SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - More than 850 years ago, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was built.

It survived the Revolution, World War II, and now, officials believe, the structure will survive yesterday's devastating fire.

The spire on the legendary Notre Dame Church in Paris topples, the result of a fire raging below, now, thankfully, out.

John Rogers is an economics professor at the American International College in Springfield, who also owns a home in Paris.

"It's just terrible," Rogers tells us. "If you took the subway, which is basically how you get around in Paris, it would take you fifteen minutes."

He tells Western Mass News its not just those with ties to the French who are being burned here.

"A tragedy for the city of Paris," continued Rogers. "For the Catholic Church, the country of France, and the whole world."

Each year, fourteen million people visit the church.

Rogers has been one of them in the past. He says history in part is what's bringing people back.

"You can see this structure built 800 years ago, but," says Rogers. "It was still functioning, still being used, still being visited, [and] people still going to church there. It's a living history. It's not a dead history."

Fortunately, some of the more recognizable relics have been saved, like the Crown of Thorns, believed to have been placed on the head of Jesus during his crucifixion.

"You can just marvel at the gothic structure, these big, high walls," stated Rogers.

He says this building of history may be able to create a new chapter when the Olympics come to Paris in 2024.

"You open the Olympics, maybe," adds Rogers. "Right there in the entrance to the Cathedral. Where Charles de Gaulle came in in 1944 and Paris was liberated and had a mass. You could do the same thing in 2024."  

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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