Perhaps it’s divine intervention. Many priceless relics, including the revered centuries-old Jesus Christ’s Crown of Thorns and the iconic rose windows, had been miraculously spared in the raging inferno that swept through the 850-year-old Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday.
According to a tweet posted by the French Catholic news network KTO editor Etienne Loraillere, Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, “went with the firefighters into Notre-Dame Cathedral to save the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament.”
The Crown of Thorns is believed to be the wreath of thorns that was placed on Jesus Christ’s head at the time of his crucifixion. And the Blessed Sacrament are items used to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ during church services.
Despite the risk the flaming fires posed, heroic Father Fournier insisted on entering the burning Gothic cathedral to rescue the holy relics.
— Etienne Loraillère ن (@Eloraillere) 15 tháng 4, 2019
Emergency services formed a human chain along with Father Fournier, who safely pulled the treasures out of the blazing historic building.
Paris’s deputy mayor for Tourism and Sports, Jean-Francois Martins told CBS This Morning: “We made a human chain, with our friends from the church… to get, as quick as possible, to get all the relics.”
The Crown of Thorns, originally from Jerusalem, was offered to King Louis IX by Baldwin II, the Latin emperor of Constantinople, in 1238, as per New Advent’s Catholic Encyclopedia. King Louis IX had the Sainte-Chapelle built to house the crown.
Placed in the Notre-Dame Cathedral since 1806, the Crown of Thorns is encased in an elaborate gold container. It is only shown to believers on the first Friday of each month and the Fridays during Lent, as per Byron News.
Other than the Crown of Thorns, the trove of legendary artifacts salvaged from the fire include the tunic, said to have been worn by Saint Louis, King of France during the 13th century.
Additional rescued artwork will be transferred to the Louvre museum, the French culture ministry said.
Miraculously, in spite of the blaze, all three of the iconic 13th-century rose windows had been spared from the fire, the archbishop of Paris told French CNN’s affiliate BFM TV.
“Thanks to the great bravery of all our firefighters, and as well all the public servants there, we had a very quick intervention. Very quickly a team was fully dedicated to save all these holy pieces, and specifically the relics and the crown,” Deputy Mayor for Tourism and Sports Jean-Francois Martins said. “Everything is safe and undamaged, and in our really bad day, we had one good news.”
Father Fournier has also been hailed as a hero for his courageous act.
“Father Fournier is an absolute hero,” said a member of Paris’s emergency services, Sky News reported. “He showed no fear at all as he made straight for the relics inside the cathedral, and made sure they were saved. He deals with life and death every day and shows no fear.”
Netizens also joined in to praise Father Fournier after a photo of him standing outside the charred cathedral spread like wildfire on social media.
These tragedies take your breath away ….and then a blessed servant of the Lord steps up and suddenly you can breath again. Our God is greater.
— Katroo/Realtor (@katroule) 16 tháng 4, 2019
“God chose this Chaplain! He is blessed and surrounded by Divine Grace! Give him thanks!” one Twitter user wrote.
Another commented: “May you all feel the love pouring forth throughout the world for the bravery and teamwork shown today.”
“These tragedies take your breath away ….and then a blessed servant of the Lord steps up and suddenly you can breath again. Our God is greater,” said another.
As a matter of fact, this wasn’t the first time Father Fournier—a Catholic priest in Germany, before coming to France—performed such an extraordinary act of bravery.
As stated by Sky News, Father Fournier joined the Armed Forces diocese in 2004, where he spent seven years serving the Armed Forces from around the globe. In Afghanistan, he survived an ambush that killed 10 soldiers. On Nov. 13, 2015, he rushed inside the Bataclan music venue to pray over the dead and comfort those wounded during the terror attack by ISIS that claimed the lives of 90 people.
Thank you Father Fournier and all other firefighters who put their lives to risk in order to save the precious Crown of Thorns—a reminder of the suffering Christ put himself through to redeem the sins of his people.
Without a shadow of a doubt, these brave servants of the Lord were surrounded by God’s grace and protection as they carried out this sacred task. And it must be divine intervention that helped these precious relics stay intact.
Merci aux @PompiersParis, aux policiers et aux agents municipaux qui ont réalisé ce soir une formidable chaîne humaine pour sauver les œuvres de #NotreDame. La couronne d’épines, la tunique de Saint Louis et plusieurs autres œuvres majeures sont à présent en lieu sûr. pic.twitter.com/cbrGWCbL2N
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) 15 tháng 4, 2019