A huge fire has engulfed the 19th-Century basilica of Saint-Donatien in the city of Nantes in western France.
Reverend Benoit Bertrand said the blaze broke out on Monday after morning Mass, with worshipers evacuated from the building.
Rev Betrand said: “I see flames still escaping”.
The fire spread quickly, ravaging the rooftop of the historic building, as fire-fighters in their numbers were deployed to the scene to try and extinguish the flames.
The blaze reportedly broke out at 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT), but the cause has not yet been established.
The Basilica of Saint Donatien was consecrated in 1889.
The other main church in Nantes, the Cathedral of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul, suffered a similar roof fire in 1972 just 28 years after it was damaged during World War Two.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has strongly condemned the outrageous and senseless attack on St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Kaduna which took place today; Sunday during the morning mass.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mallam Imam Imam, Tambuwal added that the attack on said innocent worshippers and other bystanders is both callous and senseless.
He urged Nigerians to remain resolute and not to despair, saying it is gladdening that security agents made commendable strides in handling the menace of terrorism in the country in recent months.
He however urged them to do more to destroy the ability of the terrorists to unleash mayhem on innocent, peaceful and law-abiding Nigerians.
While condoling with the families of the victims of the attack, the Speaker said the House of Representatives will continue to support all efforts aimed at securing lives and properties of Nigerians in all parts of the country.