Amidst the fire’s wreckage, much of the treasures of Notre Dame were saved.
While the damage to le Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris from Monday’s fire was very severe, not only the structure of the Cathedral, but many of the priceless, irreplaceable artifacts and relics contained within were preserved. In fact, it is remarkable, gratifying, and – I would maintain – miraculous, how much has been saved!
The roof and the spire are gone, of course (and the current plans to update the spire – rather than restoring it – are very concerning, to those of us who care about tradition, heritage, and aesthetics); but the treasures that remain include:
- The High Altar and its Cross:
“However, amidst the chaos, the cross suspended above the altar remains intact, “painful and luminous at the same time,” in the words of Fr. Grosjean, a priest of the diocese of Versailles.”
- Many statues, including three of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- The largest and most famous of the Cathedral’s four organs, dating back to the 13th century
- Incredibly, the Rose Windows and much of the Cathedral’s stained glass, including all or nearly all of its medieval stained glass
- Furthermore, all of the major Christian relics appear to have been saved:
“The tunic of St. Louis and the Crown of Thorns were saved, said Bishop Patrick Chauvet, rector of the cathedral, on Monday evening. Two other relics kept at Notre Dame, a piece of the Cross and a nail from the Passion, also escaped the flames, thanks to the work of the firefighters.”
- Even the rooster-shaped bronze reliquary that topped the Cathedral’s spiral survived both the inferno that consumed the spire, and the long fall that followed, and
“was found intact on Tuesday—damaged, but whole, according to Bishop Patrick Chauvet. The three relics that were miraculously saved within it are a piece of the Holy Crown of Thorns and relics of St. Denis and St. Genevieve, patrons of Paris.”
Follow the link for more details. But if this – both the fire itself, and what has by God’s grace survived it – is not an allegory for the times we are living in, and an inspiration to Christians concerned by the decline of Western Christendom, I do not know what is!