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Notre Dame to miss first Christmas in centuries

by Heather Preston

Notre Dame Cathedral will be closed over the Christmas period for the first time since the French Revolution, to undergo repairs.

The iconic Cathedral which remained open during the First and Second World War will not be holding its Midnight Mass service as work begins to mend its roof and spire which were destroyed in an accidental fire in April.

Worshippers will instead be re-directed to the Saint-Germain l´Auxerrois church, near the Louvre for their Christmas celebrations and any further services as restoration of the historic landmark is prioritised. 

"This is the first time since the French Revolution that there will be no midnight Mass (at Notre Dame)," cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet told Associated Press.

There was even a Christmas service amid the carnage of World War I, Chauvet said, "because the canons were there and the canons had to celebrate somewhere."

"There was no problem," during World War II either, adding that to his knowledge the only time the Cathedral had been closed for Christmas was after 1789, when anti-Catholic French revolutionaries turned the monument into "a temple of reason."

A midnight service will be led by Chauvet on 24th December at Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois accompanied by members of the Notre Dame choir.

To symbolise the church's connection to Notre Dame, a wooden liturgical platform has been constructed to resemble one found in the burnt Cathedral.

The iconic Gothic sculpture 'The Virgin of Paris,' which is thought to have given Notre Dame its name, is also on display at the Saint-Germain church.

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