New photos and officials’ statements that emerged the day after fire partially destroyed the Notre Dame cathedral confirm that the three famous stained-glass rose windows are safe.
“From what I could see, the stained glass had not been touched, the three beautiful roses that date back to the 12th and 13th century were still there,” André Finot, spokesman of the cathedral, told BFM Paris.
Some stained-glass windows were damaged in the cathedral, but not the large rosettes. “These are stained glass windows of the 19th century, much less important that may have been touched, but not the jewels of the 13th century… is a bit of a miracle, we are very relieved,” the spokesman of the cathedral said to the French news channel.
Reports circulated on social media after the blaze that the windows exploded or were otherwise destroyed. However, some of the first photos to offer a glimpse inside Notre Dame now show another tale, and officials have confirmed the same: The stunning rose windows, which date back centuries in the world-famous gothic cathedral, are safe.
“The stained glass windows of the 12th and 13th centuries of the rosettes of Notre-Dame were spared by the flames,” the French news site BFP also wrote.
That added to the good news about other saved antiquities; the great orange glow that erupted from Notre Dame created the worst fears, but they were not fully realized. In addition to the rose windows, the historic organ, tunic of Saint Louis and crown of thorns were among the artifacts that were saved, authorities revealed.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Archbishop of Paris & Culture Minister of France Confirmed the Rose Windows Were Safe
The news that the three rose windows were safe came from some of the most authoritative sources in Paris.
The Archbishop of Paris “said all three have been saved,” CNN reported.
The culture minister, Franck Riester, confirmed the same in a news conference, saying, “The large rose windows don’t appear to have suffered catastrophic damage.”
The French language BFMTV wrote: “The windows of the 12th and 13th centuries of the rosettes of Notre Dame were spared by the flames. The organ may have been damaged by water but not burned.”
There could be some damage to the windows, however. “The damage is difficult to assess,” conceded Tuesday Archbishop Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris on BFMTV.
BFMTV Paris also wrote: “Crown of thorns, tunic of St. Louis, rosettes… The treasures of our Lady saved from the flames.” (Couronne d’épines, tunique de Saint-Louis, rosaces… Les trésors de Notre-Dame sauvés des flammes.)
There may be some repair needed, however. According to The New York Times, Benoist de Sinety, a bishop of the Archdiocese of Paris, said earlier that “high heat had damaged the windows, melting the lead that held their panes in place.”
French Journalist Laurent Valdiguie reported from the scene early on that there was hope but still danger for the north window, La Rosace Nord: “North face the rosettes seem to have held. On the street, on the ground, no debris of stained glass. Just old broken stones… ‘we stay worried’ slips a fireman.” Amazingly, the windows survived.
French journalist Nicolas Delesalle eloquently wrote of the battles to save the structure and its treasures: “Firefighters circulate on the balconies above the rosette, we see their torches illuminate the stone of the façade intact. Behind, the fire continues to ravage. But the glow in the left Tower is gone.”
Photos showed the outside of a rose window:
The French have vowed to rebuild Notre Dame.
“Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives … So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together,” declared French President Emmanuel Macron.
A picture emerged showing works of art being carted out of the cathedral. It was posted by France’s culture minister, who wrote, “@MinistereCC agents, supported by the archbishop’s teams, the @PompiersParis and the security forces, evacuate the works inside the cathedral. They are gradually made safe. #Our Lady.”
Paris fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet explained to reporters that “the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved…We consider the two towers of Notre Dame to have been saved.”
The Three Rose Windows Are One of the ‘Greatest Masterpieces of Christianity’
The beautiful rose windows are one of the most famous sights inside one of the world’s most visited churches. The three rose windows were built in the 13th century, BBC reports. CNN describes them as “immense round stained-glass windows over the cathedral’s three main portals.”
According to Agence France Presse, the three rose windows “represent the flowers of paradise, were built in the 13th century, then renovated several times. The north and south rosettes, the two largest, are 13 meters in diameter.”
In the rose windows, one can see images of “prophets, saints, angels, kings, scenes of the life of saints, etc. The three rosettes present respectively in their center the Virgin, the Child Jesus and the Christ in majesty,” AFP reports.
The cathedral’s website says that the three rose windows of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris “constitute one of the greatest masterpieces of Christianity.”
One of the most famous is the South Rose window.
“The South Rose or Rose du Midi was offered by King Saint Louis. The masters who designed it are Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil. The first architect of the Cathedral, Jean de Chelles, had the first stone of the south transept walled in 1258,” the website explains.