Powerful image shows cross shining through wreckage at Notre Dame Cathedral

A photo of a gilded cross gleaming through the smoke and haze after a fire ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has proven to be a symbol of hope following an unspeakable tragedy.

The world watched in horror on Monday as a massive blaze ripped through the centuries-old church, gutting and destroying the roof of the French landmark, including its iconic spire.

As firefighters worked tirelessly to save the historic structure, a photograph was taken of the altar, in which a large, golden cross can be seen reflecting light amid charred debris and rising smoke. 

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Massive fire damages Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
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Massive fire damages Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
Smoke rises around the altar in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Sparks fill the air as Paris fire brigade members spray water to extinguish flames as the Notre Dame Cathedral burns in Paris, France, April 15, 2019. Picture taken April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
General view from the entrance shows smoke rising around the altar in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
Firefighters douse flames from the burning Notre Dame Cathedral as people look on in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Firefighters douse flames from the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Fire fighters douse flames of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fire fighters douse flames of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. (Photo by Pierre Galey / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE GALEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. (Photo by Pierre Galey / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE GALEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Norte Dame reportedly on fire now, Paris: Via @almacy https://t.co/G1FwAvOVGD
Notre Dame, Paris, is on fire and it feels like the end of the world. https://t.co/qYYk7ewipq
Smoke billows as flames destroy the roof of the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019. - A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 15, 2019: Notre-Dame de Paris, a Catholic cathedral founded in the 11th century, has caught fire. Stoyan Vassev/TASS (Photo by Stoyan Vassev\TASS via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Flames burn the roof of the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. - A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Plumes of smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. - A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Seen from across the Seine River, smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A still image taken from a video shows flames and thick smoke billowing from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS TV/via REUTERS
Smoke billows from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out, in Paris, France, April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Julie Carriat
Smoke billows from Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out, in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A still image taken from a video shows flames and thick smoke billowing from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS TV/via REUTERS
A view shows scaffolding around the spire of Notre-Dame cathedral during restoration work in Paris, France, April 11, 2019. Picture taken April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
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Promises to rebuild the landmark began even before the fire had been extinguished, with French President Emmanuel Macron announcing an international fundraising effort to pay for reconstruction.

“We will rebuild Notre Dame, because that is what the French expect," he said Monday evening.

As of Tuesday afternoon, millions of dollars in small donations have poured in to fund the project via multiple French and American charities.

French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, husband of actress Salma Hayek, pledged to donate 100 million euros ($113 million) to help reconstruct the cathedral.

A "long and complex investigation" into the origin of the fire will be conducted, according to Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz, but for now, it is being considered an accident possibly related to an ongoing construction project at the cathedral.

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