In this blue hour photo by Paris-based Filipino photographer Jan Levent, the Notre-Dame Cathedral stands majestic as "one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture". A Unesco World Heritage site, it lost its spire and roof to a fire on Tuesday.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa (AVPP) is urging the Catholic faithful to pray for the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris which was hit by a massive fire Tuesday.

In a Facebook page post via AVPP Ugnayan, the Vicariate’s official social media account, Bishop Socrates Mesiona said expressed sadness over the 850-year-old Gothic building whose spire and roof were gutted by the fire that started around 6:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. GMT) in France.

“I am deeply saddened to watch the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire. Traditionally, France is considered as the oldest daughter of the Catholic Church and Notre Dame Cathedral is the symbol of her deep Christian roots,” Mesiona said.

Inside the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris before it was destroyed by a fire on April 16. (Photo from Paris-based Filipino photographer Jan Levent)

The fire incident came at a time when the Catholic Church is preparing for the celebration of the Holy Week.

International news reports claimed an estimated 500 firefighters in Paris worked to stop the fire from destroying the whole church structure and some important relics.

“I urge, therefore, our Catholic faithful in the Vicariate of Puerto Princesa to express our closeness through prayer with our older sister of faith at this trying time,” Mesiona said.

Also known as Notre-Dame de Paris, it is one of the two most visited national symbols in France, receiving over 13 million visitors annually.

The other frequented structure is the Eiffel Tower.