A Historical Timeline of Notre Dame Cathedral – EpicPew

A Historical Timeline of Notre Dame Cathedral

In light of the recent tragic fire, here’s a look at the incredible history surrounding the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

1160: The Basilica of Saint Étienne (which was built on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter) torn down to make way for the Cathedral of Notre Dame

1163: Cornerstone laid by Pope Alexander III

1177: Choir completed

1182: High Altar consecrated

1225: Western facade completed

1240: North Tower completed

1245–1260s: Transepts remodelled in the rayonnant style by Jean de Chelles then Pierre de Montreuil

1250: Western towers, north rose window, and south tower completed

14th Century: New flying buttresses added to apse and choir

1345: Construction completed

1413: A large statue of St. Christopher is erected

1431: Henry VI, the King of England crowned King of France as well

1548: Huguenots damaged some of the statues

17th Century: Restoration is done under the wishes of King Louis XIII; first organ is installed

1643–1774: Numerous alterations made to the Cathedral; the sanctuary was re-arranged; the choir was largely rebuilt in marble, and many of the stained glass windows from the 12th and 13th century were removed and replaced with white glass windows, to bring more light into the church.

1786: Statue of St. Christopher destroyed

1804: Napoleon crowns himself emperor inside the Cathedral

18th Century: Wind-damaged spire removed

1793: The Cathedral is rededicated to the Cult of Reason during the French Revolution.

The French Revolution: The Cathedral is again rededicated to the Cult of the Supreme Being; many treasures of the Cathedral were destroyed or plundered; the heads of the 28 statues of Biblical kings were beheaded because they were mistaken for French kings; the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on some altars; With the exception of the statue of Mary on the portal of the cloister, all of the large statues on the facade were destroyed; the Cathedral was also used for food storage and other non-religious purposes during this time

July 1801: Napoleon Bonaparte signs an agreement to return the Cathedral to the Church

April 18, 1802: Formal transfer of the Cathedral back to the Church

December 2, 1804: Napoleon crowns himself emperor inside the Cathedral

May 3, 1814: King Louis XVIII returns to France at the start of the Bourbon Restoration and heads directly to the Cathedral to hear a Te Deum composed by Lesueur

1831: Publication of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame; its success leads to renewed interest in Notre-Dame

1844: King Louis Phillippe orders the restoration of the Cathedral; the restoration lasts 25 years

19th Century: Organ rebuilt 6,900 new pipes added to the 900 pipes from the previous design

20th Century: Electric motors installed to ring the bells

1909: Pope Saint Pius X beatifies Joan of Arc in the Cathedral

1935: Three relics are placed in the spire: Part of the Crown of Thorns and relics of Paris’ two patrons Sts. Denis and Genivieve

World War II: 13th-century rose windows removed out of fear of Nazi vandalism or looting

August 1944: During the liberation of Paris, several stray bullets cause minor damage to the exterior of the Cathedral; some of the medieval glass windows were damaged and replaced with windows featuring modern, abstract designs

August 26, 1944: Special Mass to celebrate the liberation of Paris from the Germans; Generals Charles De Gaulle and Philippe Leclerc attend

April 16, 1945: US soldiers fill the Cathedral for a memorial service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt

1963: To commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral, the exterior of the Cathedral is cleaned of centuries of soot and grime, restoring it to its original off-white color

January 19, 1969: A North Vietnamese flag flies from the spire following negotiations of a possible cease-fire in the Vietnam War

1977: A nearby excavation finds the heads from the statues that were beheaded in the French Revolution

1991: Major cleaning and restoration begins; stones damaged by air pollution replaced; discreet system of wires placed on the roof to deter pigeons

1992: Organ computerized

August 22, 1997: Founder of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Frédéric Ozanam is beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in the Cathedral

2013: Year-long celebrations to mark the 850th anniversary of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame

2014: The lighting in the Cathedral is updated

November 15, 2015: The national prayer service for the victims of the Paris terror attack is held in the Cathedral

April 15, 2019: Notre-Dame Cathedral catches fire