A great world treasure damaged

It is hard to find words to express the shock of watching the reports from Paris as the Cathedral of Notre Dame burned into the night. Four-hundred firefighters battled to contain the blaze that was consuming one of the world’s most iconic architectural and religious edifices. We don’t know how much of the structure will be saved, but Notre Dame that the world has known for eight centuries has been badly damaged.

Commissioned in 1100 AD, and built over the next 200 years, Notre Dame a Paris landmark, the site of historic rituals and ceremonies, a tourist attraction that drew millions of visitors each year, and above all, the parish church to thousands of Catholics in Paris.

It’s awe-inspiring architecture was intended to draw its visitors to look up and think about the life above. People built the structure to give honor and glory to God. It is also a testament to human creativity and ingenuity, built by hand over 200 years by generations of workers and craftsmen.

The cathedral was the repository of priceless artworks and relics as well. Along with the cathedral, they are irreplaceable.

Art, history, culture and civilizaton are all wrapped up in the Cathedral of the Notre Dame. The world is a smaller, poorer place without it.