KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As Parisians grieve over the destruction at Notre Dame, churches here in Knoxville feel their pain.
Saint George Greek Orthodox Church suffered its own devastating fire and has spent the last four years rebuilding what they lost.
"It was heartbreaking," member Lori Liakonis said. "Seeing the images of that beautiful church brought back a lot of raw emotions."
It was four years ago this month that she and other church members watched their sanctuary engulfed in flames.
They know better than anyone what people are feeling and what lies ahead.
"It's hard to explain the pain of losing a church building, the place of peace and comfort," Liakonis said.
Parishioners were able to save and restore many of their holy artifacts, and they hope Notre Dame can do the same.
"There's a lot of things we are keeping around here that have been damaged, we have learned that's not a bad thing. We are still here, our resolve is stronger than ever. We have been through tragedy together and it has strengthened us," Liakonis said.
After years of hard work, there's a fresh coat of paint and the memorable mosaics have been restored.
"The rebuilding process is not easy, it just is a painstaking process," Liakonis said. "The construction feels like it has taken forever but we are so close, it's only a matter of time before the woodwork is installed and the pews. We hope to get back into our church in a matter of months."
Though the damage can be disheartening, the faith of the people is always stronger.
"It has reminded us of God's love for us and that it isn't about a church building, but about just the love we have for each other and our faith," Liakonis said.
Saint George's building committee said Notre Dame may face one challenge in the rebuild. Many of the designers and architects who know how to do this kind of specialty construction are no longer living.