registered charity that promotes, markets and profiles the campaigns and needs of voluntary sector organisations worldwide. We help to raise awareness and funding.