Hundreds of Parisians flocked to the smaller Saint-Eustache catholic church for Easter mass on Sunday, instead of Notre-Dame cathedral, which was gutted by a fire on Monday.
“We will rise up again and our cathedral will rise up again,” said the archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit. He also compared the planned reconstruction of Notre-Dame and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The Easter mass was originally planned to be held at Notre-Dame. Emergency services put their lives at risk to try and save the 850-year-old cathedral and its artifacts but its spire could not be saved.
The head of the Paris fire service, General Jean-Claude Gallet, received a minute’s applause from the congregation in tribute to the 400 firefighters who extinguished the flames. Gallet was also honoured with a bible that was rescued from the fire.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged that he would rebuild the cathedral in five years and said France would pull together to repair their national symbol.
The country's richest families and France's leading companies have pledged around 1 billion euros for the reconstruction.