Notre Dame in Flames

A sad beginning to Holy Week, but a reminder that all flesh is dust and that our greatest cathedrals are as nothing before the love of our God.  Having said that, my heart aches at eight centuries of history burning before our eyes.


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  1. Here is a way to hear the Cathedral bells toll:

  2. I fear the greatest loss will be the glass – Although the rose window at the West End appears intact.

    Many of the artifacts had been removed for the restoration work and the Crown of Thorns and the tunic of St Louis were rescued and removed to the Hôtel de Ville.

    Already Francois-Henri Pinault, the owner of Gucci and Yves Saint-Laurent has pledge 100 m euros for the restoration fund, I am sure the first of many. One recalls the inscription on the Hôtel de Ville – Non orbis gentem, non urbem gens habet ullam
    – ulla parem: The Earth has no such people and no people have such a city.

  3. Apparently, the 800-year old Virgin of Paris (Notre Dame de Paris, the dedicatory image of the cathedral and one of the glories of Gothic sculpture has been saved.

    It has been called “the Palladium of Paris” – what the image of Athena Polias [Ἀθηνᾶ Πολιάς] was to the Athenians.

  4. A sign of our times. The Church is burning fueled by the dryness of the faith of so many Catholic laity and clergy.

  5. Thanks MPS for this great information. Is the crown of thorns believed to be that from Our Lords Passion or just a replica? Why is it housed at Notre Dame?

    I thought when I read the news this morning, that the fire was a hoax. I can not believe this happened. This Church is a testimate to Centuries of Western Christian Civilisation. Without these Cathedrals and Churches we have no physical reminder of our Christian heritage. I felt moved by images of the people of Paris singing in the streets and clutching their Rosaries. France there is still hope for you yet.

  6. Michael-
    if it is a sign of our times, then keep in mind those singing the Ave while it burned, the fire chaplain who rushed in for the Body and relics, and the surviving Pieta inside of the cathedral, below the golden cross.

  7. Ezabelle asks, “Is the crown of thorns believed to be that from Our Lords Passion or just a replica? Why is it housed at Notre Dame?”

    It is believed to be the Crown of Thorns discovered by St Helena and long preserved in Constantinople.

    In 1238, Baldwin II, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, gifted it to St Louis IX, no doubt in the hope of winning French support.

    The gift was not a particularly generous one, as the Crown was in pawn to the Venetians and all St Louis received was, in effect, the pawn ticket. It cost 13,134 gold bezants to redeem it.

    St Louis built the Sainte-Chapelle to receive it, where it remained until the Revolution. Notre-Dame received it under the Concordat of 1801. Napoléon himself commissioned a special reliquary for it

    The church of Saint-Germain-des-Près (my parish church when I am in Paris) already had one of the thorns. It was given by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century to St Germain. This is the relic involved in the miracle de la Sainte-Epine when on 24 March 1656, Pascal’s niece, Marguerite Perier was cured of a fistula lacrymarum at the convent school of Port-Royal. The cure was witnessed by her aunt, Sœur Euphemie, (Jacqueline Pascal, his sister) It led to Pascal’s conversion and he wore ever after a seal, the device of which was a crown of thorns, from which emanated rays of light. Underneath was this motto: “Scio cui credidi.” (II Tim. 1:12) “I know in whom I have believed.”

  8. Thanks for this Michael. I had no idea it was housed at Notre Dame till now. It’s strange how for centuries it was the political bargaining tool of various Empires because they regarded its preciousness and value. Yet today, it seems that it sits dormant in one of the greatest Cathedral, only to be spoken about when catastrophes like this occur. It makes me want to know about the Holy Relics of Jesus and where they currently reside. I feel there is not enough awareness of them.

  9. Ezabelle

    The Crown of thorns is exposed for veneration in Notre Dame every first Friday of the month and every Friday in Lent.

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