Hero priest saves relics and artwork from fire

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Fr. Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Firefighters, went into the blaze with firefighters to save the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns.

Although the damage to Notre Dame is extensive, a number of irreplaceable relics and art were saved from the blaze.

Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters “the most precious treasures” of Paris’ cathedral were rescued from the fire that broke out Monday, tearing through the roof and collapsing the spire.

Among the safe treasures are the crown of thorns and the tunic of Saint Louis, a shirt said to have been worn by Louis IX, who died on crusade in Algeria. The crown of thorns, believed by some to be the circlet of thorns worn by Jesus Christ at the crucifixion, was reportedly saved in part by Jean-Marc Fournier, the chaplain of Paris fire brigade. Paris’ 15th district mayor Philippe Goujon said Fournier demanded to be let into the burning building so he could retrieve the holy relic.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted that firefighters, police and other city workers “made a tremendous human chain” to pass the items out of the cathedral and to safety.

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