They are built, they get burned, they are rebuilt

More “it’s horrifying but it’s fixable and it’s not actually as horrifying as most of us thought” news: Sara L. Uckleman on Facebook, with a “please share”:

While what has happened to Notre Dame today has shocked me and moved me to tears more than once over the course of the evening, I’m finding that my background and training as a medievalist means I’m, overall, finding it a lot less devastating than many people.

Why?

Because I know how churches live. They are not static monuments to the past. They are built, they get burned, they are rebuilt, they are extended, they get ransacked, they get rebuilt, they collapse because they were not built well, they get rebuilt, they get extended, they get renovated, they get bombed, they get rebuilt. It is the continuous presence, not the original structure, that matters.

The spire that fell, that beautiful iconic spire? Not even 200 years old. A new spire can be built, the next stage in the evolution of the cathedral.

Ah. That does help, actually. 200-ish is still old, but it’s not the one from a 12th century workshop, so yeah.

The rose windows? Reproductions of the originals. We can reproduce them again.

Notre Dame is one of the best documented cathedrals in the world. We have the knowledge we need to rebuild it.

But more than that: We have the skill. There may not be as many ecclesiastical stone masons nowadays as there were in the height of the Middle Ages, but there are still plenty, and I bet masons from all over Europe, if not further, will be standing ready to contribute to rebuilding. Same with glaziers, carpenters, etc.

Precious artworks and relics may have been lost. There is report of one fireman seriously injured, but so far, from what I’ve read, no one else, and no deaths.

This isn’t the first time Notre Dame has burned. I’m dead certain it won’t be the last.

It was the watching it happen in real time that was so painful.

H/t Emily

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