HOLY WEEK 2019: THE NOTRE DAME FIRE DESTROYING INVALUABLE HERITAGE

by the Team

MONACO. It is too unreal to witness such a monument steeped in history, faith, and culture up in flames. The cathedral of Notre Dame was originally built on the site of a Romanesque church, on the orders of the Bishop of Paris, Maurice Sully, to reflect King Louis VII’s desire to show Paris as the political, economical and cultural heart of France. It was completed in 1345. The finished building showed nearly 200 years’ worth of devotion and attention to detail, yet still it underwent modifications over the following centuries to reflect political and religious sentiments of the time. Certain parts of the cathedral were altered for practical reasons — such as the 12th- and 13th-century stained-glass windows that were replaced to let in more light, while the original spire had to be taken down due to wind damage. Notre Dame not only underwent physical changes — during the French Revolution in 1793 the cathedral was desecrated and turned into a Temple of Reason followed by the Cult of the Supreme Being, with many of its historical artifacts and treasures destroyed or plundered. The statue of the Virgin Mary was even replaced by the Goddess of Liberty on several altars for a period of time. Eventually, during the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, the cathedral was returned to the Catholic Church in 1802. Although the cathedral was in use the 19th century, it was heavily damaged. In 1844, thanks in part to the popular work The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, the cathedral was in the spotlight and King Louis Philippe ordered its restoration, including the addition of a new spire, higher and more elaborate than the original. That same spire fell just before 8 p.m. yesterday evening, Monday 15,2019.

The building’s spire and roof collapsed but the main structure was saved

 

Eventually, in the occasion of the Holy Week 2019, a post from Montecarlotimes was scheduled on the Good Friday, April 19th, presenting  some objects said to be relics related to Christ that have fascinated humanity for centuries. Some of them are world famous, like actually, THE CROWN OF THORNS that has formed the hearth of the treasure of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris since 1806. Many Catholics will be anxious to know the whereabouts of some of the Church’s most precious relics, the Notre Dame of Paris Holy Trilogy: part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, some nails that were used to affix him to the cross and part of the crown of thorns he wore are kept inside the cathedral and used for Easter celebrations. These relics have been kept in the cathedral since King Louis IX brought them to France from the Byzantine Empire. After tackling the flames during the whole night, this morning the firefighters got control of the fire. Blaze was fully extinguished before it destroys one of France’s greatest treasures any further.

The fire was declared completely extinguished on Tuesday morning

Fire officials have said many precious works of art were saved, but the structure was full of masterpieces, some of which may have perished. While they are not authenticated, and many Catholic churches around the world have similar relics, as we said Notre Dame takes pride in its three Easter relics.

The relics  would have likely been out for Holy Week, which began on Palm Sunday, the day before the fire broke out. The only day visitors are allowed to see the crown of thorns is on Good Friday. The ornate reliquary commissioned by Napoleon that houses the crown of thorns is, in itself, a work of art but is only brought out on Fridays during Lent and on Good Friday. The crown of thorns that can be venerated every first Friday of every month would not be venerated on this Good Friday 2019, as usual or, if safe, would the relic be anyway brought out to be seen? Yesterday night Catholics and non-Catholics alike were watching the fire sweeping through the rooftops of Notre Dame, singing hymns and praying. Paris officials said the fire could be linked to renovation work being carried out at the iconic cathedral. But the incident raises fresh questions in the wake of a string of attacks against Catholic churches throughout France in recent months, including a fire at Saint Sulpice in Paris. There, like in Paris today, firefighters were able to bring that fire under control and no one was hurt.

Today the cause of disaster remains a mystery. A  similar mystery surrounds the fire that ripped in Turin on the night of April 12 1997 through the 17th-century Baroque chapel built to house the famous HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN and that spread into the upper floors of the neighboring Royal Palace.  The shroud itself was saved but the chapel was gutted, just weeks before the scaffolding was to come down after a three-year restoration. in 1898 Secondo Pia obtained this photo from the shroud. It has been approved by the Roman Catholic Church as part of the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.

 

The Holy Face of Jesus is a title for specific images which some Catholics believe to have been miraculously formed representations of the face of Jesus Christ. Like the Secondo Pia’s negative above, the image below of the Manoppello Veronica’ s veil  is part of the scheduled post in which Montecarlotimes was proud to presents some objects said to be relics related to Christ.

 

MANOPPELLO VERONICA’S VEIL:The Holy face is an “acheiropoieta” icon, that is to say, “ not made by human hand”; the image was created miraculously when Veronica used her veil to dry Christ’s face on his way to the Calvary. The veil is kept in Manoppello, Italy, and it was visited by Benedict XVI during his pontificate.

From the most intriguing to the least well-known, there are numerous relics supposedly related to Jesus Christ in France, like the HOLY TUNIC, conserved in the Basilica of Saint Denis in Argenteuil, like the CAP OF CAHORS that remained in Jerusalem for 800 years before being given to Charlemagne. The king the donated it to the Bishop of Cahors, so that now the Cap, symbol of the Resurrection, is kept in the Chapel of Saint Gusbert in Cahors. Different fate happened to the HOLY LANCE housed since the 13th century in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, which disappeared during the French Revolution. These relics have fascinated humanity for centuries, some of them are world famous, and some without the Holy See ever pronouncing itself about their veracity. All are true testimonies of faith and Christian fervor.

You can see below three important relics that have been declared venerable by the Vatican.

 

 

 

THE HOLY CRIB: exposed in a crystal reliquiary at the earth of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, the holy crib contains pieces of wood thought to have belonged to Jesus’s crib.

 

THE IRON CROWN OF LOMBARDY: a precious symbol of Italian Royalty, the iron crown was made in 591. The interior ring was purportedly forged from the metal of one of the nails of the True Cross, discovered by Saint Helen. Kings ranging from Charlemagne to Napoleon wore this crown in their Day. Today, it is exposed to the public in the Queen Teodolinde’s Chapel in Monza, near Milan.

THE COLUMN OF THE FLAGELLATION: this is considered to have been the column to which Jesus was bound during the Passion. It witnessed the Lord flagellation. Today, is partly exposed to the public in the Basilica of Saint Praxede in Rome.

 

As  for Monaco, the towns and its inhabitants took part in this distressingly tragedy. The Notre Dame fire  can burn yet cannot consume their faith, as Monaco is one of the few remaining sovereign nations in the world which has chosen to retain the Roman Catholic religion as the official religion of the state. Moreover, Monaco’s decision to retain the Roman Catholic religion as its state religion, obligates the Government of the Principality, and indeed the whole nation, to work to preserve, protect and enforce the Catholic rule of faith in the life and public works of the state. The year prior to Prince Rainier’s death, in July 2004, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The purpose of this publication was to synthesize and make accessible to every Catholic, in one official document, the official moral and social doctrinal teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. For those who still recall the great love Prince Rainier had for the Principality of Monaco, his Monegasque subjects and the Catholic Church, it is difficult not to contemplate the fact that, if he were still living, 2019 would mark the seventieth year of Prince Rainier’s assuming his princely reign of the Principality of Monaco in May 1949.

The famous apse of Notre Dame pictured before and after the fire

 

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