Priceless Crown of Thorns saved from Notre-Dame fire by human chain
The catastrophic fire which engulfed the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris yesterday has claimed its roof, toppled the spire and has compromised the remaining structure of the building.
Deputy mayor of the city, Emmanuel Gregoire, issued a statement revealing that the iconic monument had suffered "colossal damages", and that emergency services are attempting to salvage the art and other priceless treasures which were stored inside the cathedral.
Notre-Dame housed some of Christianity's most sacred relics, including the Crown of Thorns, which Jesus Christ was believed to have worn during the crucifixion. But thankfully, this item - as well as some of its other precious relics - have survived the blaze, according to Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris.
"Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents who realized tonight a formidable human chain to save the works of #OurDame. The crown of thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place," Hidalgo wrote on Twitter.
Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, the cathedral’s rector also confirmed to The New York Times that the Crown of Thorns was left unscathed, along with the tunic of Saint Louis and "a collection of chalices."
Per the Daily Mail, Father Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Firefighters, informed reporters that he went into the "burning cathedral to save the Blessed Sacrament and Crown of Thorns."
The building itself is also significant, being a masterpiece of gothic architecture. "The two towers of the cathedral are saved, but two-thirds of the roof has been ravaged," wrote the French language newspaper, LeMonde, detailing that General Jean-Claude Gallet, commander of the Paris Fire Brigade, confirmed that the overarching structure was "saved and preserved in its entirety".
However, Chauvet, did tell The New York Times that the fate of several "sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows and liturgical art and relics — remained unclear."
Some of the cathedral's famous gargoyles are also another potential casualty.
Inside Notre-Dame as the fire swept through the cathedral:
Finally, there are reports that at least one of Note-Dame's famed rose windows survived the blaze. They are, however, most likely damaged. According to The New York Times, a bishop of the Archdiocese of Paris, Benoist de Sinety, claimed that
"high heat had damaged the windows, melting the lead that held their panes in place."