The ceremony began Friday morning, with Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit entering the cathedral and presenting an important relic, the Crown of Thorns of Christ, which survived the fire.
“A year ago, the cathedral was destroyed. Today the country is ravaged by a pandemic. There’s always a message of hope, and this celebration at the heart of the cathedral will be the sign of our hope,” Aupetit told CNN affiliate BFMTV before the service,.
The 40-minute Friday mass also featured classical musician Renaud Capuçon playing the violin. Actors Philippe Torreton and Judith Chemla, who also sang, delivered readings of Christian texts.
The small group, some wearing masks and hazmat suits, held the Notre Dame ceremony in a secured part of the cathedral in front of a large cross and under a hole in the cathedral’s roof.
Construction at one the world’s most famous cathedrals, which burned down on April 15, 2019, has been put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will possibly resume in 2021 when its safe to do so, Aupetit told BFMTV.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced on March 14 that the country would close all places that are not essential to French living, which includes restaurants, cafes and clubs.
There are over 117,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in France, and more than 12,200 people have died.
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