Prayers have been offered up in our cathedrals for the people of France after the devastating fire at Notre Dame, Paris struck at the very heart of its history and culture.
The true extent of the damage and what has been saved has yet to be fully revealed – as has the cause of the fire – but as news came in from Paris early yesterday evening, many of our cathedrals reached out in solidarity.
Prayers were said up and down the country in Liverpool, Coventry, Wells, Southwark, Birmingham, Wakefield and Westminster and beyond.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson, tweeted:
“Our hearts go out to the people of Notre Dame and Paris as this tragedy grips them in Holy Week. We pray for them and all who are working to bring the fire under control.”
Becky Clarke, director of the Church of England’s Church Care tweeted:
“Heartbreaking to watch, but no matter the destruction the spirit of what it means to be a cathedral will survive. The spire collapsed at Lincoln Cathedral & was rebuilt. Coventry Cathedral was bombed & came back stronger. English Cathedrals stand with you #NotreDame, you are still beautiful.”
The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, who chairs the Association of English Cathedrals, said he knew full well how terrible the consequences were of having a disastrous fire to deal with.
“The people of France will feel shocked and bereaved at the loss of such an important shrine, one which encapsulates so much French history and culture.
“This is a catastrophe and all European cathedrals will want to reach out to the people of Paris and the Church in France.”
Messages of support and sympathy were issued by York Minster and St Paul’s and the Dean of Westminster posted this message:
“So very sad and at this time of Holy Week. The sorrow of death and loss overwhelms; but there is a resurrection.”
Birmingham Cathedral shared this message:
“My heart is so heavy watching scenes from #NotreDameFire tonight but I’m convinced the resilience, spirit, faith and determination of that cathedral community will prevail. I know that all @bhamcathedral and @engcathedrals stand alongside our #cathedralfam tonight.”
There was a message from the Very Revd. Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford:
“This is devastatingly sad for the people of France and everyone who loves such an inspiring house of prayer. Tonight we prayed for France and we feel the pain for the cathedral community of Notre Dame.”
The Dean of Leicester, David Monteith, tweeted:
“Cathedrals often are at the heart of community identity. Prayers for Paris and her greatly loved cathedral. Places that carry our memories and shape our imagination really matter. Easter hope rebuilds.”
The Dean of Southwark, Andrew Nunn has written this prayer for Notre Dame, Paris France.
‘It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.’ (1 Corinthians 3.13)
your broken body, laid aside
rose in glory.
Give resurrection hope to the people of Paris
and all who grieve the destructive fire
at Notre Dame.
From the ashes may beauty once more arise,
as from the grave our new life comes.
Find out about Evensong services near you that will be saying prayers for Notre Dame here.