WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral on the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral.

All of us at Washington National Cathedral send our prayers and support to the people of Paris and across the world who love and care for Notre-Dame de Paris. Today’s fire is a tragedy beyond words. In a matter of hours, 850 years of history and culture have been damaged or destroyed.

As first responders work to contain the flames and bring the situation under control, we pray for their safety. We lift up all those who will take on the great work of conservation and restoration once the flames have subsided.

Washington National Cathedral is among a small sisterhood of globally recognizable Gothic cathedrals. We’re among an even smaller group that has suffered damage in recent years from natural disaster or other unexpected events. Today we stand in solidarity with the people of Notre-Dame de Paris. Our hearts are breaking for their loss, but we know that this great cathedral has touched and inspired millions of people around the world, and that impact can never be destroyed.

Almighty God, throughout the ages, you have moved the faithful to build houses of prayer and praise. We now offer our prayers for Notre-Dame de Paris that this sacred place of Word and Sacrament, comfort and healing, may survive the fire. We pray for the safety of firefighters and first responders as they try to contain the damage.  We also pray for the clergy, staff and worshipers who are present at this time. Comfort the people of Paris, and all whose hearts have been broken by this tragic event. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Washington National Cathedral, continuing to work to restore the damage caused by the 2011 earthquake, is in the midst of an extensive fire and life safety upgrade as a part of our ongoing restoration work. It continues to seek the support of both major and individual donors to complete this work. To learn more visit:  https://cathedralorg.wpengine.com/earthquake/

Monday’s Evensong at 5:30 p.m. will include a prayer for Notre-Dame de Paris and there will be a copy of this prayer in St. John’s Chapel for those who want to light a candle for the church community in Paris.

CONTACT: Meredith MacKenzie, West End Strategy Team • (202) 776-7703 • [email protected]