As the fire raged on the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris Monday, firefighters and cops were able to save Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns by forming a human chain.
While the fire ravaged the 850-year-old landmark, Parisian firefighters and cops came together to rescue priceless relics, which included the crown of thorns, the blessed sacrament and the tunic of Saint Louis. Catholics believe Jesus wore the crown of thorns on his head as he was crucified.
Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted the news Monday night as well as a photo showing the items in safe keeping.
“The Crown of Thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place,” Hidalgo said.
Jean-Francois Martins, who is in charge of tourism and sport in Paris, recalled how the relics were saved as he spoke to “CBS This Morning” Tuesday.
"We made a human chain, with our friends from the church... to get, as quick as possible, to get all the relics," he said. “Thanks to the great bravery of all our firefighters, and as well all the public servants there, we had a very quick intervention. Very quickly a team was fully dedicated to save all these holy pieces, and specifically the relics and the crown. Everything is safe and undamaged, and in our really bad day, we had one good news."
The chaplain of Paris' fire department was one of the people who helped save the artifacts, according to reports.
French Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters that artifacts saved from the cathedral have been transferred to the Louvre Museum for safekeeping.
The blaze, which started Monday evening, is believed to be due to construction at the cathedral but an investigation will determine the exact cause.
The inferno collapsed the iconic spire, which was erected in the 13th century and recreated in the 19th century. Also collapsed was one of the iconic rectangular towers in the front of the building.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media.
The first stone of the iconic Catholic church was laid in 1163, and Notre Dame has been the center of religious and cultural life in France. During the French Revolution in the 1790s, the church was desecrated with the destroying of religious imagery.
Over its 850 years, the cathedral has been the site of the crowning of kings, the marriage of nobles, and the celebration of the liberation of Paris.