Historian: Priceless relics of France destroyed by fire at Nantes Cathedral

18 July 2020 22:03
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St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Nantes. Photo: REUTERS / Stephane Mahe St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Nantes. Photo: REUTERS / Stephane Mahe

The fire at St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Nantes destroyed the ancient organ and stained-glass windows of the eastern façade, said Professor Tom Siret.

As a result of the fire at St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral of the RCC in Nantes, which occurred on Saturday, July 18, 2020, France lost priceless relics, said Tom Siret, Professor at the University of Strasbourg, as reported by TASS.

“With the loss of the ancient organ, created by Jacques Girardet in 1620, and the stained-glass windows of the eastern façade, completed in 1499, the relics of several centuries of Nantes history have been irretrievably lost,” the scientist said. “The flames on Saturday carried away the treasures that survived the French Revolution and the bombing of World War II. It’s hard to put up with it.”

In his opinion, the cause of the fire could be arson. He noted that three different sources of fire point to this version. The historian also drew attention to the fact that during 2019 in France, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the country, 1,052 anti-Christian acts were recorded, including vandalism against churches.

The fact that the fire destroyed an ancient organ in the cathedral was previously reported by the head of the Loire-Atlantique Fire Department, General Laurent Ferlet.

“The destruction affected a large organ, which was probably completely destroyed. The platform on which it is located is very unstable and threatens to collapse,” he commented to the French media.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex expressed "the solidarity of all France" to the Catholic parish and all the residents of Nantes and said that the government expects the restoration of the damaged cathedral as soon as possible.

A fire has been reported at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of Nantes in western France at about 07:30 am local time, and already at 7.45 fire brigades worked at the scene. The main cause of the fire may be arson as there were three different sources of fire detected: one at the level of the big organ, and two to the right and to the left of the nave. An investigation has already been launched over suspected arson.

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