For the first time in 213 years, there will be no Christmas mass at Notre Dame here. Since 1803, the iconic gothic cathedral has hosted a Christmas mass but the devastating inferno of 15 April has put the tradition on hold, Efe news reported.
Instead, the mass officiated by Dean Patrick Chauvet has moved to the church of Saint Germain l'Auxerrois. That church is one kilometre away and has since become the replacement cathedral of Notre Dame and has hosted Sunday Mass under the archbishop of the city, Michel Aupetit.
"The scaffolding continues to pose a threat," he said on Tuesday in an interview with the radio RTL station. Chauvet added that it will take "several months" to carefully dismantle it so that the whole of the cathedral does not suffer.
There are 500 tons of metal scaffolding tubes that must be removed one by one. Once the task is completed, the condition of the vaults that were subjected to temperatures between 900 and 1,000 degrees during the fire, will be assessed.
It will be necessary to wait for the spring to outline a calendar for the next phase of restoration work that will not begin until early 2021, Aupetit warned in an interview with Le Parisien. Some 85 million euros will be spent on the consolidation phase alone.
For now, donation pledges of around 900 million euros from 110 countries continue to trickle in, according to Chauvet. "That shows that there is an affective dimension" with Notre Dame, "the heart of France and the history of France," he said.
General Jean-Louis Georgelin, who heads the reconstruction of Notre Dame, has said the cathedral will aim to open again on 16 April 2024, five years after the fire.