Pope Francis prays for Catholics in France after Notre Dame fire

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has assured Catholics in France and those affected by the fire that ravaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame on Monday evening of his prayers.

Interim Director of the Vatican Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, in a tweet on Tuesday morning, said the Pope was praying for “all those who are striving to cope with this tragic situation.”

Moments after the blaze began, Gissotti tweeted that the Vatican was shocked at the incident, calling the Cathedral of Notre Dame “a symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.”

The fire raged for over 12 hours before firefighters were able to put it out. The 856-year-old Cathedral lost its timbered roofing in the incident.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has been opened.

Many of the Cathedral’s treasures were saved – twin bell towers, Crown of Thrones which Jesus wore during his passion, the tunic believed to have been worn by the 13th century king of France, St. Louis, among others.

The Vatican has also said it is willing to offer technical know-how to help rebuild and restore the devastated cathedral of Notre Dame.

Culture minister of the Vatican, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, told journalists on Tuesday of the Holy See’s willingness to support the rebuilding of Notre Dame.

“I think one of the greatest contributions the Holy See can make … will be above a technical one because we have, for example, the Vatican Museums. We have the type of know-how that the whole world recognises as being of a high quality.

“That is why I think an eventual future offer by the Holy See will be significant. We could take part in some specific areas (of restoration),” he said.