Saturday the 12th of June

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Important moments in Notre Dame Cathedral’s history

The Notre Dame Cathedral – the scene of a devastating fire on Monday – is of huge historical and cultural importance to France and the world.

Here are some of the major events the cathedral has borne witness to in recent history and back through the ages:

The construction of the building started in 1163 and it has survived wars and revolution and has been the site of key events in French history.

Notre Dame was the site of the coronation for the 10-year-old King Henry VI as King of France, two years after his coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1429.

It was also the site of the royal weddings of James V of Scotland to Madeleine of Valois in 1537 and Mary, Queen of Scots wed Dauphin Francis in 1558.

Following the French Revolution, the cathedral was the scene of Napoleon I’s coronation as emperor, with Pope Pius VII leading the proceedings.

Victor Hugo started writing The Hunchback Of Notre Dame in 1829, with the book published in 1831 and going on to become a key text in French literature and subject of film adaptations.

Following France’s liberation in the Second World War in 1944, a Te Deum service was held at the cathedral to give thanks to God.

A requiem mass for Charles de Gaulle, who led the French resistance during the war and later became president of France, was held in 1970. A similar service for Francois Mitterand would be held following his death in 1996.

A week after the terror attacks on Paris in November 2015, crowds gathered at the cathedral to mourn the 132 lives lost in the massacre.

Picture: The famous cathedral of Notre-Dame shines illuminated at dusk on the Ile de la Cite, the island in the middle of the River Seine, in central Paris, France, on 4th April 2015. (Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA).