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Notre Dame, the Church that shaped Secularism during French Revolution gutted

Devdiscourse News Desk Siddheshwar Shukla France
Updated: 17-04-2019 11:39 IST
Notre Dame, the Church that shaped Secularism during French Revolution gutted

The Notre Dame Church has advent of secularism during French Revolution Image Credit: Flickr

On Monday, as the firefighters were engaged in saving the Notre Dame, people were seen praying for 'Our Lady of Paris', as it is regarded in the city of lights. Due to the major wooden works, the fire spread quickly and it took around nine hours to control it but till then huge damage was done.

In over 850 years of life, the Notre Dame cathedral has lived with various hues of human feelings besides acting a treasure for French art and culture. The construction of Notre Dame cathedral, a church having the seat of a Catholic bishop, begun under Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1160 and completed in around 200 years. Situated at the centre of Paris the cathedral gradually achieved the status of a political seat as well. Thereafter, it enjoyed the position of religious and political supremacy in France. By the 18th century, the political powers of the cathedral had reached its peak.

During the French Revolution in the 1790s, the Church suffered desecration in which several statues related to biblical age rulers were destroyed. The cathedral's great bells were melted and even the statue of the Virgin Mary was destroyed. In 1792, it was primarily dominated by the Cult of Reason and became a point of political and philosophical debate and discussion. Here in this background the idea secularism – the separation of powers between Church and the State; was proposed and discussed in this church. Although the coronation ceremony of Napoleon-I was conducted at Notre Dame it regained its glory after Victor Hugo's novel 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'. This novel provided a cultural dimension to the Church that was different from its previous religious significance. Subsequently, the French government carried out major restoration works between 1844-64. Thus it again became a common interest for religious figures, the political class, Catholic Christians and atheists as well.

It is said that in the World War – II, the German dictator Hitler had planned to demolish the Notre Dame but it was saved. In 1944, the liberation of Paris from Germans was celebrated in this church. Thereafter it emerged as a cultural centre and popular tourist spot in Paris.

Although the fire on Monday caused massive damaged the main stone structure, facade, and its two towers were saved. According to the officials, several of the nine centuries artworks have also been saved. The French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the structure and pledged to launch an international fundraising scheme. French billionaire Francois Henri Pinault has pledged to donate 100 million euro to rebuilt the church.

COUNTRY : France