Published On: Tue, Apr 16th, 2019

World leaders stunned by Notre-Dame fire, urge rebuilding

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Political, cultural, and religious leaders stress the unique and iconic place the Notre-Dame Cathedral has in human history and express solidarity with France

Published 11:45 PM, April 16, 2019

Updated 11:45 PM, April 16, 2019

FIRE. People watch as Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burns late into the night on April 15, 2019, in the French capital Paris. File photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP

FIRE. People watch as Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burns late into the night on April 15, 2019, in the French capital Paris. File photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP

PARIS, France – Political, cultural, and religious leaders around the world voiced shock at seeing Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral devoured by flames.

They stressed the unique and iconic place the monument has in human history and expressed solidarity with France.

Here is a summary of some of the major reactions.

Vatican: Mobilize

“I hope the Notre-Dame cathedral may once again become, thanks to reconstruction work and the mobilization of all, a jewel in the heart of the city.”

– Pope Francis

EU: Humanity

Notre-Dame “belongs to the whole of humanity. It has inspired writers, painters, philosophers and visitors who have come from all round the world.”

– EU Commission head Jean Claude Juncker

UN: ‘Horrified’

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” by the fire. UNESCO head Audrey Azoulay said the cathedral “represents an architectural, cultural and religious heritage, a unique literary heritage that speaks to the whole world.”

Trump: ‘Horrible’

“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

– US President Donald Trump

China: Treasure

Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country was “deeply saddened” by the fire, state media reported. He called the building an “outstanding treasure of human civilization.”

India: Shock

Prime Minister Narendra Modi “conveyed his shock and sadness” over the fire and “expressed India’s solidarity with President and people of France on this national loss.”

– Indian Foreign Minister spokesman

Russian ‘sadness’

“Notre Dame is a historic symbol of France, a priceless treasure of European and world culture, one of the most important Christian sites. The tragedy that occurred overnight in Paris leaves sadness in Russians’ hearts.”

– President Vladimir Putin

Germany: European symbol

“Notre-Dame is not only a symbol of Christianity in France, it is also our shared European heritage.”

– German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Queen ‘saddened’

“Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral. My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the cathedral and all of France at this difficult time.”

– Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II

Orthodox prayers

“I offer prayers to God so that he will help overcome the consequences of the fire and restore the cathedral to its former glory in the near future.”

– Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill

Anglicans: Sacred place

“Tonight we pray for the firefighters tackling the tragic Notre Dame fire – and for everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps for this beautiful, sacred place where millions have met with Jesus Christ.”

– Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Iran: ‘One God’

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said his thoughts were with “the French and all Catholics,” calling the cathedral “that iconic monument dedicated to the worship of our one God and that brought all of us closer through (Victor) Hugo’s literary masterpiece.”

Jewish congress: ‘Icon’

“Notre Dame has for centuries stood proud and tall as an inimitable icon, a symbol of the country’s great culture and history. We pray that… the destruction can be restored to allow this unparalleled structure to return to its position of symbolic majesty on the Parisian skyline.”

– World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder

Iraq: Familiar pain

“Iraqis uniquely appreciate the pain, sense of loss afflicting the people of France as we have recently experienced destruction of much of our national cultural heritage.”

– Iraqi President Barham Saleh

Obama: Stay strong

“It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost -– but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”

– US ex-president Barack Obama

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