The videos of bystanders singing "Ave Maria" has gone viral on the internet and many have described it as "powerful" and moving."
Last night, the world watched the iconic French cathedral, Notre Dame get engulfed in flames. As fire consumed many parts of the symbol of France, distraught Parisians gathered near the Notre Dame Cathedral and sang “Ave Maria” on Monday.
As the crowd watched over 500 firefighters try to quell the blaze, many of them hopelessly stood looking at centuries-old history on the verge of being gone forever, reports BBC. As the iconic spire from Notre Dame fell, taking years of history down along with it, many people wept and held hands, while others started their prayers.
These people gathering to sing "Ave Maria" may be one of the most beautiful scenes on a tragic day. It brings tears to my eyes. 💔💔💔💔😭😭😭😭#NotreDameFire #NotreDame #NotreDameCathedral #Paris #AveMaria pic.twitter.com/fSoWtS9meP— OfficialWilly2.0 (@therealwill17) April 15, 2019
“It feels like the end of the world,” one Twitter user wrote. “It’s getting worse. But the fire brigade has turned up. Hard to see how [to] tackle this. The plume of smoke is already 100s of feet long.”
They couldn't believe what they were witnessing as they gasped in horror looking at a monument that meant so much to them. French citizens and many others came together to sing and mourn their beloved cathedral as the fire continued to roar in the historic church in Paris.
The videos of bystanders singing "Ave Maria" has gone viral on the internet and many have described it as "powerful" and moving." It has been viewed over 3.5 million times on Twitter (at the time of publication). It has also been widely shared and is indeed a true testament to the love and respect that the French have for their art and culture.
The singing of Ave Maria in front of the tragic blaze of 850-year-old Notre Dame has an incredible sadness & beauty to it.— Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) April 16, 2019
I can’t stop listening. pic.twitter.com/IO5t7M4UPf
"All of us who've reported in Paris recently have known many tragic nights in this most beautiful of cities. But tonight is different. Impossible to describe the bewilderment, the eerie quiet, the tears at the sight of 800 years of history vanishing in less than hour," The Washington Post's Paris correspondent, James McAuley tweeted.
It all started around 18:20 local time (16:20 GMT), but upon inspection, there was no fire reported at first. However, the second alert, just a few minutes later, saw the fire engulfing the cathedral. Following this, the firefighters were rushed to the spot. The flames quickly reached the roof of the cathedral as it destroyed the wooden interior before toppling the spire.
This is the iconic spiral at Notre Dame in Paris. It has collapsed. I’ve actually scaled the 400 some odd steps to the top when I was a student. This is breaking my heart. It will never be the same.— Dexter (@RadioDexter) April 15, 2019
Parisians, who were watching this happen, feared that the cathedral's famous towers would also be destroyed. However, French Interior Minister Laurent Nuñez said it was successfully stopped before it could spread.
The fire was completely brought down under control in the early hours of Tuesday. And the firefighters were able to salvage artwork and other priceless pieces stored in the 12th-century cathedral.
Gotta hand it to those 12th century engineers, the rib-vaults supporting the interior ceiling held the full weight of the burning roof without ceding. Only the recent 19th century spire addition crashed through. #NotreDame pic.twitter.com/OSSun5PLRP— 👾 (@BioGraphica1) April 16, 2019
Although the cause of the fire is still yet to be ascertained, authorities believe that it was caused due to the ongoing renovation work at the church.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron reassured that he will do everything to rebuild the cathedral. "The worst has been avoided, even though the battle is not completely won. This is the place where we have lived all of our great moments, the epicenter of our lives. It is the cathedral of all the French.”
#NotreDame— Hazel Lou J. Pepania👧👧👄👄👊👊 (@hazelloujaim) April 16, 2019
The 850 year old Gothic building's spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure,including the two bell towers,has been saved,officials says.
Firefighters are still working to contain the blaze as teams try to save the artwork stored inside.#Paris pic.twitter.com/XhedA2ZIiR
He also took to Twitter and said, "The Notre Dame cathedral, we will rebuild it. All together. It is a part of our French destiny. I am committed to this: from tomorrow a national subscription will be launched and far beyond our borders."
Notre Dame is located on an island in the center of Paris called the Île de la Cité, surrounded by the River Seine. The historic building was completed around 1260 and remains to be one of the most recognized and historic buildings not only in French history but across the globe.