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15 Apr, 2019 19:33

Notre Dame fire was 2nd to hit an iconic French Catholic church in a month

Notre Dame fire was 2nd to hit an iconic French Catholic church in a month

The world watched in horror as Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupted in flames Monday. It was the second fire to hit a historic French Catholic church in under a month.

Editor’s note: The initial version of this article contained information about vandalism in French churches. The author believed it necessary to include it to point out the troubles that have recently plagued the Catholic churches of France. The text stressed that vandalism had nothing to do with the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Upon review, we believe that although the article was factually correct, some readers may have found it insensitive. That was not what RT was aiming for. Like the rest of the world, we grieve for the partial loss of the architectural masterpiece that is Notre Dame.

While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17. The fire damaged the church’s doors and stained glass windows on the building’s exterior, but firefighters managed to bring it under control before anybody was hurt.

The fire that hit Saint-Sulpice reportedly started in a pile of clothes left outside the cathedral, before climbing up the door and to the stained glass. The clothes are believed to have been left there by a homeless person. Police said the fire was “not accidental,” but the pastor of Saint-Sulpice argued it was not an anti-religious attack.

Unlike in the Notre Dame fire, the damage to Saint-Sulpice was relatively minor. The church, founded in the 17th century, houses three paintings by 19th century Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix, none of which were damaged.

Fortunately, many of the relics in Notre Dame escaped the fire unscathed. The ancient Crown of Thorns and the tunic of St. Louis were transported safely to the Paris City Hall. The cathedral frame itself also remained intact, though its roof and spire collapsed.