No Christmas service at Notre Dame for first time in 200 years


Reconstruction works take place on Notre-Dame on July 9, 2019 in Paris after it was badly damaged by fire in April.
It will be the first time since the French Revolution in 1803 that the 850-year-old cathedral has not held Christmas mass services, spokesman Andre Finot told CNN on Sunday.
The cathedral — a UNESCO World Heritage site — was ravaged by a fire which destroyed the structure’s fire, parts of the roof and vault in April.
Smoke and flames rise from Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019.
Midnight mass will still be celebrated on Christmas Eve by rector Patrick Chauvet, but would instead be held at the nearby church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
The building had remained open for Christmas during 200 years of turbulent history, including Nazi occupation in World War II.
In June, French prosecutors said the catastrophic blaze could have been caused by a burning cigarette or an electrical malfunction. Officials noted they were looking into the possibility of negligence as they opened a judicial investigation.
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French President Emmanuel Macron plans to have the structure rebuilt in five years. In April, France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced an international architects’ competition to rebuild, and perhaps redesign, the fallen spire of the medieval landmark.
Following the fire, three of France’s richest families — who are behind the companies LVMH Group, Kering and L’Oreal, respectively — vowed to contribute large sums to the rebuilding effort.
In total, $700 million of private funds has been raised so far.

No Christmas service at Notre Dame for first time in 200 years

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