Key Ring from Notre Dame
|Notre Dame, 15th April, 2019|
By a miracle (I don't use the word lightly) although the roof was gone and the spire fallen, the hundreds of brave firefighters had prevented the fire from consuming the cathedral's main structure and the iconic twin bell towers still stood.
It is too early to know what caused this to happen, even to assess the true extent of the damage, but this dreadful tragedy seems to have brought the French people together. Political squabbles have been forgotten, vestes jaunes protests put aside. Already hundreds of millions of euros have been pledge for the re-building.
I was reminded of the past destruction of other great churches and cathedrals. St. Nikolai Kirche in Hamburg, destroyed in the firestorm of July, 1943. Marien Kirche in Lübeck, severely damaged in an RAF raid on Palm Sunday, 1942 and Coventry Cathedral left a roofless ruin by the Coventry Blitz.
|Marien Kirche. Lübeck: Palm Sunday Raid, 1943|
|Coventry Cathedral, 15th November, 1940|
|St. Nikolai Kirche in Hamburg|
|Marien Kirche, Lübeck|
After all the photographs and footage of the destruction of Notre Dame, the most powerful image came the morning after as a shaft of sunlight illuminated the cross still standing on the Cathedral's altar. I was reminded of the burnt cross in Coventry, made from two charred beams found crossed on the floor of the cathedral the day after the raid. In this Holy Week, could there be a more potent message of indestructible faith?
|Notre Dame, 16th April, 2019|
|Burnt Cross on the alter of the Old Cathedral, Coventry|