Crown of Thorns relic paraded from Notre Dame to Sainte Chapelle in Paris
A relic venerated by Christians as the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus was paraded on Friday in Paris from Notre Dame Cathedral to the dazzling Gothic chapel built to house it in the 13th century. The relic rarely leaves the cathedral and its return to the Sainte Chapelle, a medieval gem known for its soaring stained glass windows, and the Mass said to celebrate it were the first such events there since the 1789 French Revolution.
The French Catholic Church staged the procession, the start of a weekend of ceremonies, to mark the 800th anninversary of the birth of Saint Louis, who as King Louis IX bought the relic in 1239 from Baldwin II, the cash-strapped Latin Emperor of Constantinople, and brought it to Paris. Installed in Sainte Chapelle, which was finished in 1248, it stayed there until the Revolution.
During the revolt against throne and altar, it was moved to the Bibliotheque Nationale (National Libriary) but returned to the Church by Napoleon in 1806. It was placed in Notre Dame and has only left that cathedral two earlier times, in 1939 and 1997, when it was displayed at the World Youth Day attended by the late Pope John Paul II .
Notre Dame Cathedral says on its website: “Despite numerous studies and historical and scientific research efforts, its authenticity cannot be certified. It has been the object of more than sixteen centuries of fervent Christian prayer.”
The relic is stored at the back of Notre Dame, barely visible in an elaborate reliquary, but it is presented to believers for veneration on the first Friday of each month and every Friday during Lent.
Here are videos from KTO, the cable television channel of the Archdiocese of Paris. Commentary is in French but the pictures are worth it even if you don’t understand it.
First vespers and the procession from Notre Dame:
Here is procession into the Palais de Justice, next to Sainte Chapelle, and into the chapel. Views inside the chapel begin at 22:00. Paris Cardinal Archbishop André Vignt-Trois celebrated the Mass.