People across the globe couldn’t believe what they were watching as one of the most iconic and stunning buildings in France was set ablaze by a fire believed to be linked to a major renovation project on the church’s spire.
Countless images and videos showed the fire ripping through the 850-year-old building, setting alight its medieval roof which is known as “the forest” because it was made from a forest of trees.
But one woman has looked at these images and seen something – or rather someone – unlikely in them.
Yep, good old Jesus.
Lesley Rowan was looking at coverage of the fire on Monday night at her home in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, when she apparently saw Christ himself.
She said: “I may be letting my mind play tricks on me here, folks take a close look at this picture and what do you see.
“I’ve even circled it!”
Lesley wasn’t the only person saying they could see the figure of Jesus Christ in the flames, as numerous other social media users also claimed they had seen the Son of God.
One person said: “I can see it pretty clear, gown and all. Imagine this was how god showed us he wasn’t happy with us, by using acts of god to take away ancient, beautiful monuments and cathedrals.”
Another added: “Yeah I saw it straight away – it’s Jesus!”
According to the Daily Record, she said:
“When I looked at this photo last night, I was really astounded by what I saw. When I look at it I see a silhouette of Jesus. I really see a vivid image. I shared it and asked for people’s opinions – even my brother in Australia said it looks like Jesus.
“I feel like it will bring comfort to people in Paris and all over the world at this sad time.”
In all honesty, I don’t see it. As sad or as cynical as it is to say I do not see Jesus Christ in that fire.
I get that he pops up when you least expect it – like on a piece of toast or on your cornflakes – but I’d be genuinely surprised if he decided to make an appearance now. While admittedly an atheist, I’d be more than happy to be proved wrong about this, though.
Despite the devastation of the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron insists the 850-year-old landmark will be rebuilt, saying the ‘worst has been avoided’. He said:
“We’ll rebuild this cathedral all together and it’s undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we’ll have for the coming years.
“That’s what the French expect [and] because it’s what our history deserves.”
Furthermore, significant funds have already been raised to restore the building – over 1 billion euros according to some reports – led by François-Henri Pinault who has pledged €100 million to restore the cathedral as well as France’s richest man and head of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, Bernard Arnault, pledging €200m.
The LVMH group said in a statement:
“The Arnault family and the LVMH group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are associated with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity.
In the meantime, the LVMH Group puts at the disposal of the state and the concerned authorities all its teams, creative, architectural, financial, to help the long work of reconstruction on the one hand, and of fundraising on the other hand.”
In other, more positive news, various artefacts inside the cathedral were reportedly salvaged, including what is claimed to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus before his crucifixion and a tunic of King Louis IX.
In a tweet, French journalist Nicolas Delesalle wrote: “Good news: all the works of art were saved. The treasure of the Cathedral is intact, the Crown of thorns, the Holy sacraments.”
Having been to the cathedral in the past couple of months I sincerely hope they manage to repair the damage. It’s a hugely important landmark with a massive cultural significance and it should be preserved at all costs.
Hopefully it won’t be too long before it’s back to normal.
Images via Getty/Twitter/Lesley Rowan