His Eminence Metropolitan Iosif of Western and Southern Europe expressed his solidarity with the French people, the Roman-Catholic Church, and the Archdiocese of Paris after a fire broke out at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday.
‘We are deeply saddened by the catastrophe hitting the capital of France,’ His Eminence Metropolitan Iosif said on behalf of the clergy and believers of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of Western and Southern Europe.
‘It is a symbol that was assumed as a world landmark, beyond religious affiliation or belief.’
‘A witness over the centuries of the construction of Christian Europe in all its historic and cultural complexity,’ Metropolitan Iosif said pointing to the Notre Dame Cathedral, ‘it is now melting down under the burden of relentless flames.’
‘We stand by the Roman-Catholic Church and the entire French people in these moments of great pain, experiencing in advance the Passions of the Saviour.’
‘Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, built in a 182-year process, is consumed by flames. One minute for every year of sweat and sacrifice has irreversibly sealed the landmark around which Paris was rebuilt,’ Metropolitan Iosif said according to a statement to the Basilica News Agency.
‘Let us not forget that the power of the symbol goes beyond walls and roof framing!’
‘This tragedy must make us more responsible to cherish values as long as they are alive and present in our midst.’
‘The ruthless fire kindles in us the consciousness of solidarity among Christians and world citizens, because we are strong by also assuming symbols beyond their temporality.’
A catastrophic fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, altering the city’s skyline and threatening a potent symbol of Christianity at the start of Holy Week as observed by Roman-Catholics.
The fire burned for several hours, destroying the 850-year-old cathedral’s iconic spire and roof before firefighters contained the blaze early Tuesday morning.
Photo: French Ministry of Interior / Twitter