New Podcast Episode – The Tragedy of Notre Dame


Rarely are posts from Via Lucis taken directly from the news – I can think only of a couple, especially the death of Angelico Surchamp. But today’s podcast on the burning of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres is an exception. The devastating news of the fire on the Île de la Cité has affected people worldwide. Women and men weep openly on the streets of Paris, and here in the United States, we shared their grief.

Notre Dame fire (Wikipedia Commons)

This recording was intended as a requiem but in the intervening hours we discovered that the cathedral had survived the devastating fire. It became instead a tribute to the genius of the medieval builders who conceived and constructed Notre Dame and her sisters throughout Europe.

This podcast can also be found at the following hosting sites along with all of our other previous episodes.

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Please listen and if you are so inclined, follow and comment. We are anxious for feedback on this newest Via Lucis venture.

9 thoughts on “New Podcast Episode – The Tragedy of Notre Dame

  1. Thank you Dennis for posting this “requiem”. The messages of support from all over the world have been extraordinary. “We will reconstruct” and in this reconstruction let it be a reconstruction not only for lasting beauty and harmony, but also a reconstruction for understanding, respect and peace amongst people of all beliefs, races, economic status, and talents. Let it be an opportunity to weld our humanity.

    1. Dominique, we could only share the tears of our French friends as we watched the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, sister to our beloved Notre Dame de Chartres, burn so fiercely. We couldn’t hope that she would survive. When I saw the earliest images from inside the cathedral after the fire was controlled, I realized once again the genius of the builders and the glory of the Gothic cathedral. As for the reconstruction of understanding and peace among people of all beliefs, that would be the most fervently desired result of this tragedy. Thank you for your thoughts.

  2. A moving tribute to Notre-Dame de Paris.

    You must feel so sad that you were never able to photograph it. I watched live coverage on one of the French news channels until early this morning (UK time) devastated when it was announced that there was a strong possibility the bell towers would have been reduced to rubble by morning. But no – the familiar facade still stands and news that many of the Treasures including the Crown of Thorns have been saved has lifted my spirits. The medieval builders were indeed geniuses in their own right.

    1. Elizabeth, I have visited the cathedral so many times that she feels like an old friend. It would have been wonderful to photograph – I had plans of exploring the entasis of the columns of the nave and side aisles and more technical achievements, but to share the experience with PJ yet again would have been the best thing. But we will watch carefully as France rebuilds Notre Dame and hopefully once more walk through the aisles. Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. No, Penny, Chartres is well. They have been going through a massive restoration, though. One thing unique about Chartres is that they do not have the charpente, the wooden works in the roof. In the 19th century that was replaced with an iron structure.

  3. It appears that a competition will be held to design a new spire to replace the one devoured by the flames. Having visited several churches designed and built since the 1960s in France I dread to think what the replacement will look like.

  4. Thank you Dennis, for your posts about our tragedy of Notre Dame de Paris. Thank you also for your solace and your oral testimony.
    It’s been a real nightmare for me, as I am, like you, a lover of medieval arts.
    Fortunately most of the structure resisted. The windows are not damaged, the great organ is preserved, all the elements of the treasure are saved. The cathedral is still standing over the Ile de la Cité.
    We still don’ know how it happened and where and why the fire started.
    Police and firefighters, helped by specialists from Monuments Historiques (National Heritage) are still investigating.
    Our President, E.Macron promised that we will rebuild it within 5 years. Of course, it will take more, but according to specialists, with today technologies, most of the important work of reconstruction can be done during this period of time.
    We already raised enough funds (nearly one milliard euros) to do it.
    I only hope that we will not modernize too much this medieval monument …

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