By Yusuf Ozcan
PARIS (AA) - French President Emmanuel Macron invited Pope Francis to visit his country during a telephone call Thursday after one of the country’s landmarks was damaged by fire this week.
Macron said the pope accepted and would come when he has the time.
The French leader made the remarks while receiving firemen whom he thanked and praised at the Elysee Palace who worked during the Notre Dame cathedral fire.
“Thank you for the risk you took. You have become a good example to the France and all world,” he said.
The Vatican describes Notre Dame as "the symbol of Christianity in France.”
Notre Dame was severely damaged by a major fire Monday before being extinguished after an eight-and-a-half hour effort by 500 firemen.
The inferno engulfed the popular landmark, destroying the iconic spire and the roof, and caused heavy damage to the interior.
Firefighters were able to put out the blaze and prevent the whole structure from being destroyed. French authorities have ruled out arson and any terror-related motives as the cause of the fire.
So far, about €688 million ($766 million) has been donated to rebuild the cathedral.
* Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic