Nantes, France (Wednesday, 06-17-2015, Gaudium Press) The Basilica of Saint Donatien and Saint Rogatien in Nantes has been significantly damaged by a huge fire. As reported by the BBC, the fire started at around 10:30 am local time and is believed to have broken out on the roof of the building in connection with waterproofing work. The fire began at the end of morning mass on Monday, June 15 and worshippers were evacuated from the building. The two workers involved in waterproofing the roof also escaped unharmed.
The basilica of Saint Donatien and Saint Rogartien was constructed in the late 19th Century, and is dedicated to 3rd-century religious martyrs St Donatien and St Rogatien. In a statement posted to Facebook the Mayor of Nantes, Johanna Rolland, described the building as an “important symbol for the entire Catholic Community of Nantes.”
As a result of the fire, large sections of the roof have been completely destroyed, and an area at the rear of the basilica has also been damaged by collapsing beams. Though the fire is now under control, efforts are underway to save the basilica’s precious artifacts, including the organ
The Roman martyrology tells us that Donatien, converted to the Christian faith by Similien, was baptized and Rogatien was only a catechumen. Arrested as Christians, they were subjected to the torture rack, spent their last night to pray together and were beheaded when still very young.
The martyrdom of St. Donatien and St Rogatien, which took place around 304 under Emperor Maximian, both brothers and sons of a magistrate of the city, will mark the arrival of Christianity to the aristocracy of the city of Nantes.
Saint Donatien and Saint Rogatien, called the ‘children of Nantes’, are the first known Christians of Nantes. They are the patrons of the city and of the diocese of Nantes. ” (Rich history – Catholic Church in Loire Atlantique).
One of them, is it reported, had been baptized, but his brother was still a catechumen. In the last moments of his life, Donatien embraced his brother and prayed to God for his brother, since Rogatien had not been yet immersed in the holy bath, so that he could be washed in the flow of his blood.
From the Editor’s desk and Archdaily