The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris will not be hosting Christmas Mass this year for the first time since the French Revolution.
The cathedral was very seriously damaged in a fire on April 15.
“This is the first time since the French Revolution that there will be no midnight Mass (at Notre Dame),” cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet told the Associated Press. Chauvet noted that there was even a Christmas service amid the carnage of World War I, “because the canons were there and the canons had to celebrate somewhere,” referring to the cathedral’s clergy.
Instead of holding it at the cathedral, Christmas Mass will take place at the congregation’s temporary home near the Louvre. Chauvet will hold the service and Notre Dame’s choir will perform.
“We have the opportunity to celebrate the Mass outside the walls, so to speak… but with some indicators that Notre Dame is connected to us,” Chauvet told the AP. “I’d rather use ‘beyond the walls’… ‘Exile’ brings it back to sadness. Obviously, there is a lot of sadness and desolation for us to no longer be in our second home. But there is also a lot of hope because it is only a phase.”
Though the fire destroyed much of the structure of the cathedral, many relics including the Crown of Thorns were saved.
Restoring the 855-year-old cathedral is expected to take five or six years.