News from Europe

Church volunteer confesses to arson of cathedral in French city of Nantes

A church volunteer has confessed to setting fire to a medieval cathedral in the French city of Nantes earlier this month, badly damaging the Gothic worship space. The unnamed 39-year-old Rwandan man had previously been detained and questioned by authorities and then was again detained for further questioning when he confessed.


“He confessed to the allegations against him which, as the prosecutor indicated, are causing destruction and damage by fire,” said his lawyer, Quentin Chabert, as reported by the Associated Press. “He regrets the facts. That is certain. He is in a sort of repentance.”

The volunteer had been tasked with locking up the cathedral. He set three fires, two to the two organs and one to an electrical box.

The motive remains unknown, according to AP. Officially known as the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral, the Nantes sanctuary was the subject of an arson attack on July 18 that damaged an organ and stained glass windows.

It took around one hundred firefighters about three hours to contain the fire, which did not spread to the roof in large part because a fire in 1972 led the church to replace it with concrete.



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