Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has sent a message of support and condolence to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over the massive fire at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.
Writing in French on social media, Niinistö said “Finland shares the sadness in the face of this terrible fire at Notre-Dame cathedral. Our thoughts are with France and Parisians”.
A fire broke out in the medieval church, which can trace its earliest roots back to the mid-1100’s, on Monday evening and some nine hours later when firefighters were able to get the blaze under control the roof and spire had collapsed.
Rescue workers were able to save many priceless relics and artworks inside, and the main exterior structure of the gothic cathedral remains standing. President Macron, who visited Finland late last summer, says France will rebuild the cathedral.
Finnish organist Kalevi Kiviniemi, who has played at the cathedral several times, tells Finnish media that the Notre-Dame Stradivarius organ is one of the world’s finest instruments.
He says it would be would be a catastrophic loss not just for religion or the Catholic Church but also for art, if the organ was lost in the fire.