Nadieszda Kizenko, professor of history and director of religious studies at the University at Albany, and expert in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, is available to discuss the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.

In reflecting about the historical significance of Notre Dame, she said:

“It is not only a masterpiece of Gothic architecture; it is central to French history. Most people know about it because of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and its gorgeous rose windows. It is not surprising that is perhaps the most visited place in the world.”

“To Parisians, the French, and so many others, Notre Dame has played an important role in Christian piety. It not only contained important relics and statues; it was also a unique location of prayer. I believe many people, including those who are not Roman Catholic, have prayed their hardest there. Sharing their most beloved and deepest secrets. It was a tragedy for the start of Holy Week — but, given how much survived, what a wonderful way to greet the rebirth of Easter.”

Kizenko has worked in archives in Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, and France. Kizenko lectures and publishes widely on religion in the Russian empire. She received her bachelor's and doctorate degrees in Russian history from Harvard and Columbia.

View her University expert bio to learn more.