Many people gathered outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral Monday night to sing hymns in honor of the damaged historic site.
Videos appeared on social media of patrons standing outside the still-smoking cathedral and singing religious songs, according to CNN.
“As evening falls in Paris, crowds are still gathered near Notre Dame as the historic cathedral burns,” according to CNN. “A witness earlier in the day had described an eerie silence; now, the crowd has begun to sing hymns together, many on their knees.”
Specifically, those standing outside the church were singing Catholic hymns to bring people together as a sign of unity.
#NotreDameCathedral: 'Below me there are lots of people gathered singing Ave Maria, singing catholic hymns, trying to bring some kind of unity'@markowenf24 reporting live from the scene pic.twitter.com/ebnPzUM0uV
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) April 15, 2019
OK, I finally lost it completely: Parisians singing hymns as Notre Dame burns. pic.twitter.com/wSeIdQc8qF
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) April 15, 2019
One video showed a group singing “Ave Maria.”
In another video, the church bells of Paris rang for Notre Dame.
— Baptiste Morin (@baptistemor1) April 15, 2019
According to The Associated Press, a fire erupted at the Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday afternoon, engulfing the roof and collapsing the spire. A French fire official said the cathedral was saved from total destruction, although it will take a few more hours to extinguish the flames, CNBC reported.