Eastern Europe

Russians Deal With Notre Dame Tragedy With Horror, Kindness, And “I Told You So”

Russians Deal With Notre Dame Tragedy With Horror, Kindness, And "I Told You So"
Notre-Dame, l’Évêché et le cloître, 1830
During the Revolution, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. Only the great bells avoided being melted down, and the Cathedral was dedicated first to the cult of Reason, and to the cult of the Supreme being. The church interior was used as a warehouse for the storage of forage and food. After falling into disrepair, a restoration program overseen by Lassus (died 1857) and Viollet-le-Duc, was carried out in 1845. This program lasted 23 years, and included the construction of the spire and the sacristy. During the Commune of 1871, the Cathedral was nearly burned by the Communards – and some accounts suggest that indeed a huge mound of chairs was set on fire in its interior. Whatever happened, the Cathedral of Notre Dame survived the Commune essentially unscathed” L’Hôtel-Dieu is a hospital located next to Notre-Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cité. The original building shown on this lithograph was torn down during the Haussmann era.

Russians dealt with the devastating fire a the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris with a mix of horror, kindness, and an acknowledgement of the decline of Europe. France has a special place in the hearts of Russians due to the connection of Moscow with Paris during the Napoleonic years. The French Republic is a favorite destination for Muscovites, although that is changing as the West declines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to send experts to help France rebuild Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame is France’s historical symbol, an invaluable treasure of European and world culture, and one of Christianity’s most important shrines,” Putin stressed in his telegram, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

“The catastrophe that occurred in Paris last night has pained the hearts of Russians,” the telegram reads.

“Putin hopes that it will be possible to rebuild the cathedral and offered to send the best Russian specialists with wide-ranging experience in restoring world cultural heritage monuments, including the works of medieval architecture, to France,” the Kremlin press office said.

Russian citizens laid flowers at the French embassy, and funds were being raised to help the rebuilding effort.

“My beloved France has become a country where they smash the windows of expensive boutiques simply because they’re expensive,” Ksenia Sobchak wrote on Instagram. The reality television star and socialite said the Notre Dame fire was “karmically linked” to ongoing Yellow Vest demonstrations opposing fuel tax increases, as well as labor policies that “make it nearly impossible to fire a person,” reported The Moscow Times.

“I don’t know what will be built in this place in a country where statistics say every fifth [person] is named Muhammad, but I know that masterpieces don’t serve the mind that’s unworthy of them,” she wrote.

“Here it is, the decline of Europe,” wrote Yelena Konchalovskaya, food editor at Russia’s The Village news magazine. “It’s physically painful to watch because this fire is deeply symbolic,” she added.

“Why are they crying? The Catholic Church is dead in Europe. It is a lie. Notre Dame will be rebuilt only for tourism and money,” one Muscovite commented.

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Walkin O'Shea April 18, 2019 at 6:59 am

Perhaps Notre Dame is just another example of the sign of the times in France. Much has changed there. It is no longer the France of yesteryear. In fact it really isn’t France at all anymore, that ideal has become a passing fancy. Like Sweden and Germany it is lost to us. I concur with the feelings of the Russian people…Catholicism is all but non-existent in Europe, France is very much a secular country… God works in mysterious ways.

fantum2 April 18, 2019 at 10:39 am

The burning of the cathedral was mourned by more than the French. It is a symbol of historical importance which happens to be Christian. Many Americans also recognize its importance in history and a saddened by its problems. France owns it, but is part of the entire Christian world. France itself may be falling, but the cathedral is not.


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