Veneration of the Holy Crown of thorns

The relics of the Passion in Notre Dame de Paris are constituted by a piece of the cross held in Rome and brought back by Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, a highlight of the Passion and the Holy Crown of thorns.

Every first Friday of the month and each Friday of lent at 15:00. The Friday Holy, from 10:00 to 17:00.

Notre Dame de Paris are preserved and presented to the veneration of the faithful badges relics of the Passion of Christ: the Holy Crown of thorns, a piece of the cross, a nail of the Passion.

Their long history finds its roots in the Holy land in Jerusalem. St. John tells that Roman soldiers, on the night of Thursday to Friday, mocked Christ and his kingship in putting it in a purple coat and styling him a Crown with thorns before crucify him (Gospel according to John, chapter 19). The veneration of the instruments of the Passion of Christ is mentioned in the fourth century in the stories of the pilgrims being surrendered to Jerusalem, particularly the true cross discovered by Saint Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, shortly after the Council convened in Nicaea in 325. Between the 7th and 10th centuries, these relics will be gradually transferred to Constantinople in the chapel of the Byzantine emperors from looting similar to those suffered by the Holy Sepulchre during the Persian invasions. In 1238, Baldwin II of Courtenay, latin Emperor of Byzantium in great financial difficulty, proposes to the King of France Louis IX, future saint Louis, hire him the Crown of thorns, offers that the latter accepts. But the regents of the Empire have already put the relics from Venetian bankers pledge that St. Louis will compensate. August 10, 1239, it houses twenty-two relics to Villeneuve-the Archbishop. August 19, 1239, the procession arrived in Paris, the King leaves her Royal attire, endorses a simple tunic and barefoot, helped his brother, wearing the Holy Crown until Notre Dame de Paris. He had then a reliquary commensurate with these relics: the Sainte-Chapelle. During the French Revolution, the relics will be deposited at the Abbey of Saint-Denis then devoid their reliquaries, at the national library. After the Concordat of 1801, the Holy Crown is given in 1804, with a few other relics, to the Archbishop of Paris, who assigns them to the treasure of the Cathedral on 10 August 1806. They are there preserved since then, entrusted to the canons of the chapter responsible for their veneration and placed under statutory custody of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.


The Holy Crown is, without doubt, the most valuable and the most revered relics preserved at Notre Dame de Paris: she is a carrier more than sixteen centuries of fervent prayer of Christianity. It consists of a circle of reeds together in bundles and retained by golden threads, 21 centimetres in diameter, on which were the thorns. The latter were scattered over the centuries by donations by the emperors of Byzantium and the Kings of France. There are seventy, similarly nature, who assert themselves from. Since 1896, it is stored in a tube of Crystal and gold, covered with a mount perforated on a branch of Sisyphus or Spina Christi -shrub that was used at the coronation of thorns. This reliquary, offered by the faithful of the diocese of Paris, is the work of the Goldsmith Mr. Poussielgue-Rusand (1861-1933) according to the designs of the architect j.. Astruc (1862-1950).

The fragment of the wood of the cross is he also one kept in the Treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle. He was charged with the destruction of the reliquary to the Revolution and saved by a member of the temporary Commission of the Arts who put him back at Notre Dame in 1805. Preserved in a Crystal case, this fragment is of a length of 24 cm and present at its end a mortise for its built-in, corresponding elements, exactly one of the sleepers of the cross worshipped by St. Louis whose plans have been preserved.

The nail its origins in the Treasury of the Holy Sepulchre. The Patriarch of Jerusalem handed it, with other relics of the Passion, the Emperor Charlemagne in 799. It is in Aachen as King Charles II took her to offer it to the Abbey of Saint-Denis where the faithful were able to worship him. The French Revolution, it was also saved by a member of the temporary Commission of the Arts who retained and returned in 1824 to the Archbishop of Paris. With a length of 9 cm, it is preserved in a reliquary in the shape of nail, simple tube of Crystal adorned with a head and a tip in gilded silver.

These relics are preserved today in the chapel of axisChapter Chapel of the order of the Holy Sepulchre, placed in a reliquary in glass evoking the mantle of purple which Christ was wearing during his Passion.

The year 2007 will also put these valuable relics to ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox Center: his Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople then His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and all Russia came in turn worship the relics.

The veneration of the relics presented to the faithful held every first Friday of the month at 3 pm each Friday of lent to 15:00 and Friday from 10:00 to 17:00.

By the worship of these relics badges, believers unite to the contemplation of the Paschal mystery, which is the source of the faith as an expression of the redeeming love of Christ who gave his life for the salvation of the world.


Reliquary of the Crown of thorns, treasure of our Lady of Paris

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