Notre Dame's iconic rooster 'miraculously' survives despite fire completely destroying spire
The iconic metal rooster which perched on top of Notre Dame Cathedral's spire was found amidst the rubble on Tuesday and, in what has been described as "an absolute miracle", the rooster was spared from excessive damage.
The sculpture of the rooster, an unofficial symbol of France, was recovered on Tuesday by a restorer picking through the debris.
Speaking to The Telegraph, about the condition, a Ministry of Culture spokesman said that it was dented, but could be restored. "The fear was that it had been burnt and melted in the fire," he added.
The rooster was of primary concern as it contains religious relics, including one of the 70 thorns of the Holy Crown of Jesus Christ, along with remnants linked to St. Denis, the former Bishop of Paris and St. Genvieve, the patron saint of the French capital.
But with the extent of the damage unknown, it is unclear if the relics were still inside, and the rooster has been handed over to religious authorities.
Le Parisen quoted an official who explained that the rooster statue had detached from the spire as it fell and had "fallen on the good side, away from the fire."
Bishop Patrick Chauvet said that the 850-year-old structure would take at least five to six years to be rebuilt after a blaze torched the roof and brought down its spire.
President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, has said that he wanted the cathedral to be rebuilt in five years, whilst terming it as a challenge, and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a global architects competition to rebuild the spire.
The President of the French Building Federation, Jacques Chanut, shared a picture of the damaged rooster on Twitter.
Astonishingly, the towers that stand guard over the entrance and the immortal bells have managed to be in one piece. So was the golden crucifix that was still shining at the altar, which atheists across took to social media to describe as a "poignant" symbol of defiance.
While at the same time, the incident seemed to have triggered a sense of spirituality, even if it lasted only for a few hours.
Authorities, however, had more earthly considerations, one of it being the need to determine the cause. The key issue, however, would be the cost. Under French Law, the ownership of the cathedral rests with the state, but it saw pledges coming in millions and the figure as of Wednesday stands at a billion euros.
Meanwhile, tributes kept pouring in from across the world, including some from eminent personalities. The Queen too expressed her sympathy. "Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral," she told President Macron. "My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the cathedral and all of France at this difficult time."
The Prince of Wales too added that for the rest of the world outside of France, the Notre-Dame represents one of the greatest architectural achievements of Western civilization: "It is a treasure for all mankind."