By Metropolitan Chrysostomos III of Mani
About two months ago we saw with great sadness the tragic day when the fire engulfed the Notre-Dame Cathedral, this unique monument not only of the European but also of the world heritage.
An outstanding art monument that lasted nine centuries and has been visited by millions of people from all over the world.
However, there is another view for one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, which inspired Victor Hugo and many other figures of the arts and literature.
This point of view goes beyond a rational misapprehension or an exaggerated expression of respect. In this regard, Notre-Dame Cathedral is not just a tourist attraction.
It is a place of worship, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, where you can attend Divine Liturgies since the 12th century, hear divine sermons, listen to wonderful choirs chanting , and an important pastoral action site.
When, as it was reported, the disaster, “broken the heart of France” and spontaneously the people chanted Ave Maria and the bells of all the churches and even those of the Abbey of Westemstern were tolling as if it were a funeral. This event has a deeper meaning.
Teacher Maro Prevelaki, a special scientist of the Sorbonne University, said, “Notre-Dame Cathedral highlighted a strong religious sentiment suppressed by the laïcité and bringing other needs and other values to the foreground.”
And Evangelos Andrianos, honorary Areopagite, wrote, “The presence of the people who prays, chants, cries in front of his wounded Notre-Dame proves how much the “intellectuals” disregarded the people’s needs and reality by deleting from the European Constitution Christianity as a factor and pillar of European culture.”
As a result, this tragic event brings to the surface the issue of Christianity in Europe. It is widely known that Europe’s culture was based on classical Greek culture, Roman law and Christianity.
However, the foundations of Christianity in modern era are shaken. Of course, there have been deviations and distortions of the Christian ideal and the teaching of the Gospel, but these objectionable opinions cannot be the springboard to invalidate the major contribution of Christian civilization.
We must not tolerate secularization that lead to dechristianization.
Secularization in its various forms does not ultimately contribute to ennoble the soul of humankind and the European citizen. Modern humankind is still hurt. It lives with insecurity, uncertainty, permanent denial and nihilism, and remains unsatisfied, anxious with many complexes still haunting it.
This is because technical culture cannot, on its own, support human existence. Humankind also needs the spiritual culture of Christianity.
It is time for an essential re-Christianization of Europe, based on biblical, liturgical and patristic sources. Human values are imperative to be brought back to the living God, not by an external subordination, as was the case in the Middle Ages, but with freedom and honor in the humankind.
I would say that Notre-Dame de Paris now speaks to all the new MEPs and her message is one: Europe must find its forgotten Christian identity if Europe wants to survive. This is the other point of view.