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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, about five weeks after the April 15 fire.
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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, about five weeks after the April 15 fire. | Photo by Erik Tryggestad

‘I’d gladly sacrifice more buildings if that would save but one more soul’


MARSEILLE, France — In recent months, French believers and non-believers alike have focused their attention on a church building. 

Philippe Dauner

Philippe Dauner

The devastating fire at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral has generated tears, sympathy, and millions of dollars dedicated to restoring the gothic edifice, completed in 1345.

The national tragedy also is a reminder “for us to set our priorities straight and true,” said Philippe Dauner, minister for the Church of Christ in the coastal city of Marseille.

The Catholic bishop of Marseille, Dauner noted, “reacted to the visible increase in attendance in churches the week of the fire by stating he’d gladly sacrifice more buildings if that would save but one more soul.”

The Marseille Church of Christ “is growing sufficiently to start looking for a bigger building more suited to our ministries,” Dauner said. The Notre Dame fire “reminded us that this project only makes sense in the light of the infinitely greater value of the eternal souls that surround us.”

Despite the fire, the walls of the ancient cathedral held, proving that “the trustworthy masons of the Middle Ages built it to last,” Dauner said. “Accordingly, we truly hope the remnant Christian presence in France will one day be deemed sturdy enough to build upon once again.

“The next cathedral I visit, I’ll be sure to note with a newfound respect the discreet-yet-essential stonework that upholds the magnificent ceilings.” 

Filed under: Church of Christ France International Marseille France Notre Dame Top Stories

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