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Poland ready to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after fire: PM

Poland is ready to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after the iconic edifice was ravaged by a blaze, the Polish prime minister declared on Tuesday.

Referring to the ancient building, which was partly destroyed by a massive fire that erupted just before 7 pm on Monday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a news conference in Warsaw: “It’s our European, Christian heritage; these are the foundations of Europe.”

He added that Poland was ready to help reconstruct the cathedral, “but everything depends on the French authorities.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda said in a Twitter post on Monday that the devastating fire at the famous cathedral in the heart of Paris was “a tragedy for religious people and a disaster for world culture.”

Duda was writing as Notre Dame, one of the world’s most iconic churches, erupted in flames and was being gutted by fire in the French capital on Monday evening.

The blaze engulfed the entire roof of the 856-year-old cathedral and spread to its wooden interior and one of the towers before it was put out by firefighters in the early hours of Tuesday. The cathedral’s 93-metre spire, one of the landmarks of Paris, collapsed after it was consumed by the flames.

Poland’s Culture Minister Piotr Gliński was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Poland could support France in rebuilding Notre Dame not only financially, but also with the work of its heritage conservation professionals.

“Apart from funds, we above all have the know-how and great traditions in terms of what is known as the school of Polish conservation, and we are now able to offer such assistance to France,” he said.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymański told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Tuesday morning that Europeans should pool efforts to rebuild the Paris cathedral as a gesture of solidarity.

“The cathedral has demonstrated that it is a spiritual centre of Europe,” said Szymański, who is Poland’s deputy foreign minister in charge of European affairs.

Meanwhile, the Polish president’s chief of staff, Krzysztof Szczerski, said on Tuesday that a copy of an iconic Polish Black Madonna painting—known as the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa—and relics of St. John Paul II—the Polish-born pope who was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in 2014—have been spared in the fire in Paris.

The Polish items were placed at Notre Dame Cathedral in December, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

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