Chaplain formed human chain to save revered Crown of Thorns from being destroyed in Notre Dame fire
Jean-Marc Fournier, a chaplain with the Paris fire brigade, risked his life when he rushed back into the blazing cathedral in order to rescue the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns relics.
French priest Jean-Marc Fournier had comforted the victims of the 2015 IS terror attack in Paris, and was seen praying over the fallen of the Bataclan club massacre that left 90 people dead. Fournier, the chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, was once again hailed as a hero when he rushed into the burning Notre Dame cathedral on Monday and helped retrieve the Crown of Thorns, a religious relic dating back to the 13th century.
According to reports, he also rescued the Blessed Sacrament, the devotional name for the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the form of consecrated bread and wine.
It was feared that both the prestigious religious artifacts would be lost in the flames that engulfed the medieval building when Father Fournier managed to save the day and ensure that the artifacts were placed at a safe place.
According to the editor of KTO Catholic television network, Etienne Loraillere, Fournier "went with the firefighters into Notre Dame Cathedral to save the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament." This was later confirmed by an emergency services source.
The source shared, "Father Fournier is an absolute hero. 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." Fournier, in his 50s, while in the armed forces diocese earlier was involved in an ambush in Afghanistan in which 10 soldiers were killed.
The 'Crown of Thorns' is one of Notre Dame's most prized and valuable possessions which is believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ on the cross when he was crucified. It is believed that during the Crusades in 1238, Latin Emperor of Constantinople gave it to King Louis IX to try and win his support and also preserve his falling empire.
Even though the crown itself had been saved from the blaze, a small fragment of it had been kept in the spire, which burnt and collapsed during the blaze. Many priceless relics were salvaged from the burning cathedral when firefighters formed a human chain inside the building to retrieve invaluable items that were still inside the building as the fire raged.
Other artifacts which were saved include the tunic of Saint Louis which dates back to the 13th Century.
On November 13, 2015 during the Paris terror attack, Father Fournier had rushed into the Bataclan club when ISIS militants murdered around 89 people using guns and explosives. Fournier was seen praying over the dead and comforted the people who were injured or had lost a loved one.
At the time, Father Fournier had said, "I gave collective absolution, as the Catholic Church authorizes me."