The Resurrection of Notre-Dame: The Return of the Cross to the Spire

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REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

In the wake of the devastating fire that shook the world in 2019, the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is now on an awe-inspiring journey of revival. The recent milestone of placing the iconic cross atop its spire is a symbolic triumph, signifying the cathedral’s remarkable restoration.

The momentous occasion unfolded before the eyes of AFP journalists as a crane delicately hoisted the cross into the air, carefully positioning it at the peak of the spire, which has been gradually emerging from the scaffolding in recent days.

This remarkable feat comes just before the anticipated visit of President Emmanuel Macron, precisely one year before the planned reopening of the cathedral for worship and visits. The cathedral, renowned for its breathtaking Gothic architecture dating back to the 12th to 14th centuries, holds a cherished place in the hearts of many.

The meticulously designed new spire, crafted to mirror its predecessor by the 19th-century architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, has become an emblem of hope and resilience. It stands as a testament to the cathedral’s progress, offering a ray of hope in the face of adversity.

Described as an “extremely clever assembly of wood, covered with a sheet of lead and surmounted by a crown, a rooster, and a cross,” the spire has been meticulously crafted to honour the cathedral’s rich heritage.

Although the rooster was not yet visible on top of the cross during the installation, it is set to be replaced and blessed in accordance with Catholic tradition in the coming days. The tale of the surviving rooster, destined to be showcased in a future museum, serves as a poignant reminder of the cathedral’s enduring spirit.

Philippe Jost, the head of reconstruction, provided insight into the next steps of the restoration process, indicating that the lead cover is the next stage. This crucial step will pave the way for the removal of the scaffolding, allowing the arrow to once again be revealed in all its glory.

As the Notre-Dame continues to rise from the ashes, the return of the cross to its spire marks a poignant moment in the cathedral’s history. It stands as a symbol of hope, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of the people dedicated to restoring this iconic monument to its former glory. The Notre-Dame’s journey of resurrection is indeed a testament to the power of human determination and the enduring legacy of a timeless architectural marvel.

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