Paris, France, Apr 15, 2019 / 13:57 pm
Catholics around the world watched with horror as the roof of Cathedrale Notre-Dame was engulfed with flames on Monday afternoon. The blaze began shortly after the church closed for visitors, and everyone was evacuated safely, though the entirety of the roof collapsed into the church.
Here are five things you may not know about the church that has often been called the “Queen of Cathedrals.”
1. Building was an 182-year process
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was Notre-Dame. Construction of the cathedral began in 1160 and took nearly two centuries. While most work was done by 1260, it was finally completed in 1345.
2. It’s home to many relics
The most famous relic located in Notre-Dame is the crown of thorns believed to have been placed upon Jesus Christ during his scourging. The cathedral also contains a piece of the true cross and one of the nails used in the crucifixion, plus relics of many French saints. Initial reports suggest that the relics were saved from the blaze.
3. It’s not actually owned by the Archdiocese of Paris
Due to France’s laws regarding secularization, the French government owns all churches built before 1905, including Notre-Dame. The government lets the Archdiocese of Paris use the building for free, and will continue to do so in perpetuity. The Archdiocese of Paris is responsible for the upkeep of the church, as well as for paying employees.